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Xavier is playing the first game of a two-game homestand. In fact, Xavier plays four of its next five games at Cintas Center, where the Musketeers are 7-2 so far this season.
Xavier is coming off a loss at No. 16 Marquette on Sunday. Sophomore Naji Marshall led Xavier with 21 points, seven rebounds and three steals, while fellow sophomore Paul Scruggs contributed his first career double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds...
The Musketeers lead the series 13-4, including five straight wins in the series and eight wins in the last nine meetings. XU holds a 9-2 advantage since the two teams became BIG EAST rivals in the 2013-14 season.
Travis Steele said Quentin Goodin is day-to-day. He won't practice again today, still dealing with a bothersome knee— Adam Baum (@AdamJBaum) January 8, 2019
The Hoyas are an opportunity to get back on the right side of things as the second half of the season gets underway.
”They’re gonna test us in a lot of ways,” said Steele. “Obviously, Jessie Govan’s a tremendous player, one of the best frontcourt players in our league. They’ve got a really good freshman point guard in James Akinjo. He’s a dynamic play-maker ... can make plays for others, can score the ball as well.
”They play really, really fast. I think they’re the 11th fastest team in the country as far as pace of play goes so we gotta do a really good job in transition, do a great job taking care of the ball so we can get our defense set.”
Only one Xavier player, Paul Scruggs, had an efficiency over 100 as the team averaged an appalling .71 points per possession.
That’s just scratching the surface of the bad offense, though. Kyle Castlin is averaging more than 20 minutes per game but hasn’t scored since before Christmas. Naji Marshall has posted an offensive efficiency over 100 just once in the last seven games and that against the fearsome defense of DePaul. Quentin Goodin is absolutely elite with his ball distribution, but has an efficiency of 99 because his shooting essentially constitutes a turnover at this point. Elias Harden doesn’t play, Zach Hankins and Tyrique Jones don’t get the ball enough, and Ryan Welage can’t stay on the court. The offense in whole is worse than any other in Xavier’s KenPom history, save that 12-13 squad, and it’s trending downward.
“I think we’re playing against ourselves,” said Xavier sophomore forward Naji Marshall, who finished with a team-high 21 points and seven rebounds, and drew the defensive assignment on Marquette star Markus Howard. “We do things to beat ourselves. Not following the scouting report. Not following coaches’ offensive plan. We try to do our own things sometimes and it doesn’t work. Then when you miss free throws and don’t rebound, it’s hard to win.” ...
”I thought our guys competed from the very first second of the game to the very end,” said Steele. “The self-inflicted wounds are killing us. Again, I keep on saying the same things like a broken record but we have to stop turning over the ball. We have to take better shots. I thought that’s really what cost us there in the first half.”
Steele had opportunities to take other jobs. He didn’t. He saw it through and Xavier was his reward...
”It was a place where we could live, where my wife could be happy and she agreed to it,” said Steele. “I remember calling (Amanda) saying, ‘Let’s go all-in on Xavier.’
”I knew I wanted to be a head coach, but at the same time, I felt very fortunate for where I was. Everyone always wants to think about the future. ‘Where am I gonna be in three years?’ I’ve been at Xavier for the last 10 years whether it’s an assistant coach, head coach, it doesn’t matter. It’s a great institution, a great program.
Not sure I'm ready to cut bait on the coaching staff, but the team does seem to be regressing as the season goes on. https://t.co/DK9cyix5Zk— Banners on the Parkway (@BannersParkway) January 6, 2019
Paul Scruggs and Naji Marshall were the two bright spots for Xavier against the Golden Eagles. Marshall led the team in scoring with 21 points. He also grabbed seven rebounds, three steals and a block.
Scruggs had a double-double, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. He also had a block. No other Musketeer had more than four points.
Xavier shot only 17-54, 30.2%, from the floor and 1-14, 7.1%, from three-point range.
First-year coach Travis Steele decided to leave Tilmon undoubled in the post and the 6-foot-10 sophomore made him pay, scoring a career-high 23 points with 10 rebounds in a 71-56 blowout victory. Tilmon played 33 minutes, one off his career-high, and stayed out of foul trouble the entire game...
Missouri struggled early to score against Xavier’s 2-3 zone, trailing 9-3 in the opening minutes. The Tigers responded with their best half of the season, countering with a 17-0 run for a double-digit lead.
Travis Steele said there's a chance we could see Zach Hankins and Tyrique Jones on the floor together against Georgetown to try and win the battle in the paint, but Steele said they have to worry about foul trouble and keeping their bigs fresh to defend Jessie Govan— Adam Baum (@AdamJBaum) January 8, 2019
This was a depth victory first and foremost. When Xavier (9-6, 7-2) jumped out in front, the Pirates’ bench kept them in it with 17 first-half points. Once again, Willard pushed all the right buttons with his substitution patterns.
The biggest game-changer was [Seton Hall] 7-foot junior Romaro Gill... [who] helped the frontcourt rotation wear down a red-hot big man (this time Zach Hankins, who finished with 20 points after scoring 18 in the first half).
With a 10-deep rotation — all 10 scored and played at least 8 minutes — every guy embraces his role [in the win at Xavier].
|Paul Scruggs||1||SO||G||6-3||207||12.8 Pts, 4.9 Reb, 2.9 Ast|
|Naji Marshall||13||SO||F||6-7||218||13.1 Pts, 7.9 Reb, 3.2 Ast|
|Quentin Goodin||3||JR||G||6-4||194||12.6 Pts, 2.9 Reb, 5.4 Ast|
|Zach Hankins||35||SR||F||6-11||245||9.7 Pts, 4.6 Reb, 0.7 Ast|
|Ryan Welage||32||SR||F||6-9||190||9.1 Pts, 2.5 Reb, 0.7 Ast|
|Tyrique Jones||0||JR||F||6-9||243||9.6 Pts, 6.9 Reb, 0.5 Ast|
|Kyle Castlin||2||SR||G||6-4||180||4.5 Pts, 3.1 Reb, 0.6 Ast|
|Keonte Kennedy||11||FR||G||6-5||187||2.6 Pts, 1.8 Reb, 0.6 Ast|
|Elias Harden||4||SO||G||6-5||187||3.3 Pts, 0.6 Reb, 0.3 Ast|
|Dontarius James||12||FR||F||6-7||210||0.4 Pts, 0.5 Reb, 0.1 Ast|
|Leighton Schrand||10||JR||G||6-0||155||0.0 Pts, 0.0 Reb, 0.3 Ast|
Coming in were a first-time head coach and a couple of freshmen who weren’t moving the needle that much in recruiting rankings.
To his credit, Travis Steele went right to work, landing the D2 player of the year, the team’s lone shooting threat, and a legit glue guy as immediately eligible transfers. It’s a borderline basketball crime that the high-major level will only get one year of Zach Hankins, because he is far better experienced than described.
Now the team sits at 9-6 with an NIT bid as the best realistic hope outside of winning the Big East tournament. It sucks, but... what did you expect?
After Pickett made a pair of free throws with 38 seconds left, the Hoyas were up 86-82. Fans’ hopes were dashed as Blueitt was fouled by Mosely on a closeout; the three-pointer dropped and so did the extra shot. An airballed three by Blair at the end of regulation sent it to OT; another airballed three by Pickett on a poorly executed play out of a timeout sealed it for the Musketeers at the end of the overtime period. During those extra 5 minutes of playing time Xavier had not managed to score a field goal; their 10 points came off freethrows resulting from Georgetown (guards’) head-smacking fouls.
For those who seek a simple explanation as to why this contest was so close even with the hot shooting from X, look no further than the fact that Georgetown committed only 2 turnovers in first half and a total of 8 during regulation.
NCAA Basketball's Top OVER Teams (based on Over %, min 8 lined games):— Covers (@Covers) January 8, 2019
1. Loyola-Maryland 12-3
2. Alabama 10-2-1
3. Purdue Fort Wayne 12-3
t4. Georgetown 11-3-1
t4. East. Illinois 11-3-1
t4. Wash. St. 11-3
t7. Ball State 10-4
t7. Oral Roberts 10-4-1https://t.co/95P1PPZgSE pic.twitter.com/Nq78R7W59a
01/08/19 G Matthew McClung Ankle is questionable Wednesday vs Xavier
01/08/19 F Trey Mourning Concussion is questionable Wednesday vs Xavier...
Advanced Statistics - Xavier is 101st in the country in turnovers, as they turn the ball over an average of 17.5 times per 100 possessions. The Musketeers have an offensive rating of 106.2, which is ranked 141st. They are 273rd in D-1 in pace with 68.7 possessions per 40 minutes, and their eFG% of 54% is 99th. As a unit they are 111th in college basketball in true shooting percentage with 56% and they shoot 3-pointers on 38% of their shot attempts, ranking 185th in the country.
Also, 3-star 2019 SF 6’5” Myron Gardner appears to have new highlights... Gardner holds “offers from Georgetown, MN, Xavier, Cincinnati...”
The University of Arkansas released the following statement:
University of Arkansas head coach Mike Anderson announced that Jordan Phillips has decided to transfer from the Razorback men’s basketball program. Phillips, a freshman from Fort Worth, Texas, played in seven games and posted averages of 5.4 minutes, 1.4 points and 0.7 rebounds.
...The freshman has only played in 7 games this year due to a meniscus injury he suffered during the offseason.
Phillips played just 38 minutes for the Razorbacks and shot 3-20 from the field, 0-6 from the three point line and 4-4 from the charity stripe.
NB: Jordan Phillips picked Arkansas over Georgetown...
Icymi: Jordan Phillips to decide today... Looks like it's between Arkansas and Georgetown with Ark having the edge...— YaBoyNYP (@yaboynyp) October 3, 2017