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Xavier v. Pacific: Recap

Isaiah Philmore made his belated debut for Xavier.
Isaiah Philmore made his belated debut for Xavier.
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-US PRESSWIRE

Fairleigh Dickinson: 43 made buckets, 25 assists
Butler: 23 made buckets, 14 assists
Robert Morris: 22 made buckets, 10 assists
Pacific: 23 made buckets, 9 assists

When this season started, much was made of Xavier's need - and ability - to work together as a team in order to make this year a success. After the Musketeers opened up an industrial-sized can against Fairleigh Dickinson, the ball movement against Butler was also exceptional, and Xavier was rewarded with another victory.

Fans who watched last year will have recognized what happened against Robert Morris and Pacific. The ball stagnated in the half court, leaving point guards over-dribbling, lackluster ball rotation keeping the ball well outside the arc, and difficult shots being taken late in the shot clock. Without the individual brilliance of Tu Holloway or Mark Lyons to create points out of bad chances, it was only a matter of time until Xavier fell victim to defeat. The team's problems caught up to them yesterday against Pacific.

Defensively, Xavier was a shadow of the team that locked down Butler nine days ago. Time and again Pacific had wide-open looks at the basket from deep or easy lay-ins on basket cuts. This is not a Musketeers team that is loaded with talent from top to bottom; to compete this season, Xavier is going to have to work hard at both ends of the floor. Yesterday, they were 0-2 in that department.

The game started brightly enough. Xavier pushed the pace, forced the ball inside in the half court, and jumped out to an 11-2 lead before the first media timeout. From that point forward, though, Pacific dictated the tempo of the proceedings, and that was enough to easily erase the lead Xavier had established.

Owing to the holiday, that's all there is to say on this game. Jeff Robinson and Justin Martin once again looked too passive, leaving Xavier with too few scoring options when Pacific swarmed to Travis Taylor on the post. The Musketeers play Drexel at six today.