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Three positives from Xavier's loss at Auburn

Nobody likes to lose, and even less so to Bruce Pearl. Despite that, it isn't all bad news for Xavier.

Not quite enough of this last night.
Not quite enough of this last night.
John Reed-USA TODAY Sports

I suspect by now you all know what happened last night. If you don't, check out Bryan's breakdown of the game and then report back here. Everything I've written will still be here waiting.

With that done, you likely know the downsides of the situatiom already (i.e., we lost). Let's take a moment to pull some helpful and hopeful information from the wreckage.

We played tough on the road

The environment was hostile, the team was coming off of finals week, and the officiating was atrocious. That's not an excuse, by the way; you expect to come up against home cooking when you go on the road. Despite losing a 13-point lead, then Dee Davis, then Matt Stainbrook, Xavier played with composure until that final possession. Some of the ball was bad, but it never looked panicked. This team is going to need that toughness in league play.

We executed from the line

Ignoring for a moment my liberal use of the first-person plural, Xavier's 24-27 mark from the free throw stripe was exemplary. You might recall this team giving away games at the line the last couple of years. This year their 73.4% mark from the line is 52nd in the nation. They don't get to the line as often as you'd like to see, but our boys aren't going to let leads slip away due to a failure to execute when they step up.

We showed depth we can rely on

With a lot of things going wrong in a lot of ways, Xavier needed someone to step up. Two someones did, in the form of Remy Abell and Jalen Reynolds. Abell led the team in scoring while playing 45 minutes (also a team high) and Reynolds added 16 and 6 off the bench on 7-9/0-0/2-3 shooting. Both of those guys have been bit players on offense for Xavier, but they showed that the team has a lot of players who can hurt you on any given night.

Obviously a loss is never as good as a win would have been, and this team had a lot of problems last night. Despite that, though, the above points should be encouraging signs for the continues growth of this squad.