You've probably heard by now that Xavier shot 1-19 from behind the arc in losing to Seton Hall. You cannot give up 90 points on the road, fritter away 19 possessions to get 3 points, and expect to win. The rest of this post will be parsing out other factors in the game, but 1-19 is the story.
Frustratingly, Xavier was 29-39 (74.4%) from inside the arc. If Xavier had used the 19 possessions devoted to three-point attempts on two-point attempts instead, that would have - assuming they continued to connect at the same rate - led to a boost of 25 points, giving Xavier an 107-point performance and likely an easy win. That's ridiculously reductionist, of course, but you wonder why the Musketeers kept lifting from deep when getting the ball inside the arc was so doggone effective.
Despite all the offensive struggling, Xavier still had the ball in a tie game with under four minutes to go. Myles Davis turned it over on the inbound, and from that point Seton Hall went 15-18 from the line while not scoring from the field. Xavier went 3-11/0-5/1-2 and turned the ball over twice down the stretch, effectively giving away the game.
Plenty went wrong on defense all game. Isaiah Whitehead went for 19/4/3 on 4-9/3-5/8-10 shooting, and Sterling Gibbs kicked in 22/4/8 on 6-12/2-4/8-8 of his own. When a team has one perimeter scorer, Remy Abell draws him and generally does a pretty good job. Adding Isaiah Whitehead back into the mic gave Seton Hall one more perimeter threat than Xavier has Remy Abells, and the results were not good for the Musketeers' defense. For this team to be able to fight out games like this one, one of the Davis brothers is going to have to be a viable defender on the perimeter.
Ready for more good news? Xavier was also crushed on the boards. The Muskies posted OReb%/DReb% of 19.4%/71.1% to Seton Hall's 28.9%/80.6%. That means Seton Hall was more effective at running down their own misses and more effective in keeping Xavier from getting theirs. X missed 18 threes, which are generally good for long rebounds. The fact that the team only mustered 6 offensive boards is disheartening.
On the other hand, James Farr surfaced today, putting up 8/6/0 on 4-6/0-1/0-0 shooting and hitting a couple of free throw line jumpers. He's not the kind of post player who works with his back to the basket and he's also not really a viable threat from behind the arc, so he has to be able to make open jumpers when teams big-to-big double onto Stainbrook. At least for today, he did that.
Jalen Reynolds had 17/8/0 on 8-10/0-0/1-2 shooting in only 15 minutes, thanks to his incredible ability to commit fouls. He picked up a foul every five minutes on the court today - though one was a dodgy technical - he simply has to stop doing that to be the player he can be. Matt Stainbrook threw in 11/3/2 on 4-5/0-0/3-4 shooting. Stainbrook, Reynolds, and even Farr were having their way with Seton Hall's bigs both in terms of scoring and drawing fouls, making it all the more vexing that the team went 1-19 from three.
The officials need mentioning here, because they were awful. They didn't cost Xavier the game by favoring Seton Hall; they were awful both ways. They called three double technicals; if you have to do that, you're not doing a good job at controlling the game. I have to believe fans of both teams left the arena vexed with the men in stripes.
Odds and ends:
-Brandon Randolph came on and got 2/1/1 on 1-2/1-1/0-0, looked lost on defense, and came right back out. Xavier is still desperate for a backup point guard.
-Myles Davis might be the answer. He had 8 assists today and almost made up for shooting 3-12/0-7/6-7. Is he our starting point guard next year?
-Xavier had 18 assists on 30 made baskets and only 11 turnovers.
-Trevon Bluiett made his presence felt on 6-8/1-3/6-9 shooting; having him back scoring at a high right is big for Xavier.
-That defense though...
-"Farr from 15; money, as always."
-"Giving up a lot of 3s."
-"Blue with a nice jumper."
-"I just can't figure the fouls out; they just got Stain for a touch foul."
-"Reynolds with a bonehead foul; he has got to get over that."
-"Refs are missing a good game. They are catching everything that doesn't have to do with the game though."
-"We need a run."
-"Dee got his second; not good. #3 is in."
-"Even with all the fouls, refs have no control of the game."
-"What a half! Brawl under the bucket most of the time and Stain has two touch fouls. 17-1 run that I called for and you jinxed. Not bad, all things considered."
-"Farr is lost on D."
-"Another cheap foul on Stain."
-"Sweet Music can't get the stroke from outside."
-"Need another run fueled by our defense."
-"Ajou is huge! And 42 years old."
-"We should go zone."
-"We are sorry at switching today. Too many open looks for them."
-"Lost our composure."