Xavier went 1-2 last week in the Maui Invitational. In the process, they took top-10 Auburn to overtime, lost to San Diego State after leading by 19, and put together their most complete game yet against Illinois.
The performances from Xavier were all over the map last week. They trailed by as many as 12 in the first half against Auburn before clawing their way back the entire second half to force overtime.
Against San Diego State, they came out hot, leading 32-13 after the first 10+ minutes before San Diego State went on a 45-17 run.
After an even first half against Illinois, Xavier executed well on both ends in the second half to get their first win of the tournament, 83-74.
There are plenty of stats to examine from this past week, so let’s dive in.
Xavier committed 50 turnovers last week in Maui. 22 against Auburn, 11 against SDSU, and 17 against Illinois. Quentin Goodin committed 12 of them, while Naji Marshall committed 12 as well.
Turnovers are the primary reason Xavier lost to Auburn, as the Tigers scored 31 points off turnovers while the Musketeers scored only 10.
They committed at least 11 in each game. Cleaning up the turnovers will be vital moving forward, as it not only likely cost them the Auburn game, but the SDSU game as well.
Elias Harden shot incredibly well from behind the arc, going 7/9 from deep against SDSU and Illinois after not attempting one against Auburn. Along with this came two of his best scoring outings yet, posting nine and 14 points respectively.
He also got two steals against Illinois. Harden, or Easy Money Eli, continuing these types of performances will be important to Xavier moving forward, as having another quality 3&D wing will help the team’s depth a lot.
Obviously shooting this well won’t be sustainable, but if Harden can keep his three point percentage above 35%, he will help open up a lot of offense for Xavier.
+7, -4, +12
These were Xavier’s rebounding margins each game. Given the length of Auburn and SDSU, the numbers are encouraging, even though they were outrebounded by SDSU.
Tyrique Jones and Zach Hankins performed well in both games, grabbing a combined 14 and 10 rebounds, respectively.
Jones in particular is having a strong season on the glass, as he leads the country in offensive rebound percentage, 23.3%, according to kenpom.com.
Xavier currently ranks 27th in adjusted offensive efficiency according to kenpom.com, at 111.7.
Xavier takes on Miami (OH) and Oakland in the next week, and making sure the turnovers be reduced and the defensive execution continuing from the Illinois game will be the primary focuses for Xavier to get two convincing wins.