Xavier handled Eastern Kentucky Saturday night in their first game after the Shootout, 95-77.
The Musketeers bounced back from the UC loss with an expected win over Eastern Kentucky. As usual, there were both good and bad things to take away from the game, which I’ll get to later.
Overall, the game was a good performance in a game they should have performed well in, and got the win the they should have gotten. Here’s some numbers to explain why.
Xavier shot 35-49 from the field for the game, good for 71.4%. This is the highest percentage of any team in the country this year, and was not far off of the program record, 72.2% against Butler in 1991.
They missed only five shots inside the arc, going 28-33, or 84.8%. A large part of this is due to the EKU full court press, which resulted in many wide open layups and dunks. For example, Zach Hankins and Tyrique Jones combined to shoot 11-12, 91.6%, from the field.
However, as the next stat shows, Xavier wasn’t able to take advantage of the press the whole game.
Despite 23 assists, Xavier still had an AST/TO ratio of less than 1, as they committed 27 turnovers. This was mostly due to EKU’s press.
Only two players who got minutes and did not commit a turnover were Dontarius James, who played three minutes, and Ryan Welage, who is not often asked to be a facilitator in the offense. Of the players who did commit turnovers, Kyle Castlin was the only one with just one.
Though a majority of the turnovers were as a result of the press, keeping this number as low as possible will be key moving forward.
Xavier did well from the free-throw line on Saturday, shooting 18-25, 72%, from the charity stripe. Obviously, the preference is to have this number be slightly higher, but if this is how this team consistently shoots from the free throw line, it will be hard to complain.
Welage and Paul Scruggs combined to go 4-5 from three-point range, while the rest of the team combined to go 3-11 from that area.
They have been Xavier’s top shooters so far this season. While Scruggs has the higher percentage, 46.9% to 43.1%, Welage has taken close to twice as many three-pointers, 58-32, as Scruggs has.
Two players flirted with getting triple-doubles. Quentin Goodin scored 16 points, dished out 10 assists and had a career high seven steals while Naji Marshall scored 15 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out six assists.
Six different players scored in double-figures against EKU. As mentioned, Goodin and Marshall scored 16 and 15, which led the team.
Scruggs, Jones, and Hankins each scored 14 while Welage scored 11. Castlin came close to joining this group, chipping in eight points.
Xavier currently ranks first in the country in two-point field goal percentage, according to kenpom.com. They also rank 21st in effective field goal percentage, with 56.3%.
*All stats courtesy of official game box scores, sport-reference.com, and kenpom.com