Quentin Goodin is both good and bad
There’s no question that Xavier could use a lot more than 25 minutes of a 44 offensive rating from their senior point guard. Looking at those numbers alone, there’s an argument to be made that Q was Xavier’s worst player on Friday night. Three turnovers, five fouls, and no made shots would bolster that argument.
And yet Xavier also looked lost without Goodin on the floor. While UConn made their run and threatened to hang on to win, Q was on the bench. Bryce Moore spent some time at point guard but struggled to get into offense and finished with no assists. Paul Scruggs ran the point most of the time, but that moved him away from where he excels and slowed Xavier’s offense even more. The Musketeers made need more from Goodin than he is giving right now, but they also struggle to play without him.
Zach Freemantle is a dog
Freemantle was 2-6 from the field last night but somehow scored his four points exactly when Xavier needed them. After missing a procession of easy looks, Freemantle knocked down a jumper and then outran Josh Carlton for a transition layup. In a game that felt like March, Freemantle only looked nervous when releasing his shot, not when looking for it. At no point did Xavier’s new big look cowed by the moment or the opponent. Carlton and Akok Akok came in as UConn’s interior threats and proceeded to go 5-14 from inside the arc. Freemantle blocked five shots and played solid defense and only committed three fouls in 23 minutes. He looks like the real deal.
The offensive rebounding is back
Xavier was uncharacteristically poor on the offensive glass early in the season. In the last two games they have gathered 34% and 35.6% of their own misses. UConn came in determined to block shots and hopeful that would be enough. The Musketeers relentlessly chased down their misses and turned them into 18 second chance points. In a game where Xavier left way too many points at the line, the ability to grind out extra possessions and convert them proved to be vital.
Bonus takeaway: Xavier is still shorthanded
Xavier’s two biggest recruits of this class are still yet to play a minute. Kyky Tandy and Daniel Ramsey both had as much impact on this game as you or I did. Tandy is due back after Charleston, while reports on Ramsey have been few and far between. It’s easy to see where another point guard can help this team, and 6-8 athletes who can shoot it with some range are never a bad addition. Thus far Xavier has smothered Missouri, crushed Jacksonville and Siena, and outlasted UConn without two guys who figured to play significant minutes. The temptation to become extremely optimistic about this team is great.