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Quick(ish) Takeaways After the Loss

Xavier v St John’s
“How did that not go in?”
Photo by Steven Ryan/Getty Images

Time and time again Xavier’s defense has papered over the offensive cracks, but today that was not the case. Villanova took the early lead and never lost it as Xavier struggled to draw the game within a possession.

The Musketeers first half offensive struggles were, for once, not coming from behind the arc as X hit a respectable 3-9 in the first half. Most of the struggles, if not all, came from Xavier’s inability to get Tyrique Jones going early as he failed to convert in the first half. Once the second half started though, Jones came out looking like a man possessed and keyed an 8-0 run for Xavier. Tyrique finished with a monstrous line of 17-14-1 and shot 7-8 from the line, but was hamstrung by the slow start.

Outside of Tyrique no other Musketeer got an Ortg over 100. Paul Scruggs was once again at the point and didn’t shoot terribly at 3-7 and 4-4 on FTs. His line of 10-8-5 is weighed down by his 5 turnovers. Naji Marshall had the best first half for Xavier (not a high bar to clear) and made some good plays in the run at the start of the second half. Like Scruggs though his line was hampered by his turnovers as the two combined for 9 of Xavier’s 13. Naji still finished with a respectable 15-8-4.

The rest of the starting 5 finished with 5 points on 2-10 shooting. Zach Freemantle was not able to continue his play from earlier in the week as he scored 2 on 1-6 from the floor. Jason Carter also had a bad showing as he couldn’t get an inside shot to fall but did hit his only 3 point attempt of the day. KyKy Tandy came off the bench and attacked off the dribble very well, getting to the rim and hitting a pull-up, but he too couldn’t hit his stride on offense. Quentin Goodin played only 12 minutes and scored 2 before missing a 3 and seeing a floater go in an out. Bryce Moore made a cameo appearance and missed a shot and that was that. In the end, Xavier wasn’t able to muster the offense to get them back into this game and it proved to be their undoing.

Three Takeaways

  • The defense was good enough for a win Xavier held the 12th best offense in the nation to less than a point per possession. Nova also hit 35 3s across their last 2 games and was held to just 7-29 today. What hurt Xavier was its own offense and Jermaine Samuels 17 points on just 10 shot attempts. Saddiq Bey exploited his mismatch when Tandy switched onto him and buried some open 3s on his way to 22. These two performances killed X as they stopped the 3 barrage but couldn’t contain Samuels and Bey.
  • We could not buy a bucket Holding a great offensive team to .94 points per possession, that’s good. Scoring just .81 points per possession, that’s not good. The ball wasn’t sticking too much, the turnovers weren’t nearly as bad as against St. John’s, but the ball simply wouldn’t go in the cylinder. An abysmal 17-44 inside the arc and 3-12 from behind it simply will not get it done against anyone, much less Villanova. But hey, we shot 12-16 from the line!
  • Tyrique is our guy During the first half it looked as though Tyrique just didn’t have it. He couldn’t get a bucket, a call, a good post pass, anything. It looked like maybe he wasn’t ever gonna get going, but he didn’t hang his head and he certainly didn’t roll over and die. He scored 9 of Xavier’s first 14 second half points and killed Villanova possessions after one shot. If the offense had even been average today, it’s another X win and another double-double for Tyrique. Unfortunately, we only got the latter, but Tyrique shows no signs of going cold and isn’t gonna back down any time soon.