Great offense and terrible defense once again. What’s new? The good news is that after a very bad loss, X bounced back with a win. The performance itself wasn’t the best, but the win is big looking down the barrell of road trips to UConn and Creighton and hosting Providence. The performance was also emblamatic of Xavier’s season so far, so let’s get into it.
The ball movement came back
After a night in Chicago where X only managed 13 assists, they came back with 31 in this one. Freemantle, Boum and Kunk all notched 7 with four other Muskies all chipping in as well. While making the shots definitely helped the assist numbers compared to the DePaul game, the ball movement was much better all over, and the offense was back to dominating. Zach Freemantle was absolutely immense with 30 points and another double-double, and Colby Jones put up 20 on just 8 of 11 shooting. In a game where Nunge was not himself, the rest of the team papered over the crack he left in the offense.
Man, this defense...
I’ll start by saying Primo Spears is a phenomenal player. That being said, X had no answer for him. Boum, Claude and Jones all matched up on him, and none of them could keep Spears from setting a career high of 37 points. Spears had his way with Xavier’s defense. Sean Miller made sure to mention this in his post game presser. He pointed out that X has had no answer for multiple guards this season, specifically in the last three games. He’s not wrong. Xavier being unable to even slow down specific opposition players has been a recurring theme this season. 20 games in and there seems to be no solution on the horizon.
Still in a good spot
This week was never going to do X any favors. 2 wins wouldn have been expected, a loss wouldn’t be good, and 2 losses would have been a disaster. While the play this week wasn’t inspiring, Xavier still sits at 16-4 overall and 8-1 in the conference. Xavier has a tough stretch ahead of them, but they’ve put themselves in a great spot moving forward. 0-2 this week wouldn’t help anything, but it wouldn’t torpedo the season either. We knew this tough road week was coming, and Xavier could hardly be in a better position heading into it.