Given Xavier's recent emphasis on defense in practice, I can't imagine that this performance made Coach Mack very happy. For the third straight game - two of which have been against sub-par opponents - Xavier has played porous defense. George Washington came into the game as a poor shooting team, and then proceeded to post a .442/.556/.947 line against the Muskies. Once may be running into a hot shooting team, and twice may be a coincidence, but three of these defensive eggs laid in a row probably portends ill for Xavier.
Xavier did manage to protect the ball and shoot effectively enough to outlast GW's zone. They were 9-23 (.391) from behind the arc, to continue the team-wide trend of hot shooting. Tu and Cheek were particularly effective, combining to go 7-14 from behind the arc. A tally of 17 assists to only 10 turnovers looks nice at the bottom of the page, too.
Big Kenny was a reasonable force on the block, going for 14-7-0 on 5-7/0-0/4-5, but Jamel McLean never really got into the game. His 6-4-2 on 2-4/0-0/2-2 wasn't really what Xavier was looking for. Neither Xavier starting big turned the ball over and A-Tay and Robinson only totaled one off the bench. Against a GW zone that was sinking deep and double- or triple-teaming the post when the ball came, that's not nothing. XU's big men did a good job of keeping them in a game that should have never really been a contest.
Odds and ends:
-Xavier's guards continue to rebound well, combining for 16 on the night.
-Tony Taylor went bananas from deep, raising his season's 3P% from .321 to .349. As a team, GW made 4 more threes than their 3P% coming into the game would have suggested we should anticipate.
-GW came into the game shooting .611 from the line and proceed to go 18-19 (.947) from there on the night. So much for being able to predict things.
-Cheek Lyons: His 22-5-3 on 7-12/4-7/4-4 was just what the team needed, though he did account for half of X's 10 turnovers. Are we watching Lyons go through the same growth spurt that Tu went through last year?
-Dante: 9-6-7 with three steals on 3-9/2-8/1-2 was not his best game, but the fact the he managed to find a way to seriously influence a game without shooting his best is a great sign for X. Seven assists against a zone that sometimes threatened to smother the Muskies kept X in the game.
Not so much:
-Jamel McLean: 6-4-2 on 2-4/0-0/2-2 isn't going to get it done. Xavier isn't a deep enough team for McLean to misfire like this against a better opponent.
-Another poor game against a poor opponent results in another win for X. Xavier needs to pull it together over the rest of the week before heading to Richmond. Sooner or later, one of these let-down games is going to bite X in the haunches.
Next game: Saturday at noon @ Richmond