Muskies Wear Down Jacks in Final Minutes

The Musketeers came out running on Friday night against Stephen F. Austin, slashing and slicing into the lane from the very beginning. By the end of the game, Xavier (3-0) had ripped the Lumberjacks (1-2) to the tune of an 81-63 victory. The game was far closer than that, however.

The Jacks ran as unique of an offense and defense that the Muskies will see all season. On offense, they spread Xavier out along the three point line, testing the packline defense while constantly cutting and setting screens to get a three point shooter open. On defense, SFA denied every entry pass and kept Xavier from getting anything to the wings. They wanted to try and make the Muskies drive to the basket every time.   Continue reading...

Muskies Dust SFA Late-Win Going Away 81-63!!!

Stephen F. Austin proved to be "as advertised" - feisty, combative, resourceful and hard to put away. But Xavier stuck with their attacking game plan and prevailed, outscoring the Lumberjacks from East Texas 15-2 over the last five minutes to win by 18 (81-63). The Muskies improve to 3-0 on the season opening 4 game home stand-winning by an average of almost 25 PPG against pretty decent opposition. The quality of the enemy ratchets up a notch or two Monday night at Cintas (7PM - Fox Sports 1) against the Murray State Racers from KY (heavy favorites to win it all in the Ohio Valley Conference).   Continue reading...

Quick Take: Xavier 81, Stephen F. Austin 63

Matt Stainbrook gets two of his team high 20 points.[enlarge] Photo by Bob Stevens
Xavier got more than they could handle from Stephen F. Austin on Friday night before pulling away in the final five minutes 81-63. Don't let the final score fool you, though: The Lumberjacks (1-2) did just about everything they could to disrupt the Musketeers' (3-0) offense and make life difficult on the defensive end.

The Jacks are as unique a team that the Muskies will face all season. They also appeared to be as well-coached as any team they'll run into. SFA simply kept moving on offense, constantly working, constantly trying to find the open shot. They scrapped and clawed. That kept them in the game for 35 minutes, threatening to upend the Musketeers on their home court.   Continue reading...

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Scouting Stephen F. Austin: A Different Type of Opponent!
If you would happen to see the SFA basketball team in an airport somewhere, you might not be impressed by their physical appearance. They have no 6-10 behemouth post guys, nor muscular 6-8 slashing power forwards. What they are is a very hard working, low mistake, great passing, supremely confident, smart, floor burn collecting, stubborn, resilient "team". The whole exceeds the sum of the parts (and the parts are pretty darn good on their own). The Lumberjacks from Nacogdoches (pronounced Nac-ah-doe-shuss), Texas became an NCAA darling last March. (Go figure: XU playing two teams knicknamed "Lumberjacks" in 8 days-SFA and Northern Arizona, what are the odds?) They won 29 straight ball games from November 25th (loss at East Tennessee State) to March 23rd (NCAA Tourney loss to UCLA in the Round of 32).

Preview: Xavier Faces Off With 2013-14 Cinderella Stephen F. Austin
The Musketeers return to action on Friday night at the Cintas Center against the Lumberjacks of Stephen F. Austin. Xavier (2-0) is off to a hot start, having blitzed their first two opponents to the tune of an average of 95 points, 46 total assists, and a 59.2% clip from the floor. SFA (1-1) will be the latest test for the Muskies, and should provide more of a challenge than their previous two opponents. Again, though, Xavier has the type of advantages that should allow them to control the contest.

Musketeers Launch Three Point Barrage, Defeat 49ers
After shooting almost 71% from the field in the first half, Long Beach State still found themselves trailing 51-38. Despite a solid offensive showing, they couldn't keep up with Xavier's hoot shooting, as the Muskies pulled away 97-74 on Tuesday night at the Cintas Center. The Musketeers (2-0) were forced to crack the 49ers' (1-2) zone defense with outside shooting, as they collapsed on Matt Stainbrook and James Farr every time they touched ball. Luckily, Xavier had shooters that were more than up for the occasion. "[Macura] and Myles [Davis] are playing with a lot of confidence," Mack said. "Their teammates really trust them. And they can knock down the shots. When you've got guys on the floor like that, it's hard, defensively, to really collapse on guys like Matt [Stainbrook], Jalen [Reynolds] and James [Farr] in the interior. We shot a lot of threes tonight, but that was a function of getting the ball into the lane."

Muskies Up the Ante against Long Beach!! Runaway to 97-74 Victory!!
I know it's early and it's a small sample size, and the 2-0 start has come at home against Northern Arizona and Long Beach State, but this precocious, nubile, youthful Xavier team is sure fun to watch and easy to like. As Skip Prosser used to say, they have "spurtability" (the knack of mixing defensive stops with a string of made shots). The old basketball axiom reads: "Great shooting makes up for a litany of other sins." That applies somewhat to this group because they are shooting the rock so well (8th nationally out of 351 D-1 teams in effective FG% at 67.5%, 20% above the average; 3rd in two point FG% at 73%, 25% above the average; 40% from three point range, 8% better than average; and 76% on Free throws, 9% above the norm). But it's more than just shooting acumen or luck!

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Lady Muskies Open Season on Winning Side
The Xavier women's basketball team opened its season with a convincing 75-51 win over the Wofford Terriers on Saturday at Cintas Center. Four Musketeers scored in double figures and the Musketeers grabbed 18 steals to maintain a sizable lead throughout the game.

X Women Dropped by Georgetown in BIG EAST Tournament
The ninth-seeded Xavier women's basketball team had a rough shooting night (13-of-48; 27.1 percent) and fell to No. 8 Georgetown, 56-37, in the first round of the BIG EAST Tournament at McGrath-Phillips Arena on Saturday night.

X Women Lose Regular Season Finale
Senior Ashley Wanninger (Cincinnati, Ohio/Colerain) finished with 12 points and six rebounds as the Xavier women’s basketball team fought hard to climb back into the contest but fell to Seton Hall, 62-50, in the BIG EAST Conference regular season finale at Walsh Gymnasium on Tuesday night.

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