MUSKIES TEAM 97 OPENER MORE PLUSSES THAN MINUSES!!!
By Andy Mac Williams, 11/7/2018

Xavier 82 IUPUI 69 in front of 10,224 at Cintas on Election Night! Travis Steele now 1-0 as head coach. X now has won 29 straight home openers! The Muskies' non-conference home floor win streak extends to 40 games over 5 plus seasons with Evansville(Missouri Valley Conference) in town this Saturday afternoon (4PM-TV Fox Sports Ohio). E-ville opens Thursday night at Illinois(8PM-TV BTN plus??).

DISSECTING X VS IUPUI:

As expected, the Muskies played without Jr. PG Quentin Goodin(shoulder) ending his streak of 53 straight lead guard starts. "Q" could see action against Evansville, but more likely will be held out until next Tuesday(11-13) against Wisconsin. Xavier opened confidently vs IUPUI leading 10-zip at the first media time-out. The packline defense was well executed(IUPUI 0-7 FGs). Paul Scruggs ruled(5 pints-5 rebounds).

Tyrique Jones dunked devastatingly off a first possession pick and roll back door set just like the game plan called for. Travis rolled 9 players onto the floor early(5 at a time of course). Foul trouble cropped up though for Scruggs and Tyrique. X steadily built the first half lead though.

IUPUI Jags sniper Cameron Justice was tagged with a flagrant 2 foul for tripping Xavier BIG Zach Hankins and was ejected. Zach must have said something??? X led by 18 with 5:34 left before the break. Too much fouling by the Muskies got the Jags back in the game. They spurted by making FTs and circus three pointers.

Jaylon Minnett came off their bench to score 13. X led just 37-34 at the half. IUPUI played with grit. They broke even on the glass with bigger stronger Xavier(23-23). Jones played just 8 minutes(still 10 points and 4 dunks).

Muskies turnovers were too plentiful(9). IUPUI won most 50-50 balls. X was outscored at FT line 13 to 6 despite getting into the bonus very early. The Muskies were scoreless over the final first half 4 minute war!!

SECOND HALF IMPROVEMENT:

Xavier actually began the second 20 slowly basket trading with PGs Scruggs and emergency back-up Elias Harden in foul trouble. IUPUI grabbed the lead briefly and went zone defense. X seemed befuddled until Kyle Castlin (grad transfer-Columbia) drained a rainbow three from NBA range late in the shot clock to crack the defense. Kyle saved the day with a personal 7 point scoring run. He quietly put together a terrific game(9 points-8 rebounds-solid ball handling and defense). Malcolm Bernard(NCAA Elite 8 star of TEAM 95) may have returned in a different body.

Ryan Welage(San Jose St grad transfer) put IUPUI away with excellent long range shooting(24 points-6 made threes) and more(7 rebounds-2 assists-0 turnovers). Over 20 friends and family from Greensburg, Indiana had to enjoy the evening celebrating Welly's productive Muskie debut.

X pounded IUPUI on the boards after halftime with Tyrique leading the way(17 points-6 rebounds-4 steals-6 dunks). Naji Marshall played 36 tough minutes after missing 3 practice days with an illness. Naji played PG down the stretch salting away the win by dominating the ball. His timing seemed off, but he still produced(13 points-7 assists-4 boards despite 0-6 from three).

Zack Hankins blocked 5 shots. He struggled shooting(2-6 FG)(2-6 FT), but Hanky McSpanky was a force. Steele could not play the two BIGS Jones and Hankins together because of game flow and foul trouble. Those two playing high-low and backboard volleyball will be fun to watch and hard to guard. Travis needs to find a way to milk 6- 8 minutes of that double BIG dose.

The two frosh looked tentative. Keonte Kennedy did flush one to complete a late fastbreak run-out, Elias Harden worked his tail off as #2PG with Goodin out. Elias dived to the deck several times and scored 6 with a solid 18 minutes.

Guarding without fouling is a priority. Foul trouble hurt vs OSU and IUPUI. FT shooting is a struggle right now (11-19 vs IUPUI minus 8 in points scored). "Qs" healthy return will be huge. Getting Hankins and Jones on the floor together will be a boost. TEAM 97 is a work in progress and progress is being made.

AROUND THE BIG EAST:

The Conference went 8-0 on Opening Night Tuesday. Villanova swamped Morgan St 100-77 at the refurbished Pavilion on campus in Philly. Xavier will play VU at Wells Fargo Arena downtown on January 18th. Vets Eric Paschall(26) and Phil Booth(17) led the Wildcats. Frosh Sedeq Bey drilled 5 threes. Soph Colin Gillespie started at PG over super frosh Quinerly. Jr Dylan Painter started at forward. VU launched 37 threes-almost 50% of their shots. That's even high for them.

Providence got by some better competition in Siena 77-67. Ed Cooley started frosh guards David Duke and AJ Reeves(29 points-7 made threes). Alpha Dialo had his usual double-double(16 and 11). Emmitt Holt coming off injury played just 6 minutes.

Seton Hall crushed New Jersey neighbor Wagner 89-49. Myles Powell 30 points for the Hall. Sacred heart transfer Quincy Mc Knight started in the backcourt. Syracuse transfer Taurean Thompson came off the bench(7 pts-3 blocks).

St Johns beat Loyola Maryland 76-55. The BIG 4 Ponds-Simon-Clarke and Heron got little help or rest. Creighton got past Western Illinois 78-67. Martin Krampel played well(13P-7R) coming off knee surgery.

G-town beat Maryland Eastern Shore 68-53. Looks like Ewing started frosh Mac Mc Clung and Akino at guards.

Marquette took out Maryland Baltimore County 67-42. UMBC upset Virginia last March in the NCAAs(16 over a 1 seed).




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