Muskies Fall to No. 8 Auburn in OT in Maui
After clawing their way back in the second half to send the game to overtime against No. 8 Auburn, the Xavier Musketeers ran out of steam and were defeated 88-79 in the opening game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitation in Hawaii. Xavier scored the last five points of the second half and made a valiant attempt at upsetting the Tigers, but it was not to be. Xavier (2-2) was led by Ryan Welage who notched a team-high 17 points on 6-of-12 shooting from the field including 4-of-8 from 3-point range.
Four others Musketeers joined Welage in double-figures scoring including Paul Scruggs (16 points, 6 rebounds), Quentin Goodin (13), Zach Hankins (11), Naji Marshall (10 points, 8 rebounds). Auburn was led by Bryce Brown who scored a game-high 26 points as well as Jared Harper (25 points). The Tigers move to a perfect 4-0 and advance to face Duke on Tuesday.
There were several bright spots in the game as X displayed excellent grit and toughness to hang in the game against an athletic team with strength inside and outside. Xavier outscored Auburn by five points in the second half on 50% shooting (12-of-24) and took advantage of opportunities from the line, converting on 21-of-24 free throws for the game. XU was also strong on the glass, outrebounding the Tigers by seven, 42-35.
Still, there are several areas that Xavier must shore up quickly. The Musketeers struggled to take care of the basketball, turning the ball over a season-high 22 times. Auburn capitalized in a big way from the Muskie miscues as it converted 31 points off turnover. On the defensive end, Xavier also struggled defending the ball screen for the second straight game which lead to several easy baskets near the hoop.
X plays its next game of the Maui Jim Maui Invitational on Tuesday, Nov. 19 at 2:30 p.m ET against the Aztecs from San Diego State. The Aztecs lost to Duke, 90-64, in the game that followed Xavier's on Monday afternoon in Maui. Tip time against SDSU is set for 2:30 p.m. EST. The game will be televised live on ESPN2.