Xavier Bounces Back from Maui Hangover
After coming back from an up and down experience at the Maui Invitational, Xavier looked to bounce back against a familiar opponent in Miami University on Wednesday, November 28th at the Cintas Center. The Musketeers were able to do just that by outpacing the Redhawks to a 82-55 win led by Naji Marshall who had 17 points, 6 rebounds, and 2 assists. For a team looking for identity and consistency, Xavier faithful received a glimpse of a young team finally starting to put their pieces of talent together under first year Head Coach Travis Steele.
The first 8 minutes of the game saw back and forth action between the Musketeers and the Redhawks. Miami was led primarily by big man Bam Bowman, who did most of his damage inside the paint. However, as starting Miami guard Darrian Ringo picked up his second foul, Xavier went on a 18-10 run and entered the under 8 timeout with a 10 point lead. With tighter defense, Xavier was able to take advantage of a plethora of Miami turnovers and went into the half with a 15 point lead.
So far in the early season, Xavier has been looking for identity and consistency from their returning players such as Quentin Goodin, Tyrique Jones, and Naji Marshall. The Musketeers were able to put together a complete 40 minute game, and that was due to consistency on the defensive end that allowed for a better flow on offense. In the second half, Xavier continued to attack the basket despite having the lead. Good ball movement, led by junior point guard Quentin Goodin, allowed for Xavier to dominate in the paint with some easy buckets. Unlike some points in Maui, Xavier executed their offense consistently and didn't settle for contested jumpers.
Overall, Travis Steele and Xavier faithful should be pleased with the performance they saw tonight. It was without a doubt a good step in the right direction for a younger team that looks to round out their non conference schedule with some big games before heading into Big East play.
Xavier plays next against Oakland this Saturday in the Cintas Center at noon. Expect another effort-filled performance by the Musketeers as they are nearing the Crosstown Shootout on December 8th.