Takeaways from Xavier’s pair of road matchups

Newswire photo by Desmond Fischer | In his return to the starting lineup, junior point guard Quentin Goodin scored a team-high 13 points while also dishing out seven assists and grabbing four rebounds. Xavier lost to Creighton on the road, 76-54.

Last week, the men’s basketball team hit the road for games at Georgetown on Thursday and Creighton on Sunday. Against the Hoyas, Xavier held a 36-28 lead at the half but allowed a whopping 52 second-half points before falling 80-73.

The team experienced travel issues on its way into Omaha to play Creighton and ended up having to fly into Grand Island, Neb., before making a two-and a-half hour bus trip to Omaha.

However, once the game started, the Musketeers were outmatched and fell 76-54 to drop to 11-12 on the year and 3-7 in Big East play. Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the last two games.

Limit shot percentages

The last two games have featured some of the worst defense Xavier has played all season.

Against Georgetown, it simply couldn’t stop freshman guard James Akinjo in the second half, as he poured in all 23 of his points in the half and allowed Georgetown to make eight second-half threes after not making any in the first.

Against Creighton, one of the best shooting teams in the country, Xavier allowed the Bluejays to shoot 58 percent from the floor and 47 percent from three and seemed disjointed on the defensive side of the ball all game.

As Xavier gets into the second half of Big East play,  its defense must improve if it wants to climb out of the bottom of the Big East standings.

Reducing turnovers is a key to victory

Turnovers have been an issue for this team of late, especially in its most recent pair of games.

Xavier had 14 turnovers, which led to 20 Georgetown points, including two key turnovers coming in the last two minutes of a one-possession game. Against Creighton, the Musketeers turned the ball over 19 times, which led to easy transition buckets.

Turnovers hinder consistent offense, especially on the road, and they’re something this team has dealt with for a majority of the season.

At this point in the year, the turnovers can’t be blamed on inexperience or lack of cohesiveness and is easily the number-one issue the team needs to address offensively going forward.

Finishing strong

Xavier played a solid first half against Georgetown, but in the second half it fell apart defensively and its offense was out of sync.

Vice versa, it struggled against Creighton in the first half but started the second half with a 13-2 run before eventually fading.

It seems like the Musketeers played really well for large stretches of time, only to completely fall apart and lose the game.

If they can bring the effort that they brought to the Marquette game — which even in a loss was probably Xavier’s best performance this year —to every game going forward, they will have a chance to find their way into the middle of the pack in the Big East.

With St. John’s being the only Big East team Xavier hasn’t played yet, it’ll have an opportunity to try and turn around its recent stretch against familiar opponents.

With back-to-back home games coming up against DePaul and Creighton beginning Saturday, Xavier will look to snap its five-game losing skid.

By: Joe Clark | Staff Writer