Analysis: Xavier loses to St. John’s

A lackluster defensive effort dropped the Musketeers’ to .500 in Big East play

Newswire photo courtesy of Desmond Fischer
Xavier men’s basketball dropped their second straight game on Tuesday night against St. John’s. After
allowing 80 points against UConn on Saturday, the Musketeers allowed a whopping 94 to the Red Storm.

From a defensive perspective, yesterday was rock bottom for the Xavier men’s basketball team as the Musketeers were defeated by the St. John’s Red Storm 93-84. 

With the loss, Xavier fell to 11-4 overall and 4-4 in Big East play. St. Johns improved to 14-8 overall and 8-7 in Big East play. 

The 93 points Xavier allowed were the most all season. Head Coach Travis Steele was understandably frustrated after the loss, saying, “I just told our guys, we gave up 93 points to St. John’s. That’s just ridiculous.” 

Xavier allowed St. John’s to shoot 37.9% from three as well as 51.5% from the field. 

A program that typically prides itself in showing heart and playing hard, Xavier did anything but that in this game. They were also outrebounded  42 to 37. 

It wasn’t all bad for Xavier. Sophomore forward Zach Freemantle was named to the Big East honor roll prior to this game after scoring 30 points and hauling in 15 rebounds against the University of Connecticut.  

He continued his success against St. John’s by scoring 22 points to go along with a game-high 10 rebounds.

Freshman Colby Jones also turned in a stellar performance, scoring 20 points and grabbing six rebounds. 

Steele also commented on the team’s lackluster performance: “Absolute joke. I feel like we’re back to day one defensively, and we gotta figure it out because none of the opponents we’re playing here moving forward are gonna feel sorry for us.” 

It’s no secret that Xavier, like several other teams around the Big East and College hoops as a whole, has been affected by COVID-19 this season. 

That was always going to be the case when the NCAA decided to try and have a season during a global pandemic. 

But as the whole nation deals with similar issues, Steele isn’t blaming COVID-19 for Xavier’s defensive shortcomings. 

“People in the media keep talking about the COVID layoff. I do not care about it. We do not care about it. We’re going to continue to play. We’re going to continue to work. Every game matters,” Steele said. 

For Xavier, it’s about getting back to the basics, particularly on the defensive side of the ball. 

The Musketeers have allowed 85, 80 and 93 points in their last three losses respectively. There is room for improvement, to say the least. 

Xavier’s next game is Sunday at 7 p.m at  Cintas Center against Butler.