Xavier triumphs in conference game with a 13-point win, will play Connecticut next
By Daniel Kelly, Guest Writer
The Musketeers got back on track Sunday with a 95-82 home win over Georgetown. It was a fast-paced, high-scoring afternoon at the Cintas Center. Following an upset loss to DePaul during the week, Xavier improves to 8-1 in conference games and stands atop the Big East standings.
Forward Zach Freemantle led the team in offense providing an efficient 30 points and 11 rebounds. The offense stayed hot, as the team took care of the ball and shot eight of 14 from the three-point line. Souley Boum, Freemantle and Adam Kunkel each chipped in seven assists.
Though the score stayed close for most of the game, Georgetown’s only lead came in the first three minutes of the game.
Head Coach Sean Miller’s postgame press conference was all about the team’s defensive struggles. Georgetown guard Primo Spears carried the Hoyas’ scoring load, accounting for 37 of the team’s 82 points. Spears also contributed 11 assists for Georgetown.
Miller seemed to see a pattern in this Xavier team’s inability to defend the opposing team’s lead guard. He noted that playmakers from DePaul, Marquette and Georgetown have all given Xavier fits.
The Musketeers have been able to win most of these games, but Miller said that the team’s current level of defense is not sufficient . He added, “We are going to have to play better defense (to keep winning).”
Though frustrated with the general performance, Miller added that “you have to take some joy in winning a conference game.” The 13-point victory marked the team’s second win this season over a struggling Georgetown. This win came with the same margin of victory as the first matchup in mid-December.
Coached by Patrick Ewing, Georgetown has not won a conference game since March of 2021. Still, the Hoyas have given real scares to Big East competition like Connecticut and Villanova.
In addition to Freemantle, Colby Jones took a lead role offensivelywith 20 points,shooting eight of 11 from the field. He added a trio of threes, as well. Kunkel and Boum also ended the night in double digits.
Outside of Spears, Georgetown got offensive help from big men Akok Akok and Qudus Wahab, who scored 14 and 10 points, respectively. The Hoyas shot 32% from the three-point line which was not enough to compete with a red-hot shooting performance from Xavier.
Xavier built on its ranking as the fifth best three-point shooting team in college basketball with the hot shooting night. Meanwhile, Georgetown’s turnovers cost them dearly as Xavier scored 25 points off turnovers. Georgetown only scored five points off Xavier turnovers.
The Musketeers are back in action at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday on the road against Connecticut.