Offensive Outburst Leads X Past Georgetown
By Andy Mac Williams, 1/21/2023

Xavier regained its offensive mojo Saturday at Cintas outscoring Georgetown 95-82-improving to 16-4 overall and retaining 1st place in BIG EAST at 8-1. Marquette kept pace-a half game back(8-2) w/ a 74-53 pounding of Seton Hall at the Rock and PC stayed one game back(7-2) w/ a 75-64 victory over DePaul. Wednesday's 73-72 Muskie loss at DePaul might seemed like it's fading in the rear view mirror bu Sean Miller is far from a happy camper. G-town PG Primo Spears dropped 37 points on XU-scoring off the dribble at will-triggering 31 shots and adding 11 assists. He more than made up for the absence of Hoya's #2 scorer Brandon Murray(shoulder and leg injuries).

PGs are chewing XU up. Last Sunday Marquette's Tyler Kolek poured in 25(X won 80-76). At DePaul Umoja Gibson tallied 22 and his back-up Caleb Murphy had 8. Overall-1st half defense has been leaky(48 vs MU, 45 vs DePaul, 39 vs G-town).

Miller is perplexed and blunt:

"We had no answer for Spears or for Kolek or Gibson. We don't have an answer on defense. We're going to work our butts off to improve, but our defense is really bad. You can't play just offense. It's really a helpless feeling. We couldn't stop them."

Miller zeroes in on the crux of the problem:

"We don't have the ability to get stops. It's not important enough to us. Looking forward at our schedule coming up( at UConn, at Creighton, home PC, home St Johns) it's not set up for that mentality. The days of us just outscoring teams has ended. We are going to have to play offense and defense to do both."

XU pinged the ball around efficiently( 55% FG-57% from"3"-31 assists on 39 FGs made-52 points in the paint). They win by 20 plus if they make more than 9 of 17 FTs. Zach Freemantle weathered a couple of early blocked shots and tied a career high w/ 30 points(plus 11 rebounds and 7 assists).

Colby Jones dropped 20 points and Adam Kunkel hit 6 of 9 FGs(14 points-7 assists). The 800 pound gorilla in the picture continues to be defense or the lack there of. Muskies start games and halfs and coming out of time-outs strong then get reeled in by the bad guys.

Some defensive progress seems needed w/ demanding BE road games left at snake pits like UConn(next Wednesday), Creighton(next Saturday) plus trips to Butler, Marquette, Seton Hall and PC. It's a tough pounding league the BIG EAST-rated #3 NCAA behind Big 12 and Big 10. Home teams win 70% of the time(2nd best winning% in the NCAA).

UConn hosts Butler tomorrow Sunday(Noon-BIG FOX). See how hard they play. XU needs to suck it up this Wednesday in Storrs vs Huskies(6:30-FS1) then continue next Saturday in Omaha vs Creighton in front of 18,000 plus on CBS( 12:15 EST TIP).




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