(Photo Courtesy of Desmond Fischer/ Xavier Newswire)
Normally when you go to a game at the Cintas Center, it's loud, there's a ton of energy and everyone is on their feet all game long supporting the Musketeers. Tonight was not of the norm. Although Xavier did continue their home court advantage with tonight's win, the energy that we've seen all year just wasn't there.
"Tonight I thought we looked like a bunch of individuals and that has to change," Head Coach Travis Steele said in his opening statement of his post game presser. "our huddles weren't good for the first time all year, I think guys weren't necessarily thinking about the right things on either end of the floor and that's gotta change, it's embarrassing," Steele showed a lot of disappointment and frustration in his team's energy and it's really tough to figure out why. Whether it was the unique style of offense that Wisconsion-Green Bay plays where KenPom has them listed as the fastest offensive team in the country or maybe it was a team looking ahead to Saturday's Crosstown Shootout against arch nemesis the University of Cincinnati, whatever it was it wasn't what we've seen from this Xavier team all season.
As a team Xavier wasn't very good offensively. They shot 42% from the field, and 24.2% from three. Not exactly the offense you want your team to play before the big stretch of games going into the end of the non-conference and the beginning of conference schedule. Naji Marshall lead all scorers tonight with 24 points shooting 8/12 from the floor, 2/4 from three and 6/10 from the free throw line. Tyrique Jones continued to be Mr. Double-Double during tonight's game with 14 points and 14 rebounds, getting 10 of those points and 11 of those rebounds in the second half alone. As a team Xavier continued to export their dominance on the offensive glass getting 18 offensive boards and scoring 25 points off of second chance opportunities.
One of the bigger storylines from this game was the three freshman in the rotation. Guard Kyky Tandy had to get his mouth stitched up after his tooth went through his lip. Coach Steele did confirm Tandy will be available for Saturday's game. Zach Freemantle is normally a big member of the Xavier bench but was played very little in the second half. Travis said the decision was made to run with Tyrique Jones since Jones was getting into a rhythm in the second half of the game. Now the one that really stuck out was guard Dahmir Bishop. Before tonight Bishop had played in every game so far this season for Xavier. "Dahmir's gotta earn it in practice. Dontarius (James) plays hard. He's been playing hard and he's earning the few minutes. You earn that in practice, you earn that trust in practice and I believe in Dahmir and his talent, he can really help this team, but, he's gotta earn it."
Xavier is now 8-1 on the season. Up next, The Crosstown Shootout vs the Cincinnati Bearcats. The Bearcats are currently 6-2 riding a three game winning streak. Tip-off is at 5 PM EST at the Cintas Center and will be broadcasted on FS1.