by Tim Daniel
It was inevitable, but with the consecutive stretches of Xavier's slow starts, they were bound to take a bad loss. That bad loss came today at the hands of the DePaul Blue Demons.
"I want them to be mad and pissed off," Coach Travis Steele said in his post-game press conference. "Whether we lose to DePaul or Villanova, we need to learn from our mistakes. We have a lot of season left, I have complete belief in our locker room."
While Travis Steele wasn't discouraged by how the defense played today, where DePaul was hitting tough baskets through multiple stretches, Steele was upset with how the offense played today.
"We need to work to get Xavier a good shot, not me, not myself, we need to make sure Xavier gets a good shot."
As a team today, Xavier shot just 44% from the floor, were 35% from three-point land making 6 of their 17 shots, and shot 69% from the free-throw line making 11 of their 16. While those five missed free throws play a part, missing multiple front ends of the one-and-one free throws and giving DePaul back possessions came back to be costly today for the Musketeers.
Xavier started the game missing their first five shots, then continued to struggle to score, going as low as five of 20 shooting through the first fifteen minutes of the game.
With just a few minutes to go in the first half, Xavier got their offense on a bit of a roll hitting five of their last seven shots cutting the deficit to just seven points with DePaul leading 34-27.
DePaul's senior guard Courvoisier McCauley was having quite the first half with 11 points at the half on 4/6 shooting along with three assists. On the Xavier end, Jack Nunge got going scoring 10 points on 3/4 shooting and was 3/4 from the free-throw line.
Coming out of the half, Xavier got cooking with a solid 14-2 run and took their first lead of the game. Zach Freemantle had a quick eight points during this run on 4/6 shooting after a tough first half shooting just 1/9 from the floor.
DePaul called a timeout at the 14:33 mark and responded with a 13 point run to take a 49-41 lead. From there, both teams traded baskets for a long stretch with DePaul making 12 of 14 shots to extend their lead. McCauley continued his big game with a ten-point half giving him a solid 21 point game.
From there, the Musketeers fought, but just couldn't get back in the driver's seat for the remainder of the game, giving DePaul the big win and the upset 69-65.
Xavier had the lead for just 3:18 in this game, after just sneaking out the win in the previous matchup where they didn't take the lead until the end of the game. While DePaul hasn't had the best season so far, they have managed to match up well with Xavier.
Now, the Musketeers sit at 16-6 and fifth in the Big East at 6-5. Xavier has also lost three of their last five games and has a tough stretch coming up where they need to get back on track, quickly.
Up next for Xavier, a trip to Seton Hall to face the Pirates. Seton Hall is currently on a two-game win streak with victories over Georgetown and Creighton but are 7th in the Big East with a 14-7 overall record. Tip-off will be at 7 PM Est from the Prudential Center and will be live on FS1.