1) Xavier’s 1-3-1 defense came up big this time
The Musketeers’ 1-3-1 zone defense was picked apart by Georgetown when the Hoyas defeated Xavier on Tuesday. However, it was a different story against Seton Hall. The zone was huge for Xavier in the second half as they forced the Pirates to take tough shots. Seton Hall shot 6-27 from three and for team that does not consider itself a three-point shooting team that is too many attempts from deep. The Hall needed to look for higher percentage shots in the paint. It would have helped if the Pirates had made more free throws as well. Both percentages need to be better going forward.
While the Pirates were getting frustrated by the Musketeer defense, Xavier’s offense began to take over as they went on a 17-5 run that put them up 71-56 and from there they never looked back. Xavier was led by James Farr who had a career-high 24 points to go along with 15 rebounds. He was key during the run and helped Xavier secure the victory. After not scoring the first half, Trevon Bluiett had 15 points in the second half and played an important role today for Xavier as well.
2) Pirates miss out on another chance for quality win, but are still in good shape
Seton Hall had two chances to grab wins over top-5 opponents this week, but lost both of them. However, they did play well against two of the best teams in the conference this week and had chances to win both games. The Pirates are still in good shape at 3-4 considering who they have played so far. With some of the tougher matchups out of the way, Seton Hall needs to take advantage of the upcoming games on their schedule and they will be in fine going forward.
The Pirates were led today by a trio of sophomores who did the majority of the scoring. Desi Rodriguez led the way for The Hall with 21 points on 10-14 shooting, eight rebounds and two assists. Khadeen Carrington had 19 points, two rebounds and made four of Seton Hall’s six three pointers. Isaiah Whitehead finished with 17 points, five assists, three rebounds and three blocks. However, Whitehead did commit five turnovers and shot just 6-20 from the field and 2-10 from downtown. Going forward, Whitehead has to be more efficient and get off to better starts in games for the Pirates to be successful.
3) Musketeers won the battle down low
Farr, Jalen Reynolds and the rest of the Xavier frontcourt made life difficult on Seton Hall’s group of big men. Angel Delgado, Ismael Sanogo, Michael Nzei and Rashed Anthony struggled down low to make an impact in this game. The Musketeers out-rebounded The Hall 46-42 and outscored the Pirates 42-38 in the paint. Both are rare for the Pirates who usually dominate their opponents down low. It was clear that Sanogo and Delgado were getting frustrated down the stretch. By the time there were three minutes left in the game, both of them had fouled out. Xavier’s dominance down low was a big difference in winning today.