Although they were in paradise, the Xavier Musketeers felt some displeasure on their first day in the Maui Invitational. Despite a hard-fought effort to push the game into OT, the Musketeers fell 88-79 to the 8th-ranked Auburn Tigers.
Jared Harper and Bryce Brown led the way for Auburn. They combined for 51 of the Tigers’ 88 points scored Monday morning in Maui. The duo shot 17-for-35 from the field and Brown was 5-for-13 from 3-point land.
As a team, Auburn struggled from the field at the start of the game. But they quickly righted the ship and finished 30-for-66 from the field. Their outside numbers struggled, but thanks in part to good work inside and a 70.8 percent mark from the free throw line, they survived the relentless effort from the Musketeers.
Paul Scruggs had an outstanding showing for the Musketeers. He hit clutch buckets down the stretch and seemed to be in complete command with the ball in his hands. He had 16 points, second only behind Ryan Welage and his 17. Scruggs was 5-for-10 from the field and had seven boards and four assists for what was a complete performance.
Quentin Goodin also had a strong showing. Q, playing with a wrap on his shoulder, didn’t seem to dismayed by it. He scored 13 points and had six assists and four rebounds. Q went a perfect 6-for-6 from the free throw line, and Xavier themselves were excellent from the line. They shot 21-for-24, so you can’t say that FT shooting doomed them.
What probably did doom them was turnovers. Auburn was able to pounce on the Musketeers’ mistakes in a big way. Xavier committed 22 turnovers in the 45 minutes played, and Auburn scored 31 points off of those errors. Given that Xavier had just 10 points off Auburn’s turnovers, that was the major difference in the game.
Other players who finished in double figures for the Musketeers were NajI Marshall (10) and Zach Hankins (11). X will now play the San Diego State Aztecs in their next Maui Invitational Tournament game.