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Xavier survives upset bid from Missouri State

It wasn’t pretty, but a win is a win.

NCAA Basketball: Missouri State at Xavier Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

In the Big East’s lone game of Friday evening, the Xavier Musketeers improved to 4-0 on the young season with a 59-56 win over the Missouri State Bears at Cintas Center.

As the score indicates, the game was very ugly. Xavier shot 5-23 from beyond the three-point line, continuing an alarming trend for the Musketeers this season, as their .209 three-point percentage has them 340 of 353 teams in the nation. It’s possible that it’s just an early season anomaly due to the three-point line being moved back, but the Musketeers were below-average from long-range last year, as well, shooting .331 for the season, well below the national average of .344. The Musketeers also committed a season-high 15 turnovers in Friday’s victory.

Despite all of that, they were still able to find a way to win. Sometimes that’s the key in the early part of the season. Xavier’s heavy lifters did the heavy lifting, as Tyrique Jones (15), Paul Scruggs (14), and Naji Marshall (12) combined for 41 of Xavier’s 59 points, and the trio combined for 19 of Xavier’s 27 in the second half.

Lamont West and Keandra Cook each had 13 for the Bears.

Clearly, there are things Xavier needs to work on, but 4-0 is exactly where they should have been heading into the Charleston Classic, they’ve managed to avoid early season letdowns, unlike many other teams around the country.

The Musketeers return to action Thursday in Charleston where they’ll face Towson in the first round of the Charleston Classic.