St. Johnís Takes Down Muskies at Cintas
By Andy Mac Williams, 2/17/2022

I described St Johns as dangerous and desperate in my Scouting Report and the Johnnies played that way Wednesday at Cintas-pounding Xavier 86-73. The Muskies played w/o three point threat Nate Johnson who seemingly had found his game last Friday in XU's home win over UConn(74-68) Nate brusied a knee late vs Huskies and DNP vs St Johns and 3 point shooting was a problem(X 4-20 overall and 1-12 during tbeir 2nd half collapse while ST J knocked down 8 triples. Do the math(-12 Muskies in that category). Travis Steele played only 7 guys while Mike Anderson ran 10 against the Muskies. He welcomed back top guard Posh Alexander after a two game injury absence.

But we're kidding ourselves if we focus on offense. Xavier gave up 86 points( a porous 1.16 points/possession).

Travis Steele:

"Our defense stunk. That's got to change. I'm going to find 5 guys who want to defend. We did mot guard the ball and didn't get back in transition. We let them play one on one. St. Johns plays a simple game. They have really good players who play really really fast. They exposed and exploited us off the dfribble."

X was outrun and outquicked. St Johns played at their pace-hectic! Xavier slips to 17-8, 7-7 BIG EAST. If the BET started tomorrow, Muskies would be playing a dreaded 1st Round game at MSG which they've lost dismally the last two years to DePaul and Butler.

It's far from gloom and doom w/ XU sporting a Top 25 NCAA NET and 6 Quad 1 wins, but 4-4 BE at Cintas is disconserting. Losses to Villanova by 4 and PC by 3 are life in the BIG EAST, but Ls to DePaul and St Johns are hard to swallow.

Adam Kunkel(9 points off the bench after recovering from illness) shares Travis' postgame message: "Stick with it and go get a road kill Saturday(Noon-FOX) at UConn."

Muskies were down 45-42 at the half-shooting 53%FG and getting excellent production from BIGS Jack Nunge and Zach Freemantle(21 points on 9 of 15 FG).

Julian Chanpagnie killed X w/ 27 points w/ total though. XU took thed ldea at 57-56 w/ 11:30 left on a Paul scruggs steal and run out dunk. St Johns went zone and Muskies stalled w/ 6 straight empty trips while Red Storm scored 7 unanswered. 63-57 w/ 8:34 left.

X had some decent looks and some rim outs,but they settled for jumpers while St Johns took it to the rim. Xavier kept missing w/ few offensive rebounds and Johnnies kept adding to the lead(16 points was the largest). They scored 21 points on 14 XU turnovers-won the paint scoring and fast break points and outrebounded Xavier 34-29.

Red Storm's deeper bench buried Muskies 28-9. The Sr Johns win was no fluke.

X has to retool quickly w/ road games at UConn Saturday and at Providence next Wednesday. Only 5 games remain before BET 3 road-2 home. Muskies need urgency and wins to scramble for a BET Bye and secure an NCAA Tournament berth.

Xavier TEAM 100 has acomplished too much and is too talented to limp into NYC for the BIG EAST Tourney. IMHO.

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