No doubt when Sean Miller’s Xavier Musketeers answer the dinner bell, they travel to the dining hall behind the Cintas Center like the rest of the student body at the Jesuit school in southwest Ohio. From time to time the Muskies may grab a snack or two from the various eateries in the Gallagher Student Center.
After watching them on the hardwood, it wouldn’t be difficult to believe the Muskies might tote lunch pails as they make their way around campus.
If there is any truth to the idea that a team’s ability is best measured when they play poorly on the road, then the Musketeers made a statement last night.
In an entertaining game that featured 11 lead changes and just as many ties, Derrick Brown led four Musketeers in double figures as Xavier endured an evening of shoddy ball handling and poor shooting to take a victory at Rhode Island, 67-65.
Looking at the box score, two statistics jump out: 22 and 38.9 percent.
22 is the number of times the Musketeers turned over the ball. Rhode Island capitalized on the miscues to the tune of 24 points.
38.9 percent represents the Xavier field goal percentage, as they dropped 21 of 54 shots, including only five of 17 from the three-point arc.
To make matters worse, Rhode Island’s sharpshooter, Jimmy Baron, was heating up.
Baron, who came into the game scoring at a rate of 45 percent from long range, including 20-point outings against the likes of Duke, Villanova, and Penn State, dropped three from long range in the second.
Baron’s final trifecta of the evening, his second in less than 30 seconds, put Rhode Island on top 62-59 with 3:48 remaining.
On the road and reeling, the Musketeers stayed the course by rolling up their sleeves and getting to work.
Dante Jackson hit his only bucket of the night—a three-pointer—and put the Muskies ahead 63-61 with 1:42 to go.
A minute later, freshman point guard Terrell Holloway converted a pair of free throws.
After starting much of the season, Jackson recently accepted a demotion to the bench in favor of the freshman Holloway.
Brown followed with a pair of his own from the charity stripe, and the Muskies held on to improve to three and zero in Atlantic 10 conference play.
Winning on the road has its challenges. Winning on the road when playing poorly takes a special effort.
No one represented that effort more than Xavier’s C.J. Anderson.
The senior transfer contributed a mere one rebound and zero points for the first 20 minutes of last night’s contest.
In the first four-and-a-half minutes of the second stanza, the Cincinnati native grabbed three boards and scored seven points.
Anderson finished with 11 and seven rebounds before fouling out hustling for a rebound with five minutes to play.
Then there’s B.J. Raymond.
If nothing else, Raymond embodies the adage of letting the game come to him.
Raymond has shown the potential for a breakout performance—32 versus Auburn, 24 against Virginia. But instead of forcing the play possibly at the expense of his teammates, Raymond bides his time.
With the Rams allowing him little breathing room, Raymond picked his spots, finishing with 10 points on four for 12 shooting and eight rebounds.
Yeah, Miller’s guys aren’t afraid to grab their lunch pails and get down to work. Next meal is Sunday at noon. On the menu? The LaSalle Explorers.
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