It’s been a tough start to the season for Xavier basketball, but they had a golden opportunity to turn the tides Friday night against #6 Houston. With early losses to unranked Washington and Oakland, the Musketeers were in desperate need of a statement win. After falling behind early, Xavier stormed back to end the first half. Unfortunately for Xavier, missed opportunities and poor shooting doomed them in a 66-60 loss to Houston. With four losses and just three games before the start of Big East play, Xavier basketball is running out of time to turn it around.
Xavier Basketball Overwhelmed by Houston 66-60
Missed Opportunities Haunt Xavier
After Houston jumped ahead to a quick 16-4 lead, it looked as if tonight’s matchup could get out of hand in a hurry. Instead, Xavier went on a run of their own, tying the game at 24 with six minutes left in the half. Xavier had plenty of chances to pull ahead but got in their own way every time.
In the first half, Xavier had 11 offensive rebounds, but scored just four second-chance points off of those extra opportunities. When playing a tough defensive team like Houston, you need to take advantages of the opportunities they give you. Xavier’s big men gave them plenty of second chances but the offense couldn’t convert.
In the second half, Xavier went eight minutes without making a field goal, finally breaking their cold streak with 35 seconds left in the game. While they had plenty of opportunities at the line, you simply have to make your shots to have much of a chance against any team in the country, much less Houston.
Xavier’s Free Throw Woes Continue
This was only Xavier’s eighth game of the season, but it was the second they lost thanks to poor free throw shooting. The Musketeers are shooting 67% from the line on the season. Against Houston, their inability to knock down free throws was a large reason Xavier struggled to take control in the second half.
To say the officiating was questionable in favor of the Musketeers is a gross understatement. When teams are given opportunities like that, the good ones take advantage. Xavier shot just 20/30 (67%) from the line which allowed Houston to keep control even during long cold spells in the second half. If Xavier doesn’t right the ship quickly, they will lose a lot of games moving forward.