With the Atlantic 10 season less than 10 days old, Xavier coach Sean Miller has already ripped into his team once.
Continued poor road play could set off another tirade from the Musketeers’ coach.
The 20th-ranked Musketeers look to avoid their fourth road defeat in five games this season when they face George Washington on Saturday.
Xavier (14-4, 2-1) is 11-1 at home, with the only loss coming to then-No. 12 Tennessee on Dec. 22. The Musketeers have topped 90 points six times at home while outscoring opponents by an average of 23.9 points.
It’s been an entirely different story on the road, where Xavier is 1-3 and has been held to 59 points or less in the losses. The Musketeers are coming off their most lopsided road defeat of the season, 78-59 to Temple on Wednesday.
Derrick Brown led Xavier with 14 points and eight rebounds, but the Musketeers shot 38.6 percent from the field, allowed Temple to shoot 50.9 and made only one shot over a 6-minute span of the second half.
“I think it’s just a matter of time before they regain their national prominence,” Xavier coach Sean Miller said of the Owls. “They have a great coach. We respect them a great deal.”
Miller chose to focus on being complimentary of the Musketeers’ opponent after the loss, as opposed to the blistering he gave his team following a win in its conference opener.
After a sluggish 15-point victory over St. Bonaventure on Jan. 9, Miller blasted the Musketeers in the locker room.
“If you can’t get excited to play the first game of the Atlantic 10 season, something’s wrong with you,” Miller said.
“We’ve got a couple of guys who have got something wrong with them right now. We dealt with some things we haven’t dealt with all year long.”
Jason Love had a career-high 13 points against Temple while Drew Lavender finished with 11.
Lavender leads the Musketeers in scoring with 12.3 points per game, although he’s averaging only 10.0 in conference play. On Feb. 10, he was one of four Xavier players in double figures with 15 points in an 87-58 road win over George Washington.
Stanley Burrell, second on the Musketeers in scoring (12.4 ppg) in 2006-07, is fifth this season with 10.3. Xavier has six players averaging double figures in points, and is 12-0 when four players reach the 10-point mark.
George Washington (5-7, 1-1) will be playing its first home game since its A-10 opener on Jan. 10, when it held Saint Louis to a modern Division I record for fewest points in a 49-20 win.
The Colonials, though, followed that effort with a 66-53 loss at Fordham on Wednesday, ending an eight-game winning streak against the Rams. George Washington wiped out a 13-point halftime deficit with a 19-3 run to open the second half, but Fordham took the lead for good on 3-pointer by Brenton Butler with 6:05 left.
Rob Diggs had 19 points for the Colonials and Maureece Rice added 13, eight rebounds and seven assists.
Diggs leads the team with 12.5 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, but had just five points and four boards in the Feb. 10 defeat.
GW has alternated losses and wins in its last six games, but is 4-0 this season when holding opponents to less than 59 points.
Xavier has won 10 of the last 12 meetings with George Washington.