With nine straight wins to open the season, Xavier fell one victory shy of tying the best start in school history. But coming off back-to-back losses, the last thing the Musketeers are thinking about now is setting records.
Xavier looks to avoid its first three-game skid in four seasons on Wednesday night as it hosts Robert Morris.
The No. 22 Musketeers (9-2) return to the Cintas Center after having their 15-game home winning streak snapped by Butler on Dec. 23, 74-65. Xavier lost to then-No. 6 Duke 82-64 just three days earlier.
Xavier hasn’t dropped three straight since Nov. 30-Dec. 18, 2004.
“Duke was a lesson learned, and from today we’ve got to find out a lesson and learn from this,” said senior B.J. Raymond, who is shooting just 26.1 percent from the field in his last three games. “We can’t hang our head or anything like that. We’ve got to want to get better because some teams during the season don’t do that. That separates the great teams from the good teams.”
Lately, though, the Musketeers haven’t been very good. After committing a season-low nine turnovers in a 60-53 win over Miami (OH) on Nov. 29, Xavier is averaging 17.0 turnovers during its last five games.
Facing the then-unranked Bulldogs, the Musketeers missed their first four attempts from 3-point range as they fell behind Butler 12-4. Xavier shot a season-high 24 times from beyond the arc, but made just seven.
Junior Derrick Brown, though, hit 3-of-5 from long range and scored 17 points. In his last four games, Brown is shooting 62.5 percent on 3s while averaging 18.3 points.
Robert Morris, meanwhile, is coming off a 6-of-22 effort from long range in an 88-62 loss to Duquesne on Sunday.
After shooting 68.0 percent from the free throw line during their 9-0 start, the Musketeers are hitting just 52.6 percent in their last two games, including 12-of-22 versus Butler. Despite shooting just 66.4 percent from the stripe, Xavier has made more free throws (237) this season than its opponents have taken (228).
While the Musketeers look to improve to 58-7 at the Cintas Center against nonconference opponents, Robert Morris (6-6) takes on its first ranked opponent since losing 67-53 to No. 2 Pittsburgh on Nov. 29, 2006. The Colonials have dropped their last six to ranked foes by an average of 29.0 points.
If Robert Morris hopes to defeat Xavier, it will likely need a better shooting performance than in its loss to the Dukes. The Colonials hit a season-low 17 field goals while shooting a season-worst 30.9 percent from the floor. Robert Morris had made 51.7 percent from the field in winning three of its previous four games.
“You know, 85 to 90 percent of the shots we took I liked, because we moved the ball around to try and find the open man, but we just didn’t knock them down,” Colonials coach Mike Rice told the school’s official Web site on Sunday.
Senior guard Jeremy Chappell, though, is hitting 60.6 percent from the field in his last three games, including 8-of-13 from 3-point range. He leads the team with 17.0 points per game.
Xavier has won the previous two meetings with Robert Morris, most recently a 77-70 victory on Dec. 4, 1989.