With Tyrique Jones and Naji Marshall leading the way, it appears that No. 21 Xavier will be in good hands this season. Jones and Marshall will certainly be the focus of the defensive gameplan for Siena, which visits Xavier on Friday in non-league action.
Xavier rolled past Jacksonville 76-57 in its opener behind Jones and Marshall, who recorded 17 points apiece. Jones was 7-of-8 from the field and had a team-high 11 rebounds, while Marshall added six rebounds, four assists and two steals in a nice all-around effort. "He makes the game really easy," Marshall said of Jones. "Just get the ball down to Tyrique and let him do his thing." Siena looked good in its opener, posting a 96-80 win over American in Carmen Maciariello's first game as coach of his alma mater.
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ABOUT SIENA (1-0): Jalen Pickett led the way with 22 points in Siena's opener, while Elijah Burns pitched in 19 points and nine rebounds and Don Carey had 17 points. The team made 11 of its 21 attempts from 3-point range and knocked down 15-of-18 foul shots in a crisp overall effort. Siena probably could be sharper defensively, as the Saints allowed 80 points, registered only four steals and did not have a block versus American.
ABOUT XAVIER (1-0): In the win over Jacksonville, Xavier forced 18 turnovers and allowed the Dolphins to make just five of their 21 attempts from long range. "We have the chance to be an elite defensive team," coach Travis Steele said. "That's got to be our identity. It's got to be who we are. If we do that, we have a chance to be a successful team this year." The Musketeers struggled in their own right from beyond the arc, making just 4-of-23 3-pointers, but Steele believes his team will be fine in that area as long as the players take better shots.
1. Xavier freshman F Zach Freemantle opened his career by making 4-of-7 shots en route to 11 points off the bench.
2. Aside from Jones, every other Musketeers starter had at least two steals against Jacksonville.
3. Marshall is hoping to get his shooting percentage closer to where it was as a freshman (53.0) before he dipped to 39.4 percent as a sophomore.
Key Players to Watch
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