MIDDLETOWN >> It won’t go down as the most artistic of wins, but a win is a win is a win.
“Given the teams we’ve been playing [No. 1 Hillhouse, No. 2 Notre Dame], this was a game we had to have,” said Xavier coach Mike Kohs after his team beat West Haven in a foul-filled Southern Connecticut Conference game 70-59 at the Art Kohs Gymnasium Friday evening.
“That we got the win is about the only good thing to say about it.”
Having said that, Kohs then did an about-face and ticked off the good things that happened.
“We got balanced scoring and that was nice to see,” Kohs said. “I thought [Kyle] MacGillis did a nice job defensively and he added 13 points. We’ve been relying on [Jackson] Benigni and [Mitch] Nappi, so to get scoring from other places was good.
“I also was very pleased with our rebounding.”
What displeased Kohs was his team’s free throw shooting, which at 16-for-30 was not something to put the refrigerator door.
“We had been shooting free throws very well, so that was disappointing,” said Kohs. “If we had shot them well, we might have been up 20 points at the half instead of 10.”
Xavier also didn’t shoot very well, making just 22-of-60 for a forgettable 37 percent. On the flip side, West Haven (1-4) didn’t exactly light up the scoreboard, making 20-of-67 attempts for just under 30 percent.
The Devils also had a poor night from the stripe, caning just 13 of 24.
West Haven broke to an early lead, but both teams were even at 19 after one. Westies’ guard Josiah Steiman had 16 of those 19 points. He finished with 33.
The Falcons (2-3) opened up a 38-28 lead at the half, but put the game away in the third after the Blue Devils made a run.
West Haven opened the third outscoring the Falcons 7-0 to cut the lead to 38-35. But Nappi (16 points) hit a three-pointer, then followed that up with two more to enable the Falcons to rebuild their lead to 58-48 after three.
The closest West Haven got in the fourth was seven points.
Jackson Benigni led Xavier with 17 points and Alec McGovern was also in double figures with 10 points.
Xavier is at Cheshire Monday.