Speaking of people who spend a lot of time around or above the rim, Dezmine Wells showed up for 13/4/0 with two turnovers on a 5-9/1-2/2-5 shooting line. His shot chart to the right over there shows that there is more to his game than just the dunks that are going to show up on highlight films. Wells showed impressive touch on a couple of mid-range baskets and his contributions - aside from that mark from the charity stripe - are more than acceptable from a team's tertiary scorer. Xavier fans should be beyond excited at the level of play they've seen from the freshman so far; he's going to be a scary ball player someday very, very soon.
Foul trouble once again limited Kenny Frease's minutes and effectiveness (and the less said about either, the better), but Xavier's bench is no longer just Andrew Taylor and the shadow of Jeff Robinson. Travis Taylor (no relation that I'm aware of) stepped in and contributed for X off the bench, posting seven points and seven boards in the first half on the way to 9 and 8 on 3-7/0-0/3-4 shooting. Justin Martin also showed some versatility against an admittedly slight Butler front court, coming on to guard the four for stretches in the first half as Frease and Andre Walker sat on the bench with two fouls each. Martin had 5/4/1 in the first half and combined with Taylor to demonstrate a depth that Xavier hasn't seen during the Chris Mack era.
Odds and ends:
-Jeff Robinson had two points, five boards, and a block in eleven minutes. You know the drill by now; super talented, usually looks super lost. His tip dunk tonight was one of those flashes of brilliance that keeps Xavier fans from giving up on him just yet.
-Great effort by the Muskies from the line today, going 29-37 (78.4%). Xavier's free throw shooting should steadily improve from this rocky start... right?
-Xavier's 2-12 from deep, on the other hand, is both poor and not characteristic of X this year. The Muskies came into the game shooting about 40% from deep as a team.
-Tu Holloway gave Chrishawn Hopkins a miserable time tonight, and the sophomore ended the game with 2 points on 1-3 shooting and 5 turnovers.
-Andre Walker had his worst game as a Muskie, posting 4/3/1 on 2-2/0-0/0-0 shooting with no turnovers. Four fouls didn't help.
(My dad is an old-school basketball guy and a die-hard X fan, and he and I text throughout the games from time to time. His opinions can be both insightful and entertaining, especially pulled from their context. Below is a sampling of his offerings tonight.)
-"Stuck watching Florida in OT."
-"Oh good, Taylor on the line."
-"Blow out early."
-After I said I didn't think Cheek liked Robinson right now: "Cheek has good taste."
-"Red in to settle them down."
-"Wells is smooth. Tu may be a player."
-After Cheek's layup from a made Butler FT: "That's hustle. And one."
-"Wells looks like a man among boys."
-"[Halftime] lead, but not pretty."
-"Jenny turns it over like it's his job."
-"Wells is a beast with speed."
-"Tu keeps getting to the line."
-"Wells is en fuego."
-After Kenny ran that guy over: "Ran him over."
-"Oh no, Robinson."
-"Nice of Tu to take it from the cripple."
-"[Kenny] is a space eater."
-"Be a cold day in Mexico when Cheek takes garbage from anyone."
-As Cheek followed Kenny through the lane: "Kenny, pulling guard."
-"Red knows you don't take a charge at this stage of the game."
-"Not pretty, but effective. [Butler] fans checked out early."
As always, come back for Brad's full recap tomorrow morning. Xavier's next game is the Crosstown Shootout, Saturday at 12:30pm.