Despite what Semaj tweeted out after the game, this was not a great win. Xavier could probably claim the 3 or 4 most talented players on the court at any given time; they had Bowling Green outgunned and needed 45 minutes of basketball to make it show. Still, a win is a win, and it's on to the next one for Xavier.
Because I can, I'm going to start out with Dee Davis. After a frankly miserable showing in the Bahamas, he was at his best today. Coming off the bench, he ended up with 37 minutes and a sterling 8/6/8 line on 2-4/0-1/4-5 shooting with 4 steals and 3 turnovers. He was able to get into the middle of the Bowling Green defense and find cutters today, most notably feeding Semaj for the monster jam you see in the highlights below, but also setting up Philmore, Farr, and whoever else was willing to cut at any given point. His 3 turnovers are just north of ideal, but all in all it was a good game for Dee.
For good portions of the game Davis was Xavier's leading rebounder, but James Farr stepped up late on and took the title. Farr also came off the pine and was good for 15/9/1 on 7-8/1-1/0-0 shooting. Only foul trouble kept Farr from compiling an even more impressive line, but suffice it to say he once again completely blew out of the water anything we had projected for him coming into the year. With his size and how far back he pulls the ball on his jumper, he is borderline unplayable if he is hitting. For the first 30 or so minutes of the game, Farr and Davis were the two most important players on the floor for Xavier.
As the second half wore on, Isaiah Philmore came into his own. He go 14 of his 15 points in the second, along with his only rebound. It was not a vintage day for Philmore, who is usually more active on the glass and defense, but foul trouble had a lot to do with that. Still, his 5-9/0-0/4-6 in the second half came at a time when Xavier was in need of a half-court scoring threat, and he was able to step up and provide it for them.
In the latter parts of the second half and on into overtime, Semaj Christon finally stepped up. Half an hour into the game, he had 6 points on 1-3/0-0/4-6 shooting; from that point forward, he added 16 points on 4-8/0-0/8-10 shooting in just 15 minutes of game time, getting Xavier into OT with a pair of free throws with six seconds left in regulation. His final game line of 22/1/3 came on 5-11/0-0/12-16 shooting. He also added a steal and had no turnovers. It took him a while to get up through the gears, but Semaj was on hand to finish up what his teammates had set up for him in an ugly win for Xavier.
I can't wrap this up without a word on Justin Martin. After being fairly anonymous in the first half, he scored five points on a layup and a three in 38 seconds early in the second half. He then picked up a silly technical foul for mouthing off at the ref after a Matt Stainbrook foul and then disappeared back into his shell. He ended up with a decent 5/6/1 on 2-5/1-1/0-1 shooting with a block and a team-leading 5 turnovers. The talent is there. I don't know if it's ever going to come together, though. It's like watcing Roast Beef Kazenzakis try to play basketball.
Odds and ends:
-Bowling Green outrebounded Xavier, thanks in large part to grabbing 14 offensive rebounds. So much for fixing that during the week off.
-Myles Davis had 14 points on 4-5/4-5/2-2 shooting, including 8 on 2-2/2-2/2-2 in OT. He gave Xavier exactly what they needed today.
-Stainbrook was a favorite of the officials' today, going for 4/5/0 before fouling out in just 16 minutes.
-Brandon Randolph have 5 assists and no turnovers but shot 0-3/0-1/0-1. He still has some developing to do.
-Bowling Green's Jehvon Clarke was the only player to a) have two completely superflous letters in his name and b) go over 40 minutes of playing time.
-Xavier shot 58.3% from the line in the first half, 69.2% in the second half, and 87.5% in OT.
Dad was at the game today, so his usual less than optimistic outlook was somewhat blunted by the spectacle of it all.
-"Looking rough here in the first half. Still can't shoot free throws. Sweet Music has a great stroke."
-"Farr is playing like a man. Martin looks just as lost in person."
-"Sweet Music has a sweet stroke but he is slow on the release. They should bring Red in to help him work on a quicker release."
-"Randolph is Martin in the making."
-"We are no good, nay, awful in the half court. Davis and Farr are the only guys who can shoot a J."
That's about it from me. Stay tuned for Brad's narrative recap tomorrow. Xavier will be back in action Tuesday at 7pm when they host Evansville.