It started in the frontcourt for Xavier tonight, and Matt Stainbrook was the man making all the plays for X. He played only 19 minutes but was good for 18/9/1 with 3 blocks on 7-8/1-1/3-4 shooting. That three-pointer came early in the game with plenty of time on the shot clock and no desperation involved; make of that what you will. The offense ran through Stainbrook on the block, and when he was played with only one defender he basically did whatever he wanted.
Speaking of doing whatever he wanted, Jalen Reynolds was another player for whom Northern Arizona had no answer. He came off the bench and wrecked the world to the tune of 16/5/1 and 2 blocks on 8-9/0-0/0-1 shooting. He put down a couple of impressive dunks - including this one on a feed from Remy Abell - but it was knocking down a couple of jumpers that really showed his potential as a breakout player. He'll play against guys who can challenge his athleticism this year, but he'll be really tough to guard if he can step out and shoot it.
Trevon Bluiett came as advertised. He stepped on the court looking comfortable and stayed that way all game, finishing with a shooting line of 6-8/1-3/5-5 on his way to 18/5/2 with 2 steals. Xavier needs him to provide firepower from the wing, and he did exactly that tonight. There will probably be some tough nights this year for him, but he showed why Xavier fans have such high hopes for him.
Speaking of firepower, Myles Davis threw up a scalding 3-5/3-3/4-4 shooting line. He ended the night with 13/0/3 in 19 minutes of play and looked more healthy and more fit than he did for most of the season last year. His shooting went downhill in the second half of last season; hopefully having his legs underneath him and less him on top of his legs will lead to a strong season-long showing from him. That stroke looked good tonight.
Dee Davis was dinged up and less effective than you might hope tonight, but Brandon Randolph stepped in and ran the show for stretches of the game tonight. He only ended up with 15 minutes played, but it felt like he was in the middle of a lot of good things. He went 2-3/0-1/0-0 shooting and posted a game line of 4/2/5 with 2 steals and only 1 turnover. I'm not sure I ever need to see him shoot another three, but he forced his shot less and made better decisions in traffic tonight than he did in the exhibition and the team was better for his presence on the floor.
Odds and ends:
-JP Macura isn't afraid to keep shooting; he ended up with 7 points on 3-7/1-4/0-0 shooting. He was a little jittery and made some questionable decisions, but his scoring instincts will play at this level.
-James Farr started and posted 2/4/2 with 3 blocks and caught cramps. Make of that what you will.
-Sean O'Mara played six minutes and collected five fouls.
-Xavier had 11 scholarship players available today; all of them played, all of them scored.
-Xavier had 22 assists on 36 buckets, but they turned the ball over 16 times.
Dad was indisposed today, but his take will be back next game. Brad will be back tomorrow with the narrative recap; I'll be back tonight with video highlights as soon as I have them.