On a night when the officials would call 53 personal fouls (along with two technicals), this one was going to come down to bench play, and Xavier got it in spades. Myles Davis was once again the coolest guy in the building, throwing up a career high 18 on a blistering 5-7/4-6/4-4 shooting to go with a lone rebound and a lone assist. He's getting a scholarship to score, and he did just that. Alabama couldn't guard him on catch and shoot or dribbling into threes; he was sensational tonight.
Jalen Reynolds was barely less a force off the bench tonight. Matt Stainbrook had two fouls in two minutes to open the game, but Jalen more than filled in with 12/7/0 plus a steal and a block on 5-8/0-0/2-3 shooting. All five of his made baskets were dunks of varying but high levels of ferocity. The man is just a beast; it's almost not fair that he comes off the bench. To top it all off, he played the point of a 1-2-1-1 zone Coach Mack showed tonight, which is something intriguing to keep in mind for the future.
Amazingly, neither of those guys was the most exciting bench player of the night. That honor goes to the effervescent JP Macura, who needed just 13 minutes to pour home 13/1/2 on 4-5/2-3/3-3 shooting, throwing in 2 steals just for good measure. His assists were a running lob to Jalen Reynolds for a monster dunk and a brilliant no-look pass through traffic with his left hand off of dribble penetration. The dude's basketball acumen is off the charts, and he's still learning the college game. He's going to tattoo some teams before he's through at Xavier.
We also started some guys, of whom Dee Davis was one of the more noteworthy performers. He had 10/3/8 on 4-9/1-3/1-2 shooting, stole the ball twice, and had three turnovers. It'd be nice to see fewer turnovers, but I'm gilding the lily at this point. He did the things a point guard does when he is surrounded by scorers.
The officials should be mentioned here. Matt Stainbrook sat almost the entire first half after getting those two quick fouls; in the first two minutes of the second half, he drew no fewer than five fouls on Alabama players. Trevon Bluiett never established a flow, due largely to the fact that foul trouble had him going back and forth to the bench like Tito Francona going from dugout to mound to make pitching changes. One of Bluiett's fouls was a flagrant one for barely grazing Retin Obasohan with an elbow; Dee Davis later caught a forearm to the throat and was charged with a foul for his trouble. Officials have a hard enough job as it is; they don't need to make it harder with the foolishness we saw tonight.
Odds and ends:
-Xavier had 13 turnovers, but three of those came very late while Alabama was still pressing against our backup backups.
-X had 22 assists on 30 made baskets, which is awesome.
-Alabama shot 23 of their 53 field goals from behind the arc; that's a bad sign for Xavier's defense.
-Xavier won 32-22 on the glass.
-The Muskies were 11-21 from behind the arc; let's just play all of our games at Cintas.
After various obligations kept him from watching live, our dad makes his season debut via text message (as is his norm).
"We are a little weak on defense. Pete G is covering the game!"
"Randolph is doing well so far."
"Excessive contact? He barely touched him!"
"Wow! Sweet Music looks like a different guy."
"OK, I'll give Dee a break since Pete just said he liked him. Gotta respect the coach's opinion."
"All the bigs have two fouls."
"Alabama is hacking like it's their job."
"Sweet Music is en fuego."
"Bonus from the 14:35 mark. Unreal."
"These refs need to remember that the crowd is not there to watch them."
"Macura is having a game!"
"Finally a charge call! What is their coach upset about?"
"Pete is telling X to inbound to the wide side against the press; I love it."
"Pete said, 'Let the big dog eat!' Impartial observer, Ol' Pete."
"We didn't make 100 because we were classy... and our subs can't hold onto the ball."
That's it from me. Brad will be back with the highlights in the morning, and we'll have the Conversation just like we do every Sunday. Godspeed, Xavier fans.