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Xavier v. Villanova: Boxscore Breakdown

There's been enough written about the game, so here are some positive numbers that came out of it.

His decision making maybe, but no one will ever question Dee's guts.
His decision making maybe, but no one will ever question Dee's guts.
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

We all saw what happened, so I'm going to focus mainly on some positives that can be taken out of it. There is one gigantic negative that should be pointed out though: Xavier's defense is in a free-fall. It had climbed up to mediocre with an outside shot a respectability, but recent results have seen it once again spiral downward. The fact that Nova got off 34 threes last night probably tells you all you need to know about where the defense is right now.

Villanova is a very good offensive team. They're also a very good defensive team, and Xavier still put up 1.12 points per possession against them. Leading the way was Matt Stainbrook, who took apart a good defender in Daniel Ochefu. Stainbrook ended the night with 17/5/1 on 7-8/0-0/3-4 shooting. He was posting deep and finishing well, and only Xavier's trouble in getting him the ball kept him from scoring even more. Three turnovers mar his stat line but shouldn't detract too much from the general quality of his work.

Good Jalen Reynolds showed up as well, going for a mere 2 fouls in 21 minutes. He augmented that feat with 14/5/0 with no turnovers and 3 blocks, shooting 7-10/0-0/0-0 and putting down a couple of really violent dunks. There's not much else to say about Jalen's game; you and I know the tools are there, he just has to put them to use on a regular basis.

Myles Davis was once again good on offense, scoring 12 on 3-7/2-5/4-4 shooting and avoiding any turnovers. Everything you can look at on a stat line makes it clear that Myles is a very good basketball player, but his defense is still very much a work in progress. I promised to be mostly positive, so I'll stop there.

Surprise starter JP Macura was a not-at-all surprise gunner, and he rediscovered his stroke against tough competition. Coming into the night shooting 25% in conference play, he threw up 14/4/1 on 5-10/4-8/0-0 shooting against one of the best defenses in the league and had two more threes rattle out on him. He moved well without the ball, displayed his quick release, and generally looked beyond fearless out there. His competitive brashness sometimes looks a lot like outright hubris, but he didn't back down from the Villanova players that went chest-to-chest with him on a couple of after the whistle occasions. He's got the kind of guts I like to see in a Xavier uniform.

Speaking of guts, universal fan favorite Dee Davis played a tough game today. In 36 minutes of running the team against traps and pressure in the full and half court, he was good for 9/2/9 with a steal and only one turnover. If I could offer one critique of his game, it might be stop shooting the ball so gosh dang much. When he wasn't deciding to lift, he was flawless.

Odds and ends:
-James Farr led the team in rebounding despite playing only 12 minutes.

-Villanova had assists on 24 of their 28 made baskets (85.7%).

-Trevon Bluiett fouled out with 7 points in 35 minutes.

-Larry Austin played 20 minutes and recorded an ORtg of 41.

-Remy Abell played only 9 minutes.

That's pretty much it. Xavier played a tough team built to expose the Muskies' flaws on the road. Despite the obvious, there are some good things to take out of it. Xavier moved the ball well, scored generously despite a poor night from behind the arc, and outperformed Nova on the glass at both ends. I hope Coach Mack saw whatever he was looking for, and I hope our top players are ready to bring their top efforts Saturday at noon to get this thing turned around.