What happened: Xavier 66 - Providence 69 (OT)
For the third game in a row, Xavier featured a new starting lineup. Also for the third game in a row, Xavier's new starting lineup took some time to find their way, giving Xavier a hill to climb as a result. Much like Saturday's win over Marquette, Xavier rode a big second half, clutch shooting and momentous stops. Unlike the Marquette game, Xavier was not able to overcome their dreadful first half and fell short in their quest to win their first Big East road game yet again.
Central to Xavier's turnaround was Matt Stainbrook who posted a solid line of 17/10/4, which was marred by his 8-19/0-0/1-1 shooting.In the first half, Stainbrook shot just 3-10 as Xavier tried to attack Carson Derosiers, and the 7 footer was more than adequate to the task. However, Stainbrook pieced it together after the break, going for 9 points on 4-6 shooting and, along with Jalen Reynolds, forming the frontcourt punch that would bring Xavier back from 14 points down. Matt's profligacy in the first half was part of what hampered Xavier's sputtering offense, but on the opposite side of the coin, his efficiency in the second was the key that helped the Musketeers reel Providence in.
Speaking of people who showed up in the second half, Myles Davis made a couple of big shots down the stretch, finishing with 16/1/0 on 6-11/2-5/2-3 and only turning the ball over once in 32 minutes, some of which was spent deputizing for Dee Davis at point guard. 12 of Myles' points came after halftime, and he was the lone Musketeer to score a three pointer all night. On an evening when Xavier shot 2-16 from three, they needed Myles to make it happen and, for the first 44 minutes he did. His final miss with 16 seconds left ultimately left Xavier with just too much to do, but the huge plays he made down the stretch, including the game tying steal and lay-in, added to his legend of warming to the big moments.
The final part of Xavier's three pronged attack was Jalen Reynolds, who played grown man ball in the second half. After a 2 point, 4 minute cameo in the first half, Jalen went off for 12/10/2 in the second half. He ended up 5-8 from the field but just 4-7 from the line. His steal and slam at the minute mark set the stage for Myles to tie the game, but his impact came all throughout the 14 minutes he played in the second half as he became the most influential Xavier player on the floor during that time. His flashes of potential have come more and more frequently this season, and this was another performance that, despite the loss, Xavier fans have to be a little excited about.
Dee Davis was far from his best tonight, tallying 4/2/4 and turning the ball over three times. His continued penchant for driving into the paint could have paid dividends for Xavier, but too often the passing lanes failed to materialize for Dee. He also struggled in the man to man defense with Providence's Kris Dunn, prompting Xavier to go zone and force Providence into more jumpers. Dee has had some very good nights in the Xavier uniform, but tonight was not one of them.
JP Macura once again played a big role for Xavier on the road. After playing a career high 23 minutes against Villanova last week, Macura set himself a new benchmark tonight by playing 28 minutes. In the end his statline of 5/0/2 was not breathtaking, but his energy at the top of Xavier's 1-2-2 zone in the second half was key to locking up Providence's offense. In the end, JP would end up with 3 steals, a testament to his anticipation and quickness in getting into passing lanes, but his 0-3 from behind the arc curbed his overall effectiveness.
For the first time this season, Trevon Bluiett found himself coming off the bench, seeing as Myles Davis got the start. Bluiett found himself in the periphery for the most part, and seemed hesitant to drive the ball against Derosiers and 7'2" Pascal Chukwu. All of Trevon's 5 points would come from the line as his line of 5/1/1 came on a frustrating 0-3/0-3/5-6 for the freshman. He also received a nasty shot to the head when battling Tyler Harris for a loose ball and had to leave to the locker room for treatment. He did return to the bench, but not the game, and all indications are that he will be fine to continue on.
Odds and Ends:
- James Farr grabbed 9 boards in 18 minutes but his 5 points came on 2-5/0-0/1-4 shooting. He continues to clean up the glass on both ends for Xavier, a role that was badly needed as Xavier was out rebounded by 8 in the first half
- Remy Abell came back into the starting lineup today, but went for 0/1/1 and was 0-4 from the floor. He played only 6 minutes in the second half.
- Larry Austin and Sean O'Mara got 3 and 2 minutes respectively and accrued no stats.
- Xavier shot 16-25 from the line and spent the last 16 minutes of the second half shooting at least bonus. These two teams also combined to shoot 5-37 from beyond the arc, with Xavier 2-16 themselves.
- Providence had three players (Henton, Dunn, and Harris) combine for 41 of their 59 shots and 56 of their 69 points.