The defense is back! After looking thoroughly unimpressive defensively - especially on the road - in Big East play, the Musketeers zipped Georgetown up for 40 solid minutes. A Georgetown team that came into the game shooting .469/.354/.713 to .395/.273/.542 on the game. Xavier was especially inspired for the last 11:17 of the first half. Up 11-8 at the time, they held Georgetown to 8 points on 1-8/0-4/6-10 with 7 turnovers. Georgetown got zero offensive rebounds in that time. Georgetown's last 20 possessions of the first half returned them .400 points per possession. If that's not a zipping up, such a thing doesn't exist.
Xavier's offense wasn't brilliant on the night, but when it was it was thanks to Myles Davis. He went for a cool 19/3/3 on 6-9/3-5/4-4 shooting and scored the big baskets when Georgetown was fighting back. He is developing before our eyes into the well-rounded scorer we've been waiting on since he committed. The Hoyas simply didn't have an answer for him tonight; he was effervescent.
Matt Stainbrook was the only other Muskie to make more than half his shot attempts, scoring 12/4/2 on 4-6/0-0/4-5 shooting. He was also tasked with defending land manatee Joshua Smith, whom he helped hold to 10 on 3-4/0-0/4-9 shooting. It might have been a different night if Smith had been making his free throws, but he wasn't. I'm going to credit Stainbrook for being more mass than Smith is used to dealing with and thus wearing him down before he could get to the line.
Remy Abell had an interesting stat line. He went for 11/8/0 with a steal on 3-7/0-1/5-6 shooting, marking the second time in two games a guard has led Xavier with 8 boards. Aside from illustrating the team's newfound commitment to gang rebounding, he also helped harry Georgetown star guard D'Vauntes Smith-Rivera to 13/0/2 on 5-14/2-7/1-2 shooting. With Georgetown's most important scorers finding it tough going, the Hoyas lacked the quality depth to pick apart Xavier's secondary defenders.
Speaking of gang rebounding, Xavier beat Georgetown in both phases of the rebounding game tonight. The Muskies grabbed 30 of 34 misses on their defensive end and 6 of 30 misses on their offensive end. That offensive rebounding number isn't brilliant, but it's a lot better than the Hoyas mustered on their end.
Are you one of the people who has been hoping Dee Davis would shoot more? If so, thanks for reading, Mrs. Davis, we love your son here. Dee went for 7/2/3 on 1-6/0-0/5-6 shooting tonight. He only had one turnover, but some of the shots he takes are almost as bad as just chucking the ball out of bounds in terms of getting anything out of the possession. The dude is tough as nails though; there's no debating that.
Odds and ends:
-Trevon Bluiett had 11/4/0 on 3-8/2-4/3-5 shooting. Those two threes were pretty big, especially from a freshman in a hostile environment.
-JP had 3 of Xavier's 10 turnovers.
-X shot 5-12 from deep, a welcome departure from their recent struggles from deep.
-Jalen Reynolds fouled out, because of course he did.
-"It already looks like a street fight. Refs are disinterested observers."
-"We will not last if the officials don't call over the back."
-"Sweet Music gets a touch foul. My head may explode!"
-"That huge tub of goo keeps giving Stain Train a forearm shiver and no call."
-"Reynolds is in. This could get interesting."
-"#3 is in!"
-"Transition three; Sweet Music is playin' large tonight."
-"These refs are awful. Plus Bill Raftery is calling the game; how can a guy coach so long and still not know the rules?"
-"Just a fight under the boards."
-"Sweet Music with the steal and dime to Remy."
-"Block/charge. Wrong again. Should just call your own."
-"Dee needs to quit shooting."
-"Dee needs to quit shooting."
-"Another big 3 from Blue."
-"Dee has to calm down a little and distribute the ball. Raftery needs to calm down too."
-"Better FT this half."
-After the ol' over the shoulder inbounds play: "Sweet! They must not watch film..."
-"Dee, great passer!"
-"What a game! Remy helps even when he doesn't shoot well."
-"Mack called time out at the right time. Never let them get too rattled."
-"We need Dee to be good for us to go anywhere."
-"I had a good feeling about this one. Probably should have mentioned that earlier."
That's it from me. I'll drop back by in a minute to add Dad's take, and then Brad (or maybe Bry) will have the narrative recap in the morning. Bask in it, Xavier fans; this was a big win.