What happened: Xavier 78 - Missouri 66
The story of today's game was the performance of James Farr. With Jalen Reynolds going for 0/2/1 and struggling with foul trouble all night, Farr answered the bell with a monstrous 15/14/2 with 0 turnovers on 6-12/0-0/3-4 shooting, throwing in a block and a steal for good measure. As beastly as that line is, it only tells part of the story of how big Farr was for Xavier. He stabilized the team and just about saved the game.
He wasn't alone though. After just 5 first-half points, Trevon exploded in the second half on his way to 18/7/0 on 6-12/3-5/3-4 shooting. Much like Myles against Miami, Trevon came out of the locker room for the second half in attack mode. He had seven of Xavier's first nine, and the other two were scored when Farr tipped in a driving miss by Trevon. This was a much better performance for Xavier's sophomore forward.
Speaking of sophomore forwards, JP Macura is making a loud argument for more playing time. All he did was shoot 4-5/1-2/7-7 on his way to 16/3/2 on the night. The key to getting on the floor for JP is defense, and the key to his defense may well be the 1-3-1 zone. Xavier put it on in the second half to great effect; more of that means more #MVJP, which we all want to see.
Myles Davis continued his cold shooting, putting up a 3-7/0-4/4-4 shooting line on his way to 10/3/4 with a turnover and two steals. This is his second straight game not shooting really well but leading the team in assists. Make of that what you will.
The ostensible point guard is Edmond Sumner, but darned if he doesn't keep scoring the ball himself. He had 12/5/2; his 2-7 shooting from the floor wasn't anything to write home about, but he once again excelled in putting pressure on the defense on his way to 7-10 from the line.
For the second consecutive game, the Xavier offense had a seven-plus minute scoring drought that allowed an inferior team to hang with them. The positive to this is that Xavier scored 78 points in basically 32 minutes of basketball in which they could be bothered to score. The negative is... well, it's fairly obvious. When the ball stops moving and four guys stand and watch someone dribble, Xavier is far less dangerous that when the ball and the bodies are moving around.
Odds and ends:
- Xavier got 35 of their 78 points off the bench tonight. That's nice if you can get it.
- LAJ got 15 minutes, didn't turn the ball over, and had three steals to go with his 4/0/0. I still want to see more of him.
- Jalen was bedeviled by the whistles all night, but he kept his cool and avoided the tech. #progress
- The Muskies had 10 assists on 13 second-half baskets, which was a huge improvement on their 3 assists on 11 buckets in the first half. Gotta move the ball.
- If the refs are going to call everything, you have to execute from the line. Xavier did that in shooting 24-29 (82.8%) from the stripe.
That's it from me. Somebody will be back with the narrative recap, and I'll shoot you the highlights as soon as they're out. Xavier is back in action at 9pm on Friday at Michigan.