What happened: Arizona 68 - Xavier 60
In regulation games in his Xavier career, Matt Stainbrook twice played more than the 34 minutes he put out there tonight. Xavier put a saddle on the big man all night tonight, and by the end it appeared to be wearing on him. His effort never flagged, but even when Xavier needed three late in the game, they threw the ball to Matt Stainbrook first. He finished with 17/10/2 on 6-11/0-1/5-7 shooting. He also blocked two shots.
Dee Davis was in full attack mode all game, racking up 12/3/4 on 5-7/1-2/1-2 shooting. Dee didn't want it to end, and his play over the last 8 games showed it. He averaged 10.6/3.0/5.5 on 26-56/9-22/24-31 (.464/.409/.710) shooting against seven tournament teams and Creighton. During the toughest stretch of his career when his team needed him most, Dee showed up in a big way. Perhaps most remarkably, Dee logged 297 minutes of playing time in those eight games. Coach Mack put the game in his hands for almost every meaningful second of play, and he poured out every last ounce of effort he had.
Jalen Reynolds kicked in 12/3/0 with a block off the bench, shooting 5-9/0-0/2-2 to get there. Most of his offensive array was on display, as he hit a couple of nice hook shots and complimented them with a couple of thunderous dunks and some nifty footwork. As the curtain drops on a second season for Jalen, he once again seems poised for a massive breakout. This year saw his averages jump from 3.8/3.8/0.1 to 9.9/6.1/0.4. For all the times we thought he wasn't getting the most out of his physical tools, it's important to recognize how much more he's getting out of them than he did last year.
Xavier's streaky perimeter shooting was not good on the night, which probably shouldn't come as too much of surprise. Arizona has the third most efficient defense in the nation and defends the arc well. Xavier had not come up against a perimeter defense of this size and ability all year. With TJ McConnell (6'1", 195) on Dee being no bigger a physical disadvantage than Dee is used to playing against, Stanley Johnson (6'7", 245) and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson (6'7", 220 and one of the nation's best defenders) were able to use their length, quickness, and physical strength to disrupt the perimeter all night.
And that's basically the story. Once Arizona started running doubles at Matt Stainbrook - who Xavier absolutely rode like Seabiscuit - and he started to wear down a bit, the Wildcats' incredible size advantage on the outside swallowed up Xavier's perimeter scoring threats. Myles had some good moments but couldn't really get it going. JP shot with the fearlessness of a guy who gives himself the nickname "Buckets" in a church open gym and then yells it all night. Nobody who didn't perform well is getting a paragraph dissecting it today.
I went to bed bummed out for these guys but very proud of them. I woke up feeling the same way. My dad could have picked any local program to support when we moved to southwestern Ohio. Thank God he picked X.