Xavier stated the game down 6-0, but gathered themselves and put the game away with a dominant first 10 minutes of the second half to win the game 81-63. But what did we learn? I'm glad you asked...
Naji Marshall is primed to go this season
After staggering out of the blocks last year, Naji Marshall has blossomed into the undisputed star of this Xavier team. Unlike a season ago, Marshall has dominated the first two games of this campaign, putting up 13/5/4 in a first half where he was at the center of everything that went right for Xavier. With Paul Scruggs ailing, Marshall took Xavier on his shoulders to set the tone after the team struggled to find their feet in the early going.
Bryce Moore is a worth heir to Xavier's grad-transfer crown
Early on, Jalen Pickett was finding it all too easy to torment Xavier with his array of offensive talents. Enter Moore who, when he wasn't hassling Siena's NBA hopeful, turned point guard Josh King into a shivering mess every time he brought the ball up. As Siena found it harder and harder to get the ball to Pickett, Xavier took complete control of the game as Moore simply created chaos with his hounding approach in the full court. In the second half, Moore also went on the attack a bit on offense, splashing a rhythm three, ending with 8/3/2 in 21 minutes.
The shot selection was slightly improved
With pretty much nowhere to go but up, Xavier's three point percentage improved tonight. Sure 6-19 isn't going to give anyone the vapors any time soon, but there were encouraging signs. Other than Naji Marshall, Xavier shot 5-12 and no player took more than three shots. Even more encouragingly, Moore and Don James found the net in catch and shoot situations and Dahmir Bishop knocked down his first collegiate three off a screen. Xavier doesn't need somebody putting up Trevon Bluiett numbers from three, they just need players like James, Moore, and Bishop to keep defenses honest, and they showed the capacity to do that tonight.