The freshman sharpshooter scored a game-high 15 points and had an impressive all-around performance, while helping lead Xavier to an 84-54 win over Division II Quincy in the Musketeers' only exhibition of the preseason.
"He's a game-changer," head coach Chris Mack said. "He can really shoot, his teammates look for him, but he's more than a shooter. He knows how to make the right pass. There's a lot of adjustments going on for him, but he's a prolific shooter and he really understands the game."
The Musketeers got off to a slow start as Quincy raced out to a 9-0 advantage, and led 12-4 at the first media timeout. Xavier had three turnovers in those first four minutes, and struggled with losing Quincy's shooters on defense.
Davis checked into the game with 17:41 to play in the first half. By 17:18 he had attempted his first 3-pointer, and by 14:44 he had made his first three. That shot drew the Musketeers within single-digits, 17-10. He then grabbed a defensive rebound at the other end, and followed up with an and-one finish to cut the deficit to four. Davis played his role exactly as advertised; he came in confident, aggressive and made an instant impact on offense. After undergoing knee surgery just before the beginning of practice, he made it clear with his play that he's recovering just fine.
"I felt great," Davis said. "I couldn't feel how bad my knee was. Once you get in the game and start running, none of that matters. It was amazing being out there and getting a good feel for the game right when I got in."
At that point, Xavier was on track. Davis' five straight points sparked an 18-0 run for the Musketeers that gave them a 25-17 lead at the 9:00 mark. Quincy's Jordan Wilson nailed a 3-pointer with 8:55 to play in the half to break a scoreless streak that lasted 6:28 for the Hawks.
Xavier's comeback was a result of improved defense, and an increased pace on offense. They pushed the tempo all night, creating transition points and knocking the Hawks' defense back on its heels.
"I thought offensively we played much quicker than we did a year ago," Mack said. "We got the ball up the floor and we had more fast break points than I remember having a year ago."
Davis answered Wilson with his third 3-pointer of the night to push XU's lead to 28-20. He finished the half with a team-high 12 points to go along with three rebounds, one assist and one block.
Back-to-back buckets by junior center Matt Stainbrook, who was also making his exhibition debut after sitting out last year per the NCAA transfer rule, and a steal and breakaway dunk by Landen Amos gave the Musketeers their biggest lead of the half at 14, 40-26. However, they failed to score after that and Quincy cut it to 40-30 at halftime.
Quincy held on for the first four minutes out of the locker rooms, keeping the deficit between 10-13, but the Musketeers continued to pile on the rest of the half. Their defense held the Hawks to just 23 percent from the field in the second half, as they outscored them 44-24.
Freshman guard Brandon Randolph, who started in place of Dee Davis, scored eight of his 11 points in the second half, and looked poised and confident running the show at point guard when Semaj Christon moved off the ball. He finished 4-of-9 from the field with four rebounds, two assists, one block and one turnover in 30 minutes of action.
Stainbrook was second on the team with 14 points on an efficient 7-of-8 shooting performance, and led the team with nine rebounds. He showed off his touch around the basket with some crafty finishes, and also had a nice assist to Randolph in the second half.
Another much-anticipated debut was freshman big man Jalen Reynolds, but after suffering an elbow injury in practice on Friday, he was limited to just seven minutes on the court. He had an impressive block in the first half, and finished both his shot attempts in the second half, but was 0-for-5 from the free-throw line. He ended up with four points, two rebounds and two blocks.
"We didn't think he was going to play today," Mack said. "He hurts his elbow yesterday in practice and couldn't even get through shootaround. It's nothing major, we already got it x-rayed. He got hit and its really swollen. He's a much better free-throw shooter than 0-for-5; he's a good free-throw shooter. He was a little tentative with his elbow."
Xavier will tip off its 2013-14 regular season Friday night at the Cintas Center when they host Garder-Webb at 7 pm.