Tennessee Scoring: Jordan McRae 23, Josh Richardson 13, Antonio Barton 10, Jeronne Maymon 7, Jarnell Stokes 4, A.J. Davis 2, Quinton Chievous 2, Armani Moore 2
Key Performance: In "The Matchups" it said that Stainbrook could very well be the deciding factor in the game, due to the importance of him competing with Tennessee's strong, athletic post players. Not only did he compete with them, he dominated them. Stainbrook started the game by setting the tone on defense with a physical wall-up and blocked shot against Stokes. Throughout the course of the contest, he established himself as the best post player on the court. He sealed low and powered through Tennessee defenders when Xavier needed important buckets, and he frustrated the Vols' powerful forwards by bodying them up on defense. In a game where the biggest question was whether or not Xavier could match Tennessee's toughness on defense and on the glass, Stainbrook - along with the rest of XU's big men - took the physical play to the Volunteers.
Good Stat: Xavier out-rebounded Tennessee 40-33 for the game. The Musketeers held a 26-22 advantage at halftime, but that was with Jarnell Stokes missing most of the half due to foul trouble. The Volunteers still couldn't get it going on the glass against X in the second half, as the Musketeers kept a body on their man at all times.
Ugly Stat: This might be a recurring theme throughout the year. The Musketeers struggled shooting the ball from the free-throw line last year, and through two games it doesn't look like they've improved a whole lot. After making just 22-of-40 against Gardner-Webb in the season-opener, X made 13-of-24 in the win over the Vols. Semaj Christon was the biggest offender this time, finishing 4-of-10 from the charity stripe. Myles Davis did finish off the game strong by making 5-of-6 to seal the win.
Fast Start: Xavier came out ready to play from the tip. The Musketeers attacked the basket aggressively on their first several offensive possessions to capture an 8-3 lead by the first media timeout. In addition to making 4-of-8 shots from the field to start the game, they also held Tennessee to just 1-of-7 shooting on the defensive end and gained a 7-3 advantage on the glass. The Musketeers' early success continued past the second media timeout all the way to the 10 minute mark where they took their first double-digit lead, 14-4, on an and-one by Semaj Christon.
Farr and Stenger Play Role: Coming into the season, it seemed that Erik Stenger and James Farr would be battling it out for the fourth spot in the post rotation. With senior Isaiah Philmore already establishing himself last year, Matt Stainbrook clearly being the best big man on the team, and Jalen Reynolds being the most highly touted prospect of the bunch; it was logical that those two would be fighting for the last available minutes in Chris Mack's typical four-man rotation. Two games into the season, the two have found themselves playing a fairly significant role. After combining for 19 points and 13 rebounds against Gardner-Webb, they combined for 10 and 10 against a much more physically imposing Tennessee frontcourt. Stenger played a huge role, along with Stainbrook and Philmore, in setting the Musketeers' physical tone in the opening minutes. He ended up with six points, seven boards, one block and one steal in 19 minutes of action. Farr only played seven minutes total, but he brought instant energy off the bench. He came in for four minutes in the first half and grabbed two rebounds and blocked a shot. He then played a fantastic three minutes midway through the second half where he extended Xavier's lead from 42-39 to 46-39 with back-to-back buckets, and continued to change more shots with his defensive effort.
Injury Report: The injury situation played out about as expected. Myles Davis was the only one that was able to go, but he looked to be at full strength. Justin Martin and Dee Davis both watched from the bench. Dee warmed up with the team before the game, while Martin was in street clothes.
Quotable: "We had guys that showed they can step up whenever they are needed. It definitely shows to our 'next man up' mentality." - Matt Stainbrook
Takeaway: This is a really strong win for this team. To beat a team of Tennessee's quality while playing shorthanded early in the year with a young team that is still learning how to play together is simply impressive; Chris Mack, his staff, and the their team deserve a lot of credit. With this win the Muskies proved that they can match a big team's physicality and grind it out on the glass and with their defense. X has also captured its first NCAA Tournament resume-building win in just the second week of the season.