Morehead State Scoring: Chad Posthumus 12, Luka Pajkovic 11, Brent Arrington 8, Kareem Storey 6, Angelo Warner 5, Bakari Turner 5, Drew Kelly 4, Billy Reader 2, Leatherwood 2, Chad Dotson 1
Key Performance: In his first game this season, Dee Davis ended up playing an important role in the Musketeers' win. He got the start, as Chris Mack went with the three-guard lineup, and provided exactly what this team expects out of him. He was outstanding running the show and distributing the ball, a leader on defense and scored just enough to keep the opposing defense honest. He finished with seven points, nine assists, five rebounds, three steals and only four turnovers. The increased offensive weapons on this year's roster clearly makes a difference for Davis in his role as a distributor. It wasn't Mack's original plan, but with foul trouble Davis ended up playing 35 minutes, and gave the Musketeers a very strong performance in his first game back.
Good Stat: This Xavier team has performed at a pretty high level so far this season, so it's easy to forget that there are still a lot of new parts getting used to playing together on the court. Friday night, the Musketeers looked like a cohesive unit offensively, as they had 20 assists on 28 field goals. There's been a lot of talk about this team's positive demeanor and strong chemistry, but this is physical evidence that these guys really are playing for one another and buying into the selfless team concept.
Ugly Stat: We already know outside shooting isn't this team's strength, and to their credit the Musketeers haven't forced the issue from the outside or needed to rely on it. They didn't need the three-ball against Morehead State, but hitting on just 2-of-9 attempts from the beyond the arc isn't getting it done, especially when one of them came from 6-10 big man James Farr. Myles Davis was 0-for-3 and Justin Martin was 0-for-2.
Balance and Depth: With a full roster for the first time this season, Xavier's depth was apparent and made a big impact on the game. The Musketeers also showed off their balance offensively, particularly in the first half where five guys had at least six points but nobody was in double figures, and they still led by 15, 38-23. This game lacked any type of flow with all the whistles and some sloppy play at times from both teams, so there were definitely offensive lulls on both sides, but with several options capable of creating offense this year, the Musketeers didn't slip into one of those several minute long scoring droughts that were really difficult to overcome last year. Their depth also shined as four key players finished with four fouls, and they battled foul trouble all night, but never was there a huge drop off when they had to sub guys out.
Reynolds Breaks Out: Mack said after the game that he's been frustrated for Jalen Reynolds, and then was careful to clarify that he said for - not at. Reynolds has been giving a good effort and doing what is asked of him, but in his limited minutes on the floor he has looked a little frantic. His struggles have been somewhat reminiscent of the anxiousness Travis Taylor seemed to experience his first year at Xavier - they show flashes of the talent and you can see they have what it takes, but they seem to shoot themselves in the foot with little mistakes that prevent them from ever getting comfortable. Reynolds hadn't really received enough minutes on the floor to even fairly assess his play through the first two games, but in the little opportunity he was given, he had dropped passes, turned the ball over and fouled too much. Friday night that wasn't the case. Reynolds played 19 minutes - second most out of the post players after Stainbrook's 26 minutes - and he delivered by far his best performance of his young career. As he stayed out on the court longer, his confidence was worn in the expression on his face and shown with his play. He was 3-of-6 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free-throw line to finish with 11 points and six rebounds plus two blocks. The big man is still very much a work in progress, but Friday night was the type of game his coaches and teammates had been expecting from him.
Quotable: "He was the player tonight that I want him to be for the next two years. He wasn't always that way a year ago and maybe our team had a little bit to do with it, but I want him to be a pass-first point guard, a guy that really creates shots for his teammates. He has to think singles and doubles and not necessarily home runs and grand slams. When he does that, makes the easy play, he's so talented that he sees things develop, he can have nights like tonight where he gets nine assists and four turnovers." - Chris Mack on Dee Davis
Takeaway: Xavier was the superior team in nearly every way, and the Musketeers dominated the way you'd expect them too even without having a great offensive night. There was no letdown from the Tennesee game, and the Musketeers battled through foul trouble and a lack of flow all game to cruise to an easy win.