Abilene Christian Scoring: Harrison Hawkins 15, Michael Grant 9, Austin Cooke 8, Julian Edmonson 7, LaDarrien Williams 6, Parker Wentz 6, Alek Milosavljevic 6, Jacob Lancaster 6, James Pegues 1
Key Performance: Myles Davis had an efficient 15 points and helped spread the already weak Abilene Christian defense out. All of his points came off of 3-pointers as he finished 5-of-7 from beyond the arc. The Musketeers had really good balance in their 93-point performance, but Davis showed how big of a difference maker he can be with his 3-point stroke.
Good Stat: Chris Mack would love to bottle his team's perimeter shooting against Abilene Christian and take it on the plane to the Bahamas for Thursday night's match-up with Iowa. The Musketeers knocked down 6-of-13 (46.2%) attempts from beyond the arc against the Wildcats. That type of shooting performance will keep them in the game against just about any team in the country.
Bad Stat: Abilene Christian finished the game with the highest shooting percentage an opponent has posted against Xavier all year at 42.3 percent. The Musketeers knew the Wildcats were going to jack a lot of threes to try and stay in the game, but it was still tough to stop. They hit 5-of-11 in the first half.
Semaj Starts and Finishes Strong:
Christon didn't play poorly in the first half, in fact he was pretty good with nine points, four assists, and only one turnover. Through the first 10 minutes he was very good, and made sure the Musketeers stayed in front. However, he finished the half just 3-of-10 shooting. The Wildcats' defense struggled to keep him in front, he had a few nice moves, but he just couldn't finish quite the way we've seen him do in recent games. He got it going in the second half by making 4-of-5 shot attempts to finish with game-high 17 points. It was a positive sign for the Musketeers' leading scorer, as he's been on a roll this season when it comes to scoring efficiently and finishing shots around the basket. Maybe more importantly for Xavier, he seems to be slowly breaking out of free-throw shooting slump. He was 6-for-7 at the line against Miami, and was 3-for-5 against Abilene Christian.
Playing Through Stainbrook
It's a phrase that I've repeated a lot through the first four games of the season, but this game was the best example of how the Musketeers are able to play through center Matt Stainbrook. The big man was unselfish throughout the game, finishing with only nine points against a smaller team he could overpower on the block. When the Wildcats tried to collapse on him though, he was finding open teammates all over the place. He finished with five assists, but had several other good passes, some of which led to a basket moments later in the possession. Coach Mack said after the game that Stainbrook may very well be the best passer on the team. It's not hard to believe with the vision and skill he showed against Abilene Christian. Xavier showed great ball movement as a team throughout the game, but Stainbrook's passing ability really stood out.
Quotable: "One thing I've enjoyed about this team is that out of any guys I've played with, we really see this trip as a business trip. We're going to enjoy being in the Bahamas, but right now I feel like every guy in the locker room's mind is on playing Iowa. We're not looking up, 'Hey, we can enjoy the weather, go to the beach'… it's, 'We're playing Iowa, and we can't wait to get there and play them.'" - Matt Stainbrook on the Battle for Atlantis
Takeaway: While I expected this game to be a worthless blowout, I think the Musketeers actually got some work in on the defensive end against a team with a skill-set and a ball-screen continuity offense that they haven't faced up until tonight. They played hard until the final buzzer and kept their foot on the gas even after they got up big in the second half. Shooting the ball well from the outside is a nice bonus before leaving for the Bahamas.