Bowling Green Scoring: Richaun Holmes 26, Jehvon Clarke 13, Anthony Henderson 13, Craig Sealey 7, Cameron Black 5, Spencer Parker 4, Damarkeo Lyshe 3, JD Tisdale 2
Key Performance: James Farr had maybe the most impressive performance considering his role and the expectations we place on him, but Semaj Chrison came alive and took over the game in the closing moments. He showed the clutch gene hitting big free-throws at the end of regulation and throughout overtime, and he scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half and overtime. He finished 5-of-11 from the field, with three assists, a steal and no turnovers in 34 minutes with no cramps.
Good Stat: The Musketeers made 23-of-33 free-throw attempts (70%) in the win over Bowling Green, including some clutch ones down the stretch. They went 7-of-8 in overtime to put the game away, but they never would have even made it there if Semaj Christon wouldn't have buried two in a row with 5.5 seconds to tie the game in regulation. He finished 12-of-16 for the game, and made 5-of-6 in overtime.The Musketeers' performance from the charity stripe was the difference at the end of the game.
Bad Stat: Turnovers were once again a big problem for the Musketeers in the first half against Bowling Green. X coughed it up 11 times, which led to 15 points for the Falcons. Justin Martin was the biggest offender with four turnovers in the first half, and Stainbrook had two caused by Bowling Green double-teams. The Falcons got off seven more shots and attempted three more free-throws than the Musketeers, which led to a four-point lead at halftime. They did a better job taking care of it in the second half, finishing the game with 14 turnovers total.
Farr Stays Hot: James Farr was instant offense off the bench once again, and was really the Musketeers' best player in the first half against Bowling Green. He did a little bit of everything on offense, scoring on a three, a dunk, a short corner jumper and a reverse layup. He also had three rebounds and a blocked shot. Over a two minute stretch from 6:40 to 4:40 in the first, he went on a personal 7-0 run to put Xavier up 29-21. Of course the Musketeers didn't score again after Farr's reverse layup with 4:45 left in the half, and ended up trailing 33-29 at the half, but it wasn't any fault of the sophomore big man. He scored six more in the second half, and grabbed six more boards to finish with 15 points on 7-of-8 shooting with nine boards in 27 minutes of action. He continues to play hard whenever he's on the court, and he's shooting with a lot of confidence. Mack didn't have a choice against Bowling Green because of the foul trouble, but Farr is going to continue to earn more minutes as long as he plays like this.
Dee Davis Responds Well: One of the biggest storylines from the Bahamas was the struggles of Dee Davis. The junior point guard was expected to be a calming influence on this year's young team in his third year in the program. In the Musketeers' three-game skid at the Battle for Atlantis he struggled with decision-making, turning the ball over nine times compared to only six assists and taking several ill-advised shots. He lost his starting job against USC in the third game of the tournament, and was out of the starting lineup again on Saturday afternoon after finishing 1-of-15 from the field in the Bahamas. Once he came in on Saturday though, he wasn't playing with a lack of confidence or trying to be too perfect. He was aggressive in transition and gave the Musketeers' offense a little boost by pushing it for layups or to setup his teammates. He only took four shots, but went 4-of-5 from the free-throw line and finished with eight points, eight assists, six rebounds, four steals and only three turnovers. He did all the small things - made good decisions, created offense, defended pretty well and even rebounded. As a result, he played 37 minutes and was a big contributor in the win. It was just Bowling Green, he far from dominated the game as the Musketeers still had to squeak by in overtime, and he still has to continue to do this on a consistent basis, but on Saturday Davis filled his role and took a step in the right direction.
Takeaway: This wasn't supposed to be this close, but some credit goes to Bowling Green. Richaun Martin played an incredible game, and some of it was Xavier not keeping him off the glass or defending well enough, but he's a big athletic guy that took advantage of the way the game was being called and was aggressive the entire game. The turnovers are a major issue for a team that doesn't score it very well. Fouls kept this game from ever getting into any type of flow, and it seemed to keep the Musketeers from ever putting it all together and getting on a big run. Overall though they had some individuals do some really good things (Farr, both Davises, Christon late in the game and in OT), and were mentally tough enough to pull it out in overtime after almost giving the game away. They've got a long way to go and plenty to work on, but it's better than how they looked a week ago.