Xavier senior point guard Dee Davis played his worst half of the season in the first half Tuesday night in an uninspiring 23-point win over IUPUI. In addition to turning the ball over three times, he seemed to lack confidence or direction while running the Musketeers’ offense for the first 20 minutes of that game.
Saturday night he looked like a completely different player as he led Xavier to a 74-58 win at Missouri. Davis led all scorers with 17 points to go with his game-high four assists and was spectacular in nearly every facet of the game.
Sophomore guards Brandon Randolph and Myles Davis each made three 3-pointers and added 11 points for the Musketeers.
Dee Davis didn’t waste any time in taking his game to a level he had yet to show this year. He scored four of the Musketeers’ first six points during a sluggish offensive start for both teams, and helped them race out to an early 13-point first half lead.
On offense, Davis attacked in transition and found points for himself and his teammates. He finished with up-and-under double-clutch layups, and one-handed scoop shots. He also carved the Tigers up in the half-court like a surgeon, slicing his way into the lane only to draw two or three defenders before firing a wraparound pass out to an open shooter that is behind him on the court.
It was this exact scenario that got Randolph going from the outside. He hit his first three off a beautiful kick-out assist from underneath the hoop by Davis. He buried another three on the very next possession on an assist from Remy Abell, and hit a hanging floater in the middle of the lane with a defender draped on him the following trip. That final bucket gave Xavier an 18-5 lead with 9:40 left in the half.
The final several minutes were a struggle for the Musketeers at both ends. They got lax with their lead and Missouri went on a 16-8 run to closeout the half, thanks in large part to the spark provided by freshman forward Jakeenan Gant, to make it 32-27 heading into the locker rooms. Gant was making his collegiate debut after sitting out the first nine games due to an investigation surrounding his eligibility. He provided a nice lift off the bench and finished with 13 points.
A pair of back-to-back threes by Randolph and James Farr just under the three-minute mark in the first half kept Xavier from blowing its lead entirely, despite not getting a first half field goal from Trevon Bluiett or Matt Stainbrook.
Myles Davis helped X pull away in the second half.
His three off a set play drawn up out of a 30-second timeout with 11:25 left sparked an 11-2 Xavier run that took their lead from three to 12, 55-43, with 7:24 left in the game.
Myles Davis’ second three with 5:33 to play extended the Musketeers lead to 63-47 and forced Missouri coach Kim Anderson to call a timeout.
Despite some issues with turnovers down the stretch – the Musketeers finished with 17 total – they continued to extend their lead. They held a 20-point edge with 1:50 to play, which marked their largest lead of the night.
Missouri finished just 1-of-16 (6.3%) from 3-point range for the game – a welcome sight for a Xavier team that has allowed opponents to shoot at a high clip from the perimeter all season.
Xavier (8-2) will take on Auburn next Saturday.