Game Recap: Xavier 68, Wake Forest 53

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The win over the Demon Deacons improved Xavier to 10-3 entering Big East play.

The Xavier Musketeers used a 20-3 run to close the first half, winning Chris Mack his 100th career game in Saturday's win over Wake Forest. Xavier dominated inside, rebounding 42.9 percent of their own misses and getting double-digit scoring efforts from front court players Matt Stainbrook and James Farr. The following are player grades from the contest:

Dee Davis: Chris Mack had strong words for his Junior Point Guard following the game, saying Davis has accepted his role as a floor general. Five of Davis' seven assists came during the first eight minutes of the game. While his role is ultimately as a distributer, Davis has the ability to make open three pointers, but was only 1-of-4 in the game against Wake Forest. GRADE: B

Semaj Christon: Christon broke out of his mini-funk, scoring all 12 of his points in the first half. Semaj was held under ten points in each of Xavier's last two games, and continued his streak of stellar defense against Wake Forest. Christon's primary defensive assignment was Demon Deacon leading scorer Codi Miller-McIntyre, who was held to 11 points on 12 shots. The NBA prospect also added 2 blocks and 2 steals, and did not commit a turnover. GRADE: A-

Justin Martin: Xavier fans are now familiar with Martin's wild inconsistency. The Junior has not been able to build on a strong shooting performance against Cincinnati, going 2-of-9 from the field against Wake Forest. Martin did contribute 3 rebounds, but needs to become more of an offensive weapon for Xavier to succeed in conference play. GRADE: C-

Isaiah Philmore: Like Martin, Philmore struggled offensively, converting one of nine field goal attempts. Philmore contributed 9 rebounds, 5 of which were on the offensive end. Xavier's offensive rebounding was a big reason Xavier emerged victorious, and Philmore deserves credit on that front. GRADE: C

Matt Stainbrook: A strong argument can be made that Stainbrook, not Semaj Christon, is Xavier's best all-around player. The Western Michigan transfer had his best game in a Xavier uniform against Wake Forest, scoring 21 points to go along with 10 rebounds. There are few players in the country that can defend the wide-bodied center one-on-one in the post, and Stainbrook's strong passing ability creates open shots for teammates when he is double-teamed. Per Ken Pomeroy, Stainbrook's usage was a team high 30 percent against Wake Forest, and the team averaged 1.22 points per possession in possessions ending with Stainbrook. GRADE: A

James Farr: The sophomore from Evanston, Illinois continues to produce for Xavier on the offensive end. Farr scored 13 points in only 15 minutes, adding seven rebounds. For a team that is vulnerable to offensive struggles, Farr's ability to stretch defenses and provide "energy" minutes has been a key development for the Musketeers. GRADE: A-

Myles Davis: Xavier's best perimeter shooter was held without a 3-pointer for the first time since November 15th. Davis was fortunate to have an off night in a game where the Musketeers didn't need his offensive spark, but his shooting threat opens the floor for Semaj Christon and Matt Stainbrook. GRADE: C

Brandon Randolph: The freshman guard played a season low 10 minutes, and had a quite four points. With Dee Davis' strong start to this game, Randolph was not needed off the bench, but will remain a key reserve as conference season begins. GRADE: B

Jalen Reynolds: Simply put, Reynolds needs to play defense without fouling. Jalen has the ability to be a star, but his talent is raw. His role this year is as an energy player; blocking shots, converting dunks, and rebounding on both ends of the floor. However, energy is lost when foul whistles continually stop play. Reynolds had three fouls in six inutes Saturday, and has a current rate of nine fouls per 40 minutes. GRADE: D-

Chris Mack: Xavier's head coach won his 100th career game. The milestone came in a game commemorating one of Mack's mentor, Skip Prosser. The Musketeers came out energized, and did a phenomenal job on the glass, out-rebounding Wake Forest 50-34. This performance would make Prosser proud. GRADE: A

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