Game Recap: Xavier 80, Georgetown 67

Myles Davis' 3-pointer Gave Xavier the Lead For Good - Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

The Musketeers ended the game on a 44-14 run.

In an effort to get his team to narrow focus during games, Xavier Coach Chris Mack breaks each game into ten four minute wars, defined as the score between media timeouts. The strategy is particularly useful in lopsided games, with the hope of getting teams not let their effort tie into a lead or deficit. Down 17 to Georgetown early in the second half on Wednesday night, the Musketeers won the last four four minute wars, eventually getting the Hoyas to wave the white flag. Xavier outscored Georgetown 10-0 after the final media timeout en route to a 80-67 victory at the Cintas Center.

Four Minute Wars – Second Half

Time

Xavier Points

Georgetown Points

20:00-15:30

7

9

15:30-11:51

12

4

11:51-7:42

11

8

7:42-3:25

11

4

3:25-0:00

10

0

Entering the contest as a six-point favorite, Xavier was caught off guard by the perimeter shooting of Georgetown to begin the game. The Hoyas, who entered the game a shade under 31 percent as a team, made 7 of their 11 triples in the first 20 minutes. The hot shooting continued in the second half, hitting their first three 3-point attempts of in consecutive possessions. The Musketeer defense locked down after that, using better communication and discipline in limiting the Hoyas to only four attempts in the last 16:47, all misses.

A portion of Georgetown’s 3-point efficiency was due to Dee Davis only playing 8 minutes in the first half due to foul trouble. Davis is widely considered Xavier’s best 3-point defender, and D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera made his first two 3-point attempts following Davis’ departure to give his team a 26-21 lead. Davis returned in the second half and played a perfect 20 minutes, scoring 14 points while not missing a shot from the field and chipping in five assists.

In addition to getting torched from behind the arc in the first half, Xavier also failed to take advantage of Georgetown’s propensity to foul. Georgetown entered the game with a FTA/FGA defense of 54.2 percent, 330th in the nation according to Ken Pomeroy’s efficiency rankings. Despite getting nine field goal attempts from front court players Matt Stainbrook and Isaiah Philmore in the first half, the Musketeers only attempted two free throws.

In the second half, Xavier got a taste of the Georgetown team that had been foul plagued all season. The Hoyas committed 16 second-half fouls, leading to 20 Xavier free throw attempts, as Nate Lubick spent time on the bench in foul trouble, and Moses Ayegba fouled out of the contest. The home team made their last nine free throw attempts in helping close out the contest. Converting on 18-22 (81.8 percent) for the game, Xavier’s free throw percentage in the Big East is now a stout 76.2 percent.

Playing without Joshua Smith and Jabril Trawick, Georgetown may have fell victim to fatigue late in Wednesday’s game. Markel Starks and former Xavier commit Smith-Rivera each played 40 minutes as Georgetown did not score in transition during the second half, while also allowing 9 second chance points to the Musketeers after the break. The fatigue may have impacted offensive production, as a Smith-Rivera jump shot at the 6:14 mark were Georgetown’s last points of the game.

Xavier survived a long-term scare, as Isaiah Philmore twisted his right knee after getting fouled with 5:11 left in the game. Initially unable to put pressure on his right leg, Philmore was able to re-enter the game in the closing moments. The senior contributed 14 points in a rough shooting night for Matt Stainbrook, who finished 2-10 from the field. Stainbrook was still effective in the game, manning the middle of Georgetown’s zone, and dishing out a career-high six assists.

The win moves Xavier to 4-1 in the Big East, where they sit in 3rd place behind Creighton and Villanova. The Musketeers return to the court Monday at DePaul, who has won consecutive conference games for the first time since 2008. In that time, Xavier has had 12 winning streaks as a member of the Atlantic 10 and Big East.

Player Grades

Player

Grade

Comments

Dee Davis

A

The only thing that keeps Davis from an A+ is the first half foul trouble, as his absence hurt Xavier’s 3-point defense. The 14 second half points and 5 assists were key in the comeback effort. The Musketeers scored 1.86 points per possession in possessions ending with a Davis shot, assist, or turnover.

Semaj Christon

A-

Christon committed his fourth foul with 8:57 and as a result, was on the bench during crucial minutes. Still, Chirston had 6 points in a 12-2 run immediately after the deficit reached 17. He finished with 18 points on 9-12 shooting.

Justin Martin

C

Martin had a poor shooting night, going 3-10 from the field and 2-7 from behind the arc. A streaky shooter, Martin becomes a detriment to his team when he lets lack of offensive production affect effort, taking him completely out of a game. That was not the case in this game, as he chipped in 7 rebounds.

Isaiah Philmore

B

Philmore was instrumental in getting Georgetown’s frontcourt into foul trouble. The Towson transfer was responsible for 9 free throw attempts (Matt Stainbrook took his attempts following the knee injury). However, Philmore’s defense wasn’t elite, and having him in addition to Stainbrook on the floor at the same time creates a defensive liability against teams that have a perimeter-oriented power forward.

Matt Stainbrook

B

The six assists, 8 rebounds, and a blocked shot in the final minutes show Stainbrook can impact the game when he is inefficient as a scorer. Mack indicated his center needs to be tougher when he finishes, and not let no-calls impact future attempts.

James Farr

A

Jimmy the Chin provided an offensive spark in the second half and was praised by Mack for his defense. If the defense can become an asset, Farr will see an increase in minutes. His best play may have been a rebound off a Philmore missed free throw where he drew a foul and earned a pair of free throws himself.

Myles Davis

B

Davis’ grade would have been much lower had he not made the bucket that got Xavier over the hump, a 3-pointer that gave his team a 68-67 lead. The Musketeers never looked back, adding twelve more points to the game-ending 16-0 run.

Brandon Randolph

C

Randolph’s value can be appreciated when looking at Georgetown, who does not have a backup guard that John Thompson III trusts. Randolph provided relief for Davis and Christon when they were in foul trouble, but did not have huge contributions to the game.

Chris Mack

B

It’s hard to blame Mack for all of Georgetown’s first half 3-point buckets, as mediocre shooters were making difficult shots. Still, Mack did not utilize a first half time out. An in-game adjustment before half may have prevented the Georgetown lead from swelling to 13 at the break. Neither Jalen Reynolds or Erik Stenger saw minutes off the bench, as Mack continues to trust his players with experience.

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