The Xavier Musketeers had their first true road game of the season on Saturday afternoon and passed the test with flying colors, disposing of the Missouri Tigers by the score of 74-58.
Xavier was led in scoring and assists on Saturday afternoon by Dee Davis who posted an impressive line of 17-4-4. The Musketeers displayed efficient offense once again which led them to the win over the Tigers of Missouri. Defense tonight for Xavier was also pretty good as they held Missouri to just 39 percent from the field and an abysmal 6 percent from the 3-point line. Xavier also continues to score a lot of points but with an array of players; three Musketeers scored in double figures tonight and two players scored eight points.
Brandon Randolph continues to improve as the season goes on. During the first half it was a close game and the Musketeer offense was sluggish until Randolph came in and put up a quick eleven points to boost the Musketeers. He ended the game with eleven points on perfect four of four shooting including three of three from deep. He is a serviceable backup for Dee Davis and continues to improve during his sophomore campaign.
Here are three things we learned from this win for the Muskies:
1. This Xavier team is balanced
Both Stainbrook and Bluiett have been consistent offense options this year for Xavier but tonight struggled offensively, posting only 14 points combined. Dee Davis and Brandon Randolph, among others, stepped up although they are known more for their ability to pass effectively rather than their scoring ability. Davis and Randolph combined for 28 points tonight which were much needed for the Muskies.
2. Xavier has a very talented backcourt
Xavier can run six guards throughout any given game and not have much drop-off in talent. That is a whole different story regarding experience/poise, however. Not only is the backcourt talented and deep but it is also very balanced with guys who can rain threes as well as others who can get to the hoop. If Xavier is going to be playing in mid-to-late March this year, the consistency and depth of their backcourt will be large component of their success.
3. Xavier's freshman are only getting better
Matt Stainbrook had foul trouble in the first half which opened up the door for freshman Sean O'Mara to get more minutes than usual. In the early going of the season O'Mara was fouling at an alarming rate and displayed vintage signs of a freshman. He has since allowed the game to slow down and come to him and he seems very comfortable in the paint. Trevon Bluiett has looked good al year and continues to do so, but now he is not the only freshman displaying maturity. J.P. Macura is also starting to play well on both ends of the court and, like O'Mara, is allowing the game to come to him. If Xavier is going to challenge for a Big East title this year, their youngsters will have to play well game in and game out.