The Xavier Musketeers moved to 9-0 at the Cintas Center in the 2014-15 season with their 69-58 win over the No. 19 Seton Hall Pirates on Wednesday night.
Off the heels of beating the then-No. 15 St. John's Red Storm and then-No. 6 Villanova Wildcats, Seton Hall was looking to add the Xavier Musketeers to their list as they looked to jump out to an early 3-0 start in Big East play. Xavier had other ideas however, as they would control the game after taking a 50-49 lead off of a 3-pointer from Remy Abell with 8:04 to play in the second half.
Myles Davis notched another 3-pointer after that, and from there the Musketeers never looked back, going on a 21-8 run to finish the game.
Here are three things we learned from the Musketeer win:
So Goes Dee Davis, So Go the Musketeers
Dee Davis had a spectacular night, leading the team in scoring, assists and steals, with the latter tied with Myles Davis. Dee had six assists with only two turnovers to compliment his other impressive stats. It is very apparent that when Dee Davis is playing to the best of his ability, the Musketeers are a tough team to beat and even more so in the Cintas Center. Matt Stainbrook also had a good outing, posting a stat line of 8-9-2 while shooting 2-for-4 from the floor. Xavier is a young team but when their upperclassmen play well they certainly have the qualities of a special team.
Balance is the Key to Xavier's Success
No Musketeer scored more than 15 points this evening, but five different players scored eight or more. When Xavier can effectively distribute the ball to the open man, multiple guys have the ability to finish at the rim or make an open jump shot. Great Xavier teams of the past, like the 2004 and 2008 teams that went to the Elite Eight, had very good versatility as well which served them well in the tournament, with a bit of luck of course. Xavier had 16 assists on 26 field goals tonight, if the Muskies can continue to distribute at a similar rate consistently they will be a tough team to beat.
Defense is Xavier's Achilles Heel and Deadliest Weapon
In wins over both Georgetown and Seton Hall Xavier has been able to hold the opposition to similar shooting percentages. Both teams shot around 20 percent from deep while shooting around 40% from the field. In Chicago this past Saturday, DePaul burned the Muskies and shot about 50 percent from the field and from deep. Defense is the variable input in Xavier's formula to victory, if Xavier "Zips 'em up" defensively they usually win the ball game. The home crowd seems to help inspire the Muskies to play stingy defense.