Xavier held off the 14 seed Georgia State, as they were able to establish their interior dominance early and often. The Big East school proved to be too much for the Cinderella team to handle, as Xavier held off a ferocious comeback attempt to defeat Georgia State by 10 points.
1. Jalen Reynolds asserted his dominance
The Xavier forward scored 21 points off the bench on Saturday, a career high for the sophomore. Reynolds made 8 of his 9 field goal attempts, in addition to shooting a perfect 5 of 5 from the line. Not only was Reynolds efficient, he was ferocious in doing so. He dominated the smaller Georgia St team down low, showing off his powerful inside moves.
Reynolds provided Xavier with several momentum swinging plays, including a three point play two minutes remaining, which extended the lead to nine points. Xavier will need another dominating performance from Reynolds when they go up against Arizona.
2. Myles and Dee Davis carried the Musketeers down the stretch
Both guards were able to give Xavier an unexpected lift, as the two players converted several key opportunities late in the game. Myles Davis made 5 three pointers, sparking Xavier with 17 points off the bench. Davis' final three of the game lengthened Xavier's lead to 10 points, all but clinching the game in the final minutes.
Dee Davis used dribble penetration to attack the Georgia State matchup zone throughout the night. The Senior Point Guard found the holes in the opponents defense, as he was able to create offense for both himself and his teammates. When Xavier needed to fend off Georgia St's final comeback attempts, Dee Davis made 6 consecutive free throws to ice the game. Xavier has been in need of supplemental scoring throughout the season, and they will certainly need the Davises to continue this high level of play.
3. Panthers' stars could not establish themselves
RJ Hunter had a hand in his face everywhere he went, as Xavier focused their defensive efforts on taking away Georgia State's most potent weapon. Hunter did finish with 20 points, but was forced to take difficult shots throughout the game. Hunter was able to get hot in the final stretch of the game, but at that point his efforts were too little too late.
Ryan Harrow suited up for the Panthers after a hamstring injury caused him to miss the previous two games, but he did not do much beyond that. Harrow was visibly limited in his movement, as the team's second leading scorer was not able to contribute much. Harrow did look confident with the ball in his hands, and was able to make 2 three pointers, but the injury caused him to sit out for much of the second half.