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November 2, 2013

XU Starts Slow But Routes Quincy

In their first and only exhibition of the 2013-2014 season, the Musketeers got off to a good start Saturday afternoon with an 84-54 win over Division II Quincy (IL) at the Cintas Center. Things didn't look good at the beginning, however.

A combination of hot outside shooting by Quincy and both turnovers and missed free throws by Xavier allowed Quincy to jump out to a 9-0 lead in the first 3:22 of the game.

It wasn't until the 16:32 mark of the first half that Xavier finally got on the board with a Matt Stainbrook lay up. Another 3 pointer on the next possession by Quincy had Xavier down ten.

It was at this point that sophomore Semaj Christon, who finished with 12 points, 7 assists, and 5 rebounds, came up with a big and one to help give the Musketeers a little momentum heading in to the first media timeout.

Quincy wasn't ready to give in just yet, though as they went on a mini 5-2 run to extend their lead back to 10 at 17-7.

Down 17-7, Myles Davis decided to take over. The freshman, who was ruled ineligible last year, came up with a big 3 to close the deficit to 17-10 at the 14:44 mark, got a rebound at the other end, and then came up with another three point play as he was able to finish through contact and make the free throw. Davis 6 point run would be the start of what was an eventual 20-0 run that broke the game open for the Musketeers.

During the run, Myles Davis came up with 12 of his game high 15 points while coming off the bench. A Matt Stainbrook lay up at the 11:54 mark would give Xavier their first lead of the game. Stainbrook finished the game with 14 points and 9 rebounds in just 18 minutes of action.

From here on, Coach Chris Mack's squad used solid defense, offensive rebounding, and good ball movement to continue to extend their lead. Once they took the lead, Xavier never lead by less than 5. At the half, Xavier led 40-30 as they closed out the final 15 minutes with a 33-13 run.

In the second half, the two teams traded baskets leading up to the first media timeout as Xavier lead 49-39. Coming out of the timeout, a 10-2 run would extend the X lead to 59-41 as X wouldn't lead by no less than 17 the rest of the game.

Up 67-49, Xavier started pounding the ball inside to James Farr and Matt Stainbrook, while also using good ball movement to find Semaj Christon and Brandon Randolph for easy baskets and plays that allowed them to get to the free throw line. Randolph was the 4th Musketeer in double figures, finishing with 11 points. 7 others finished with 4 or more points.

The biggest difference in the two halves was three point shooting. In the first half, Quincy finished 7-15 from outside, compared to 1-10 in the second half. The Musketeers finished 4-17 from outside but shot 57% (33-58) from inside the arc, mainly due to their overall size and athleticism advantage down low. Coach Mack also should be pleased with the rebounding of his team as they started off slow but ended up out rebounding the Hawks 44-30, despite being out rebounded 15-14 on the offensive glass.

The free throw shooting will have to improve as Xavier finished 14-27 for the game. Luckily for Coach Mack and his team, the real season doesn't start until next Friday night, November 8th, when the Gardner-Webb Bulldogs come to town in the regular season opener at Cintas Center.


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