Xavier struggles at times in exhibition win over Division II Quincy

CINCINNATI – Freshmen guards Myles Davis and Brandon Randolph helped the Xavier men's basketball squad overcome a sloppy first half to top the overmatched Quincy Hawks, 84-54, Saturday afternoon in an exhibition game at Cintas Center.

The first-year players were two of four Musketeers to finish in double digits, joining junior Matt Stainbrook (14 in 18 minutes) and sophomore Semaj Christon (12 in 32 minutes) atop the scoring column.

Davis came up big in the first half, scoring 12 of his game-high 15 points during a five-and-a-half-minute stretch after XU had fallen behind early, 17-7. He hit all three of his 3-pointers during the 18-3 game-changing run that put the Muskies ahead for good.

The Plainfield, N.J. native was 3-of-8 from behind the arc in 20 minutes of work and was one of only two players on the team to connect from deep on Saturday. Randolph, who finished with 11 points in 30 minutes, was the only other XU player to convert a 3-point attempt (1-5).

Despite taking a 40-30 lead into intermission, most critics would say Xavier struggled in the first half, mainly due to their poor shooting and lax perimeter defense. Quincy managed to keep the game in reach by making 7-of-15 3-point shots over what appeared to be oft-puzzled XU defenders.

The Musketeers looked more like themselves in the second half, in part because of the re-energized all-around performances of veterans like Stainbrook and Christon. Xavier won the period 44-24 by holding Quincy to 6-of-23 shooting (17-of-56 for the game). The Musketeers also won the rebounding battle during the half, giving them a 44-30 edge for the game.

Stainbrook led Xavier with nine boards, including four of the team's 14 offensive rebounds.

On the offensive end, Xavier managed to offset shooting 4 for 17 from 3-point range and converting only 14-of-27 free-throw attempts by knocking down 29 of their 41 2-point attempts, not turning over the ball (10 turnovers) and dominating their opponent in the open court.

The team also benefited from terrible second-half shooting by Quincy. The perimeter-oriented Hawks, which were led by nine points by Jordan Wilson, hit just one 3-pointer and made only 11-of-21 free throws in the second half.

While XU fans should be excited about the performances of their young players, the team's overall sluggish play against a Division II program, appalling outside shooting and inability to hit from the charity stripe raises several questions about their regular-season readiness just a week before the start of the 2013-14 season.

Are the Muskies ready for the regular season? They'll find out Friday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. in a home contest against Gardner-Webb.

The game will be broadcast on both 700 WLW and FS Ohio.

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