Defense Helps Musketeers Capture First A-10 Victory Of Season
Jan. 9, 2011
KINGSTON, R.I. - Senior Jamel McLean recorded his fifth double-double of the season and junior Tu Holloway posted his seventh 20-plus point game of the season to lead the Xavier men's basketball team past Rhode Island, 72-45, in the opening game of the Atlantic 10 Conference season.
Holloway exploded in the second half to score 15 of his 21 points, while McLean scored 19 points and pulled in 12 rebounds. The Musketeers (9-5, 1-0 A-10) held Rhode Island (9-6, 0-1 A-10) to 24.6 percent shooting from the floor, which included 3-of-27 from behind the 3-point line. Offensively, Xavier shot 53.2 percent from the floor, and hit 6-of-14 shots from outside.
The Musketeers dominated the interior from the tip, outscoring the Rams 38-10 inside the paint. Junior Kenny Frease chipped in nine points and Mark Lyons scored eight for Xavier who won its first road game of the season and improved to 13-3 in A-10 regular season openers since joining the conference. The win extends the Musketeers' current six-game winning streak in conference openers.
The Musketeers' defense held their opponent to its lowest point total of the season and lowest shooting percentage of the season and from behind the arc.
Xavier began the game with a 9-2 run, which the Rams erased to take a brief one-point lead, with 12:26 left in the first half. The short-lived lead would turn out to be the only time the Rams would lead in the game. Xavier closed out the second half with a 19-7 run, including a period where Rhode Island missed 10 straight shots, giving them a 31-19 advantage heading into the half.
McLean scored 10 of his points and five rebounds in the first half. The Musketeers' first-half defense held the Rams to just 19 first-half points, the second-lowest opponent total this season, and 1-of-14 shooting from outside the arc.
In the second half the Musketeers would outscore the Rams 41-26, the largest difference from any half this for the Musketeers, to cruise to the 27-point win, which was also the largest margin of victory in Xavier's 14 games. Holloway led the Musketeers scoring nine points from the floor and six from the free-throw line. XU shot an outstanding 68.4 percent in the second half, which included 4-of-5 on 3-pointers. The Musketeers' defense continued to give the Rams fits from the outside in the second half, who made 2-of-13 outside in the period.
The Musketeers return to the friendly confines of Cintas Center to take on Massachusetts at 7 p.m. Wednesday. The game will be televised on CBS College Sports Regional, which will be see locally on FOX Sports Ohio.