Tu Holloway returns to action on Thursday.
Dec. 20, 2011
No. 14/15 Xavier University Musketeers (8-1) vs. Long Beach State (5-5)
Thursday, Dec. 22, 2011 at the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic
Stan Sheriff Center (10,300) in Honolulu, Hawaii
Television: ESPNU and ESPN3 with play-by-play from Kanoa Leahy and analysis from Stephen Bardo.
Radio: 700 WLW-AM, Sirius channel 85 and XM channel 85 with play-by-play from XU Hall of Famer and former Musketeer standout Joe Sunderman (`79). Analysis will be provided by Xavier Hall of Famer and XU all-time leading scorer Byron Larkin (`88).
Xavier, 8-1 and ranked 14th in the Associated Press Poll and 15th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll, is coming off a loss to Oral Roberts on Sunday. Xavier played without three starters, including its top two scorers (senior Tu Holloway and junior Mark Lyons) and freshman Dezmine Wells. Freshman Dee Davis and junior Brad Redford made their first collegiate starts in place of Holloway and Lyons.
Xavier fell out of the top 10 after two straight weeks in the top 10 of both polls. XU was ranked No. 8 in the AP Poll last week and No. 9 in the ESPN/USA Today Poll.
Xavier's 8-0 start was just two wins shy of the school record set in 1996-97 at 10-0.
Xavier senior All-American Tu Holloway returns to the lineup for the Long Beach State game. Holloway leads the team in scoring at 17.6 ppg. and also leads the team in assists (4.9 apg.), steals (2.4 spg.) and free throw percentage (.875).
Xavier will still be without two of its starters for the Long Beach State game. Freshman Dezmine Wells (currently XU's third-leading scorer at 9.5 ppg.) will miss the entire tournament and junior Mark Lyons (17.4 ppg.) will miss the Long Beach State game only. Those games will complete the four-game and two-game suspensions, respectively, for Wells and Lyons.
Xavier senior Kenny Frease has blocked 21 shots over the first nine games (2.3 per game), including a career-high six blocks against IPFW on Nov. 15. Frease, who posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds to go with four blocks in the win over Cincinnati on Dec. 10, is averaging 9.0 ppg. and is second on the team in rebounding at 6.1 rpg.
Xavier graduate student Andre Walker has started eight games in his first season in a Musketeer uniform, including each of the last seven games. He has played in all nine games, averaging 5.2 points, 5.9 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
Xavier junior Travis Taylor leads the team in rebounding at 6.6 rpg. despite being fifth on the team in minutes played per game.
Xavier has had some success in elite neutral site tournaments in recent years, including the Puerto Rico Classic Championship in the 2008-09 season with wins over Missouri, Virginia Tech and Memphis. XU won the Chicago Challenge in the 2007-08 season with wins over Southeast Missouri State, Coppin State, Kent State and Indiana.
Xavier has been a regular recently on the ESPN networks. In fact, eight of Xavier's last nine games to close out the calendar year of 2011 have been or will be on the ESPN family of networks. ESPN networks will cover the Diamond Head Classic in Hawaii and the Dec. 31 Gonzaga game at Cintas Center.
Xavier made its sixth straight NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011, one of only 12 schools that can say that. Xavier has made 10 of the last 11 NCAA Tournaments.
Xavier has graduated each of the last 83 men's basketball players that have played as seniors, a streak which dates back to 1986.