Xavier Closes Out 2011 By Hosting Gonzaga on Saturday Night
Dec. 29, 2011
Xavier University Musketeers (9-3) vs. Gonzaga University Bulldogs (10-2)
Television: ESPN2 with play-by-play from Jon Sciambi and analysis from LaPhonso Ellis.
Xavier and Gonzaga are both Jesuit universities, two of 28 Jesuit colleges and universities nationwide. This is a Jesuit Spotlight Game. The nationwide Jesuit Basketball Spotlight (JBS) project uses Jesuit basketball to raise awareness of Jesuit education.
Xavier, 9-3, snapped a three-game losing streak with an 87-77 win over Southern Illinois in its final game of the Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic on Christmas Day, Dec. 25. Graduate student Andre Walker and junior Mark Lyons each recorded the first double-doubles of their collegiate careers. Lyons had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Walker had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Senior Tu Holloway led XU scorers with 21 points to go with seven assists.
Xavier, receiving votes in both major polls, is unranked this week for the first time this season. XU is just outside this week's top 25 at 28th in the ESPN/USA Today Poll and 30th in the Associated Press Poll.
Xavier welcomes back freshman Dezmine Wells for the Gonzaga game after serving his four-game suspension. XU, 1-3 over the last four games, has been without Wells and was also without senior Tu Holloway (ORU loss) and junior Mark Lyons (ORU and Long Beach State losses) during this four-game stretch.
Xavier head coach Chris Mack has 10 players averaging over 11 minutes per game this season.
Xavier senior All-American Tu Holloway leads the team in scoring at 18.7 ppg. (first in the Atlantic 10 Conference) and assists at 5.1 apg. (third in the A-10) after averaging 21.3 ppg. and 5.7 apg. for Xavier's three games in Hawaii. Holloway also leads the team in steals (2.3 spg.) and free throw percentage (.838).
Xavier junior Mark Lyons is second on the team and fourth in the Atlantic 10 Conference in scoring at 17.4 ppg., and is second on the team in assists at 2.6 apg.
Xavier senior Kenny Frease, who posted a double-double with 13 points and 13 rebounds to go with four blocks in the 76-53 win over Cincinnati on Dec. 10, is fourth on the team in scoring at 9.2 ppg. and is third in rebounding at 5.5 rpg. Frease leads the team in blocks at 1.8 per game.
Xavier graduate student Andre Walker has started 11 games in his first season in a Musketeer uniform, including each of the last 10 games. He has played in all 11 games, averaging 5.8 points, a team-high 6.5 rebounds and 1.9 assists per game.
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. ESPN2 will broadcast the Gonzaga game from 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.