Xavier (13-7) at Charlotte (10-9)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, January 28th, 7:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Halton Arena (9,105) -- Charlotte, North Carolina. Television: FSN-OH. Home Record: Xavier 9-3, Charlotte 5-4. Away Record: Xavier 3-3, Charlotte 5-5. Neutral Record: Xavier 1-1, Charlotte 0-0. Conference Record: Xavier 4-3, Charlotte 2-4. Series Record: Xavier leads, 9-2.
GAME NOTES: The Xavier Musketeers invade Halton Arena this evening as the Charlotte 49ers host an Atlantic-10 Conference matchup between a pair of teams looking to bounce back into the win column.
Xavier suffered its second straight defeat Wednesday, finding itself in the rare position of coming off a home loss to an A-10 opponent. The Musketeers' 73-68 loss to Saint Louis was the team's first setback at home to a conference opponent since losing to Saint Josephs on February 28, 2006 -- a stretch of 43 games. The Billikens built an early lead by shooting 7-of-14 from three-point range over the opening period to lead 41-29 at the break. Xavier battled back to tie the game in the second half, as junior Mark Lyons poured in 22 of his career-high 27 points, but it wasn't enough to overcome another surge from the visitors. Senior Tu Holloway was a perfect 14-for-14 at the free-throw line and ended with 22 points for the Musketeers, whose losing skid comes on the heels of a four-game win streak.
Charlotte was simply overmatched in its 79-57 home loss to Temple Wednesday. The visiting Owls scored 17 of the game's first 18 points and led by a comfortable 38-18 margin at the half. Charlotte failed to even make a field goal for the first 10:20 of the game and wound up shooting 32.7 percent from the floor overall -- including a miserable 5-for-26 (19.2 percent) showing in the first half alone. Javarris Barnett led the 49ers with 14 points while Chris Braswell scored 12 and added seven rebounds. It was the 49ers' second consecutive defeat and fourth straight conference loss.
The Musketeers have won nine of the 11 all-time meetings with Charlotte, though the 49ers handed Xavier its lone conference loss last season. The two teams split their season series with the 49ers winning, 66-62, at Halton Arena.
The Musketeers' offense is driven by the duo of Lyons and Holloway -- two of the conference's top performers. Lyons inflicts the most damage at 17.2 points per game and is the team's leading three-point shooter with 37 on 45.7 percent shooting. Holloway can beat you a number of ways and shows versatility in averaging 16.1 ppg and 5.6 assists. Dezmine Wells checks in at 9.5 ppg and 5.3 rebounds per contest while Kenny Frease furthers the Musketeers' depth with a solid 8.7 ppg and 5.7 boards. Andre Walker is the team's leading rebounder (6.0 rpg), a point of superiority for Xavier which secures 37.3 caroms per game and holds a nice plus-2.3 margin on the glass. Xavier's offense averages 71.3 ppg overall and shoots 45.7 percent from the field. The defense is effective as well, giving up 66.1 ppg and holding opponents to 39.2 percent shooting, leading to a nice scoring margin of plus-5.2.
The 49ers rely on a trio of double-digit scorers to help prop up a mediocre offense. Braswell leads the way at 14.4 ppg and also serves as the team's leading rebounder with 7.4 rpg. Barnett and DeMario Mayfield are also significant contributors, the former averaging 11.5 ppg and 6.5 boards while the latter checks in at 10.0 ppg and 6.2 rpg. Overall, the 49ers compile 67.2 ppg but on only 40.4 percent shooting. Opponents average an identical amount of points and are allowed to shoot 41.5 percent from the floor. Charlotte trails the opposition in the rebounding department by a 37.5-36.6 count on average while struggling to find accuracy from beyond the arc (32.3 percent) despite a healthy number of threes (127). Barnett leads the team with 31 triples on 35.6 percent shooting.
Both teams come into Saturday's contest looking to find some footing in the jumbled A-10 standings. Xavier has a pair of weapons in Lyons and Holloway that give it the edge on most nights in conference play and the Musketeers will ride their top performers to a nice road win in Charlotte.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 73, Charlotte 62
01/28 10:36:18 ET