Cincinnati, OH – The 13th-ranked Xavier Musketeers are the state rival Ohio tonight.
The RedHawks have played just one game thus far, and what a memorable contest it was. They found a way to defeat Dayton by a 72-67 final in overtime to the delight of the home crowd. Miami-Ohio is a member of the Mid-American Conference and won 11 league games a season ago.
The Musketeers are set to play their third of what will be four consecutive home games to open the season. Both outings thus far have resulted in double- digit wins, including an 86-63 decision over IPFW on Tuesday. Xavier is coached by Chris Mack, and the Musketeers have reached the NCAA Tournament in each of the past six seasons, and 10 times in the last 11 years overall.
Xavier holds a narrow 51-47 edge over Miami in the all-time series between the rivals, but the RedHawks won last season's matchup by a 75-64 final.
There is no question that the best player on the Miami-Ohio roster is Julian Mavunga, a senior forward who led the squad as a junior with 14.8 ppg and 8.2 rpg. Against Dayton on Tuesday, Mavunga posted 17 points and 11 rebounds in 43 minutes of action, and he finished with three steals as well. Bill Edwards had 14 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, while fellow reserve Brian Sullivan contributed 14 points in a reserve role as well. Guard Josh Sewell rounded out a foursome of double-digit scorers with 10 points for the RedHawks, who earned a 16-6 edge in points from the foul line and forced 22 turnovers. In overtime, Miami hit 4-of-8 shots from the field and outscored Dayton 4-0 from the foul line in that extra frame.
Tu Holloway is the reigning Atlantic 10 Conference Player of the Year, and he returned the action against IPFW on Tuesday after missing the opener against Morgan State. The standout guard averaged 19.7 ppg a year ago, but the fact that he also posted 5.0 rpg and 5.4 apg speaks to his tremendous versatility. Holloway does it at both ends of the floor, as he recorded 1.4 spg as a junior and is a lockdown defender. Against IPFW, he appeared the be in mid-season form, connecting on 7-of-10 shots from the floor en route to 24 points and six assists. Fellow guard Mark Lyons pitched in 21 points and five assists, while Dezmine Wells netted 16 points. The Musketeers knocked down 56.1 percent of their field goal attempts, including a stellar 11-of-21 showing from behind the arc. Defensively, they limited the Mastodons to 31.3 percent shooting from the floor.