FACTS & STATS: Site: Hagan Arena (4.200) -- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: XU 7-2, SJU 5-3. Away Record: XU 2-3, SJU 4-3. Neutral Record: XU 2-2, SJU 1-1. Conference Record: XU 4-1, SJU 1-3. Series Record: Xavier leads, 17-11.
GAME NOTES: A pair of Atlantic 10 Conference teams hoping to rebound from tough losses get together in Philadelphia on Saturday evening, as the Xavier Musketeers come calling on the Saint Joseph's Hawks.
Xavier had a four-game win streak snapped at Charlotte on Wednesday, 63-57. That was also the Musketeers' first conference loss of the season. Xavier is playing the second of two straight road games, and is in a stretch of four of five and six of eight on the road.
After falling to St. Bonaventure at home on Wednesday, 73-64, the Hawks are just 1-3 in conference play. They have alternated wins and losses since Jan. 5.
Xavier owns a 17-11 series advantage and has won four straight against SJU. The last wins for the Hawks came in 2007-08, when they defeated the ranked Musketeers twice.
Xavier was led by senior Travis Taylor in the recent loss to Charlotte, as he posted a double-double consisting of 18 points and 11 rebounds, while freshman Semaj Christon tied for game-high scoring honors with 18 points.
Christon leads XU in scoring (10th overall and first among freshmen in the A-10 at 14.9 ppg), assists (fourth overall and second among freshmen in the A-10 at 4.9 apg) and steals (12th in the A-10 at 1.6 spg). Senior Brad Redford, who is second in the A-10 in 3-point percentage (.467) for all games, has averaged 13.0 ppg in league play so far (second on the team and 18th in the A-10 for conference games only). Taylor is XU's rebound leader at 8.2 rpg (fourth in A-10), while standing second in scoring at 11.6 ppg. He is averaging 10.2 rpg against conference foes. As a team, Xavier is second in the A-10 in field goal percentage defense (.408), 3-point field goal percentage defense (.303) and scoring defense (60.8 ppg).
Saint Joseph's rallied in the second half against St. Bonaventure, but fell short in the 73-64 loss. The Hawks dug themselves an early 25-10 hole, and shot just 7-of-26 from the field in the first half, including a woeful 1-of-13 from beyond the 3-point line. SJU was a different team in the second half on offense, hitting 57.7 percent from the field and cutting a 22-point deficit down to six with over a minute to go, but the comeback fell short. Halil Kanacevic had a team-high 16 points on 6-of-6 shooting in his return to action after missing three games due to a death in the family which caused him to travel to Europe. Ronald Roberts had 14 points and eight rebounds for Saint Joseph's, while C.J. Aiken had 13 points. Chris Wilson added 12 points.
Langston Galloway is the reigning A-10 Player of the Week, but he left the St. Bonaventure game with two minutes to go in the first half after being poked in the left eye going for a loose ball. He suffered an abrasion of the cornea and did not return to action. Although he did play 18 minutes, it was the first time in his career that he went scoreless. His eye has cleared up and he will play tonight. He leads the Hawks in scoring with 16.4 ppg, good for third in the conference. Carl Jones is ranked 11th at 14.8 ppg, and Aiken is also averaging in double figures for the Hawks (11.8 ppg). Roberts is the top rebounder in the A-10, pulling down 8.8 boards per outing. Aiken leads the league in blocked shots with 3.1 per game. As a collective unit, SJU is playing solid defense, and is in the top-five in the conference in both field goal defense (.413) and 3-point field goal defense (.319), and leads the league in blocked shots (6.3 per outing).
The Hawks have not lived up to their potential this season, failing to put together complete games on a consistent basis. Xavier is playing much better team basketball and should be able to get back in the win column tonight.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 75, Saint Joseph's 70
01/26 10:44:18 ET
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