Xavier (14-9) at Dayton (13-11)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, February 16, 12 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: UD Arena (13,266) -- Dayton, Ohio. Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: XU 9-2, UD 10-4. Away Record: XU 3-5, UD 1-6. Neutral Record: XU 2-2, UD 2-1. Conference Record: XU 7-3, UD 3-7. Series Record: Dayton leads, 84-75.
GAME NOTES: One of the biggest rivalries in college basketball adds another chapter on Saturday afternoon, as the Xavier Musketeers take on the Dayton Flyers in an Atlantic 10 Conference battle at UD Arena.
The Musketeers nabbed their second straight victory on Wednesday night when they downed Fordham at home, 79-66. With the win, XU has won three of its last four and sits in a four-way tie for second place in the conference at 7-3.
As a result of their 75-72 loss to Rhode Island, the Flyers remained winless on the road in conference play, dropping their first five away from UD Arena. They are 1-4 in their last five contests overall.
UD leads the all-time series with XU, 84-75, but lost the earlier matchup at Cintas Center on Jan. 30. The series represents the most games against any opponent for both schools, and two teams have met at least once every year since 1946-47. This game also features the 58th contest with the Blackburn/McCafferty Trophy on the line. Since 1980-81, the winning team receives the Black/Mac trophy, which is named after the two legendary coaches who put their two schools on the basketball map -- Dayton's Tom Blackburn and Xavier's Jim McCafferty. The trophy series only covers regular-season meetings, and XU leads the trophy series by a 37-20 margin.
Xavier is coming off its second straight win, and it had five players score in double figures for the first time since Nov. 25 vs. Drake. Freshman Semaj Christon led the Musketeers with 19 points to go with five assists and two steals, while sophomore Justin Martin tallied 16 points (one shy of his career high) and seven rebounds.
Christon leads the team with 15.1 ppg, while Taylor adds 11.9 ppg, shooting 55.9 percent from the field, and 8.3 rpg. The team is strong defensively, holding opponents to 61.7 ppg and 40.8 percent shooting from field. It also outrebounds foes by an average of five rpg.
Dyshawn Pierre recorded his first career double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds, but the Flyers suffered another heartbreaking loss to Rhode Island. Four Flyers scored in double figures, with Kevin Dillard adding 15 points and five assists, Devin Oliver chipping in with 12 points and Vee Sanford scoring 11. Xavier Munford made a long 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left to give URI the victory. Dillard had made a deep 3-pointer with 8.8 seconds left to tie the game, capping a rally from an eight-point deficit.
For Dayton, Dillard leads the way with 15.0 points and 4.6 assists per contest, while he is shooting at nearly a 40 percent clip from beyond the arc. Sanford (12.5 ppg) and Josh Benson (10.0 ppg) are also averaging double figures, and Oliver mans the paint with 9.4 points and a team-best 8.4 rebounds per tilt. The Flyers are one of the better rebounding teams in the A-10, as they boast a +4.6 margin on the boards. They also lead the league in 3-point field goal percentage (.385).
The Musketeers are the better squad this season, but with this rivalry, expect a tight game and a close Xavier win
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 67, Dayton 62
02/16 10:37:00 ET