Xavier (14-10) at Rhode Island (8-16)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, February 20, 7 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Ryan Center (7,657) -- Kingston, Rhode Island. Television: FSN-OH. Home Record: XU 9-2, URI 5-7. Away Record: XU 3-6, URI 3-7. Neutral Record: XU 2-2, URI 0-2. Conference Record: XU 7-4, URI 3-8. Series Record: XU leads, 18-3.
GAME NOTES: The Xavier Musketeers will look to continue their dominance over the Rhode Island Rams when the two meet up for an Atlantic 10 Conference tussle at the Ryan Center.
In the most recent meeting between these two teams, Xavier cruised to an 84-66 victory last February in Cincinnati. The Musketeers have dominated the all- time series, 18-3, and that includes victories in five straight and 17 of the last 18 meetings.
Xavier enters this matchup hoping to rebound from Saturday's 70-59 setback at Dayton. The Musketeers had been on the move with wins in three of their previous four outings. Still, they entered the week just two games back of A-10 leader VCU with six games to play in the regular season.
Meanwhile, Rhode Island has turned things around with back-to-back wins after suffering through a season-long, six-game losing streak. The Rams notched a 75-72 win over Dayton last Wednesday, then followed it up with a 67-62 road win over Duquesne on Saturday.
In that win over Duquesne, URI held the Dukes to just one field goal over the final 4:06, as it closed the contest on a 14-5 run. Nikola Malesevic had 19 points and seven rebounds in 27 minutes of floor time, and his layup with just under a minute to play gave the Rams the lead for good. Xavier Munford finished with 14 points and six assists, although he shot just 3-of-11 from the floor. Munford has shouldered the offensive load throughout the season, as he ranks second in the A-10 with 17.4 points per game. Malesevic is averaging 10.9 points and a team-best 5.1 rebounds per tilt, while Andre Malone rounds out the Rams' double-digit scorers with 10.0 ppg. URI has had a tendency to struggle against opponents with length, as the team is -4.5 in rebounding margin on the season.
For the Musketeers, Saturday's loss at Dayton dropped their record to 1-7 in games where they failed to reach 60 points, whereas the team is 13-3 when scoring 60 or more. Xavier likes to take advantage of its size, considering the team boasts a +7.5 rebounding margin in A-10 games. The Dayton game was the first time in 14 games that XU did not outrebound its opponent as both squads pulled down 28 boards. Semaj Christon led the way with 17 points, although he committed five of his team's nine turnovers on the afternoon. As a team, the Musketeers shot just 39.2 percent from the floor. Still, Christon has been a welcome addition this season as he leads XU in scoring (15.2 ppg) and has been named the league's rookie of the week five times. He also paces the team in assists (4.5) and steals (1.5). Senior Travis Taylor (11.8 ppg) headlines the frontcourt with 8.3 rebounds per contest and has posted seven double-doubles on the season.
URI and Xavier both played Dayton in the past week, but only the Rams managed to win their matchup. That gives a decent indication as to where both of these teams currently stand, and the Rams should get an added boost playing at home.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Rhode Island 64, Xavier 60
02/20 11:04:12 ET