Morehead State (2-0) at Xavier (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Friday, November 15, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Cintas Center (10,250) -- Cincinnati, Ohio. Television: FS1. Home Record: Morehead State 1-0, Xavier 2-0. Away Record: Morehead State 1-0, Xavier 0-0. Neutral Record: Morehead State 0-0, Xavier 0-0. Conference Record: Morehead State 0-0, Xavier 0-0. Series Record: Xavier leads, 5-3.
GAME NOTES: Xavier, which is opening the 2013-14 campaign with a five-game homestand, welcomes the Morehead State Eagles for a non-conference bout in Cincinnati tonight.
The homestand doesn't appear to be too much of a challenge for the Musketeers, with visits by Miami-Ohio and Abilene Christian still to come, so it is conceivable that the squad could be 5-0 by the time it hits the road for the Battle 4 Atlantis in the Bahamas a little less than two weeks from now. The team began the new season with an 83-59 defeat of Gardner-Webb and followed that up with a 67-63 triumph over Tennessee three nights ago.
As for MSU, it too is perfect after two games, but the competition there has been even more suspect. The latest victim came on Tuesday when the Eagles dropped East Tennessee State, 71-63, three days after crushing Mid-Continent (KY) in the opener, 107-60.
Xavier leads the all-time series by a count of 5-3, but the teams have not played each other since the 2003-04 campaign.
Angelo Warner played 37 minutes against ETSU earlier this week and made the most of his time on the floor as he registered a double-double consisting of 25 points and 10 rebounds in the eight-point road win for the Eagles. Also scoring in double figures for MSU was Brent Arrington with 15 points and Drew Kelly 11. The Eagles survived despite shooting just 36.7 percent from the floor and turning the ball over 15 times in part because they held the hosts to a mere 4-of-19 performance behind the 3-point line and maintained a 45-30 rebounding advantage. Morehead State cleared 20 offensive rebounds, compared to only seven for the home team.
Warner is scoring a solid 20.0 ppg in the early going for the Eagles and, in addition to pulling down 6.0 rpg, he has also shown the ability to be a major offensive threat out on the perimeter where he has knocked down 7-of-15 attempts. Unfortunately, beyond Warner there's not much to be excited about when it comes to 3-point shooting because the rest of the squad has combined to make just 8-of-39.
The Xavier defense held the Volunteers to just 8-of-30 shooting from the field and only 20 points in the first half of their recent meeting. Granted, the Vols turned it around in the second half with 59.3 percent accuracy, but it still wasn't enough to take down the Musketeers. Semaj Christon was responsible for 18 points for the hosts, followed by Myles Davis with 13 points off the bench. Coming up a rebound shy of a double-double was Matt Stainbrook, who dropped in 12 points and blocked three shots.
Against Gardner-Webb in the season opener, the Musketeers put together a similar mode of attack as they limited the Bulldogs to just eight fields goals in the first half, but again the team didn't play as tough after intermission as the opponents improved their scoring output by 15 points, a trend that Xavier has to be careful not to replicate too often this season if it hopes to be successful.
As long as the Musketeers can keep up the intensity at both ends of the floor for a full 40 minutes, there's no reason to believe they can't remain unbeaten.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 73, Morehead State 62
11/15 10:31:02 ET