Xavier (9-6) at St. Bonaventure (7-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Wednesday, January 16, 8 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Reilly Center (5,480) -- St. Bonaventure, New York. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Xavier 6-2, St. Bonaventure 5-2. Away Record: Xavier 1-2, St. Bonaventure 1-6. Neutral Record: Xavier 2-2, St. Bonaventure 1-0. Conference Record: Xavier 2-0, St. Bonaventure 0-2. Series Record: Xavier leads, 24-16.
GAME NOTES: The Xavier Musketeers take aim at their third straight win, as they pay a visit to the St. Bonaventure Bonnies for an Atlantic 10 Conference clash on Wednesday night.
Xavier appeared to be spiraling out of control at the end of its non- conference schedule, as it suffered four straight defeats, but it has welcomed the start of the A-10 campaign with back-to-back home wins over Temple (57-52) and George Washington (71-56).
The Musketeers put forth perhaps their best all-around effort in the 15-point triumph over GW last Saturday afternoon, outshooting the Colonials from the field, 57.1 percent to 38.6 percent, while also draining 8-of-10 attempts from beyond the arc. Semaj Christon was fantastic, scoring 21 points and dishing out seven assists in a performance that helped him earn A-10 Rookie of the Week honors for the third time. Brad Redford also scored 21 points in the victory, while Jeff Robinson added 14 points and six rebounds.
St. Bonaventure was sitting pretty in mid-December with a 7-3 record, but since then it has gone downhill with five straight losses, including its first two A-10 matchups against George Washington (78-59) and Virginia Commonwealth (72-65).
The Bonnies fought hard to keep their deficit against VCU to single-digits for most of the contest, but they ultimately fell short by shooting just 41.2 percent from the floor and committing 16 turnovers. Demitrius Conger did all he could to lift his team to victory, shooting 4-of-6 from 3-point range for 19 points, while Chris Johnson and Matthew Wright each contributed 10 points in the setback.
Xavier has dominated St. Bonaventure in recent years by posting wins in 11 of the last 12 meetings, and the Musketeers hold a 24-16 advantage in the all- time series as a result.
Although Xavier's scoring offense may not seem all that impressive -- tied for 14th in the A-10 with 64.9 ppg -- it has the best field goal percentage in the league (.471). The team also plays tight defense, ranking second in field goal percentage allowed (.397) while yielding only 60.3 ppg. Christon is arguably the best freshman in the conference, and he is already in the discussion when trying to figure out the league's most talented guard as he puts up 14.1 ppg on 47.7 percent shooting from the field while dishing out 4.8 apg. Travis Taylor is a steady presence in the paint with his 11.3 ppg and 7.8 rpg. Dee Davis has put together a solid campaign (9.5 ppg, 3.7 apg), but he is listed as doubtful for this game with a sprained wrist.
St. Bonaventure has had very little problem putting points on the board this season, as it ranks fifth in the A-10 with 71.9 ppg, but its biggest issue has been its porous defense, which ranks 13th in the league by giving up 70.9 ppg. Conger has been the Bonnies' catalyst with 14.0 ppg, and he has been a multi- dimensional performer, getting it done in the paint (6.9 rpg, 10 blocks) as well as out on the perimeter (17 3-pointers, 14 steals, 2.9 apg). Johnson (13.1 ppg) and Eric Mosley (10.1 ppg) are lethal from beyond the arc, combining to hit 48 treys at nearly a 45 percent clip.
The Bonnies have played well on their home floor (5-2), but they have been ice-cold of late, while Xavier has appeared to turn things around after a slow stretch of its own. Expect the Musketeers to hit a clutch basket or two down the stretch to capture a hard-fought road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 65, St. Bonaventure 62
01/16 10:34:33 ET