Xavier (4-1) vs. Drake (2-2)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Sunday, November 25, 1:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Anaheim Convention Center Arena (9,000) -- Anaheim,
California. Television: ESPNU. Home Record: Xavier 3-0, Drake 1-0. Away
Record: Xavier 0-0, Drake 0-1. Neutral Record: Xavier 1-1, Drake 1-1.
Conference Record: Xavier 0-0, Drake 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The Drake Bulldogs and Xavier Musketeers will try to leave the
DirecTV Classic on a positive note as they square off in the fifth-place game
at the Anaheim Convention Center.
Xavier came into the tournament with a perfect 3-0 record that consisted of
wins over Fairleigh Dickinson (117-75), Butler (62-47) and Robert Morris
(61-59). However, Chris Mack's squad was handed a surprising loss by Pacific
in the first round of the tourney due to a poor defensive effort. The
Musketeers recovered the following day by fending off the Drexel Dragons for a
four-point win. Xavier will now try to improve its 4-1 record before its tough
upcoming road game at Purdue.
The Bulldogs improved to 2-2 after it pushed past the Rice Owls to a 77-66 win
in the consolation round on Friday. With the help of impressive three-point
shooting in the opening half (6-of-14), Drake took a 34-30 lead into
intermission. Rice jumped back in front in the second half, but the Bulldogs
produced a 22-8 run to win by double-digits Coach Mark Phelps was not happy
his squad was beat on the glass 40-26 in its first round game versus
California, but Drake held a 36-28 advantage in the rebounding battle with the
Owls. The win ended a two-game losing slide for the Missouri Valley Conference
This will be the first meeting between these teams in history.
With the exception of its season opening rout of FDU, Xavier is scoring an
average of only 64.8 ppg. However, its defensive effort has been able to limit
its opponents to 60.3 ppg during that span. Coach Mack's team that was
nationally ranked at this time last year relied on its star backcourt of Tu
Holloway and Mark Lyons on offense. This season is different as Xavier is
exhibiting a balanced attack with five double-digit scorers. Dee Davis is
averaging a team-best 14.2 points per game and is also dishing out 4.8 assists
per outing while Travis Taylor, Jeff Robinson and Justin Martin are all
scoring more than 10 ppg each. The Musketeers may be heading back towards last
season's star-reliant system as freshman guard Semaj Christon is on the rise.
He is second on the team in scoring (13.8 ppg) and first in assists (6.5 apg)
after scoring a career-high 23 points to go with a game-high six assists
Not to be outdone by its opponent, Drake had five players score in double-
figures in Friday's win over Rice. The team had a strong offensive performance
as it knocked down 46.2 percent of its field goal attempts and 11-of-25 from
beyond the arc while turning the ball over only eight times. The team was able
to outrebound the Owls thanks in large part to Jordan Clarke, who produced a
double-double with 15 points and tournament record 18 rebounds. Ben Simons
connected on 4-of-9 attempts from long distance to score a team-high 18 points
in the win while Chris Hines, Seth VanDeest and Gary Ricks Jr. all reached
double figures as well. Simons is leading the team with 16.8 ppg. Richard
Carter will try look to bounce back after being held under 10 points for the
first time this season in the triumph over Rice.
Both these squads have performed well in the early season. Xavier will be
tough to beat if Christon rides the momentum from his last outing into this
one. Although the Bulldogs have shown the ability to score, the Musketeers are
better defensively than their previous opposition.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 71, Drake 66
11/25 10:34:02 ET
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