Xavier (5-1) at Purdue (3-3)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 1, 2:15 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Mackey Arena (14,268) -- West Lafayette, Indiana. Television: Big Ten Network. Home Record: Xavier 3-0, Purdue 2-1. Away Record: Xavier 0-0, Purdue 1-0. Neutral Record: Xavier 2-1, Purdue 0-2. Conference Record: Xavier 0-0, Purdue 0-0. Series Record: Purdue leads, 9-5.
GAME NOTES: Both the Xavier Musketeers and the Purdue Boilermakers will try for their third straight win on Saturday afternoon, as the two squads face off at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Indiana.
Xavier won three straight games at home to start the season before traveling to Anaheim to participate in the DirecTV Classic, where it lost its opening- round matchup against Pacific, 70-67. The Musketeers managed to bounce back in the consolation rounds however, posting victories over Drexel (69-65) and Drake (74-70).
Purdue opened its season with losses in three of its first four games to Bucknell (70-65), Oregon State (66-58) and Villanova (89-81 in OT). The Boilermakers showed some resiliency since then with wins over UNC Wilmington (66-40) and at Clemson (73-61) to pull to .500.
Xavier has won the last four meetings with Purdue, including last December's 66-63 win at Cintas Center. However, the Boilermakers still have an advantage in the all-time series, 9-5.
Fewer teams have gotten off to hotter shooting starts than Xavier, which is connecting on nearly 54 percent of its field goal attempts through six games (third in the nation), including 43-of-104 from three-point range (.413). It was an off night by the Musketeers' lofty standards in their latest game versus Drake, shooting 45.1 percent from the floor, but they were able to pull away down the stretch thanks to an impressive showing at the foul line (23- of-29). Reigning Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week Semaj Christon tallied 16 points, seven assists and six rebounds, while his backcourt mate Dee Davis netted 15 points. Justin Martin and Jeff Robinson scored 13 points apiece, with Martin also grabbing a team-high eight rebounds. The balanced scoring attack was no accident, as all five starters average in double figures. Davis paces the squad with 14.3 ppg with Christon (14.2 ppg) hot on his heels, and the two combine to hand out nearly 11 assists per game. Martin (12.3 ppg), Robinson (14.2 ppg) and Travis Taylor (10.3 ppg) are solid frontcourt assets as each averages between 5.2 and 6.3 rpg.
Purdue has a modest field goal percentage (.436), but it is able to have nearly an eight-point scoring margin by holding its opponents to just 38.2 percent shooting from the floor and outrebounding teams by a plus-8.8 margin. The Boilermakers were efficient from the field (25-of-49) and from beyond the three-point line (8-of-18) in their 12-point road victory over Clemson. D.J. Byrd scored a season-high 22 points on 7-of-12 from the field, upping his season average to a team-best 12.7 ppg. Terone Johnson tallied 13 points, six assists, and six rebounds, while A.J. Hammons and Ronnie Johnson each chipped in 10 points. Other than Byrd, Terone Johnson (11.4 ppg) is the only other Purdue player to score in double figures, but he is doing so on just 37.3 percent shooting. The team relies on help from its role players, as eight others average between 3.2 and 9.0 ppg.
Purdue will have the home crowd on its side, and it can certainly body up the Musketeers in the paint, but the Boilermakers lack dynamic playmakers at the offensive end of the floor. Figure Davis and Christon to continue their hot streaks for Xavier as it claims an impressive road victory.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Xavier 75, Purdue 70
12/01 10:37:14 ET