What happened: Xavier 85 - Richmond 62
So Tu Holloway went off, huh? His 33-7-5 on 7-15/2-3/17-17 shooting led Xavier over Richmond. Holloway has a penchant for getting to the line anyway, but grabbing more than half his points from the line against a team that has been notoriously stingy in allowing opponents to get there is incredibly impressive. Other feats he performed today that could be filed under that heading include not missing on any of his 17 FTA and somehow scoring five points in the last two seconds of the first half. That burst at the end of the half gave Xavier their first breathing room in a game that had been nip and tuck all the way.
Perhaps even more encouraging going forward than Holloway's dominance was the performance put up by Xavier's defense on one of the best shooting teams in the nation. The .356/.333/.625 shooting line put up by Richmond was well below their averages on the season. It's hard to say if this was because of great defense by Xavier or an off day by the Spiders, but those numbers went a long way towards allowing Xavier to stay in the game early and pull away late.
Xavier was able emphasize the post even while Holloway was dominating the perimeter. The 17 shot attempts for which McLean and Frease combined showed Xavier's commitment to get the ball inside, and the 25 boards they and Jeff Robinson combined for equaled the total for the entire Richmond team. Kenny in particular was impressively efficient, going for 19-7-1 on 8-10/0-0/3-4. Robinson's 4 points and 7 rebounds included a tip dunk you'll probably see on ESPN tonight.
Xavier didn't really have a defensive answer for Justin Harper; his 20-5-2 came on 7-10/3-5/3-4 shooting. Richmond's guard play was particularly poor though; starters Kevin Anderson and Darien Brothers combined for 24-5-5 on 8-28/4-17/4-4 shooting, though they did manage to avoid turning the ball over. Their struggles from the floor helped turn Harper's line from "vexing" to "interesting" to Xavier fans.
Odds and ends:
-Xavier is now in sole possession of the conference lead, pending the outcome of the Duquesne v. Dayton game tomorrow.
-Dante continues to struggle, posting a 1-6/0-3/4-4 shooting line on his way to 6-4-4.
-Of Xavier players with more than one minute played, only Kenny avoided turning the ball over.
-Stay tuned for a full recap from Brad.