Due to the vagaries of television coverage and carrier battles over stations, neither of us was able to see Xavier last night. While this is unfortunate in the extreme, it gives a chance to do something a little different with the recap of the game.
10:00 AM- Joe Hughes promises a big performance from the Musketeers. While his "we will be ready!!!!!" was a bit over exuberant, it was certainly an indication of the mood of the team. Dante Jackson also chipped in by proclaiming it "road kill" time.
3:00 PM- As halftime approached both Shannon Russell "Three fouls on Mark Lyons. Any more, and XU's depth is going to face a stern test." and Rick Broering "Xavier hasn't played well the last 10 minutes but only down one." were commenting on Xavier's soon to be patented first half swoon. Both were, obviously, spot on.
3:30 PM- "XU trails Duquesne 49-43 and hasn't scored a fg in over 5 mins." Shannon Russell told the story as it looked like the paper tigers may have had some bite in them after all. Broering stated what everyone was thinking "Xavier is going to need Holloway to step up in the worst way here in the final 11 minutes." And, of course, he did "XU 62 Duq 53 - 4:55 2H - Holloway with a HUGE 3... X up 9." Dante Jackson "Four straight points for XU, including D. Jackson's career-high-tying 19th point," was perhaps the bigger story though.
4:00 PM and after- "Xavier 71, Duquesne 63, FINAL. The Muskies are now in sole control of the A-10 with six games to go." Shannon Russell hit it on the head, the Drive for Five still very much alive, the Musketeers prepared to head home. Seth Davis chimed in from over at ESPN with "Xavier wins at Georgia and Duquesne this week. Gotta give them strong consideration for my top 25."
Dante was the first of the players to check back in with "Thanks to all of the great Xavier nation for making the 4 hour trip.. We heard you all.. Go X!!!" Exclamation points seem appropriate. Coach Mack invited the fans back to Pennsylvania "Felt like a home game with Xavier fans invading the 'Burgh today. Why don't you all just jump on the train to Philly for the SJU game Wed??" but didn't mention if he was paying for tickets.
Dante Jackson: Finally! 19-2-1 is an Allan Houston style line, but those were 19 massive points from Dante. His confidence is clearly back, and with it his inimitable swagger. Another scoring option come March is immeasurably important.
Tu Holloway: 20-7-3. Yawn. Just another dominant performance from Tu. His five turnovers are concerning, the Dukes count on forcing them. When it mattered, he came to play. It will matter every minute of every game soon, we'll see if he rises to it with a complete 40 minutes.
If you had any doubt as to who the class of the A10 was, you shouldn't anymore. Coach Mack has taken a team in a "rebuilding year" and kept them right where they belong. Duquesne was exposed on their own home court as being mere pretenders to the throne.
Next Game: @ St. Joe's Wenesday @7pm