Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - The 16th-ranked Saint Louis Billikens can
clinch at least a share of the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season title on
Wednesday as the visit the unfriendly confines of the Cintas Center to duel
with the Xavier Musketeers.
The Billikens have been one of the biggest surprises in the nation this
season. Interim coach Jim Crews has done a remarkable job and led his unit to
11 straight victories, including a 66-58 road win at George Washington on
Saturday. Junior forward Dwayne Evans registered his second consecutive
double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds to lead the charge, while the
Billikens outscored the Colonials, 21-8, at the charity stripe. A win in this
one would also guarantee SLU the No. 1 seed in the A-10 Tournament as it
defeated Virginia Commonwealth, 76-62, in the only meeting between the first
and second place schools.
Evans is pacing the Billikens with 12.6 points and 7.2 rebounds per tilt while
Cody Ellis is second in both categories with 10.6 points and 3.5 boards per
game. SLU has defeated a school record four ranked foes this season. The
Billikens lead the A-10 and are 19th nationally in scoring defense, yielding
Xavier holds the all-time series lead at 29-14. Last year, SLU ended Xavier's
43-game conference home winning streak with a 73-68 victory at Cintas Center.
SLU then defeated the Musketeers 70-59 during the regular season at Chaifetz
Arena. However, Xavier prevailed 71-64 in the semifinals of the A-10
Tournament in Atlantic City.
Chris Mack's Musketeers enter with a 16-12 overall record after suffering a
tough, 77-72 loss to Massachusetts at home on Saturday. Xavier managed to hold
a 41-30 advantage in rebounding, but the Minutemen converted 49,1 percent of
their field goal tries including 13-of-25 from 3-point range. The loss dropped
Xavier to 52-3 in Atlantic 10 home games since 2007. The Musketeers are 10-4
at the Cintas Center this season.
Semaj Christon led Xavier with 17 points and Isaiah Philmore added 14 in its
loss to UMass. Travis Taylor, who paces the A-10 on the boards with 8.6 rpg,
grabbed eight rebounds to go along with 10 points, while the 3-point sniper
Brad Redford chipped in 13 points off the bench. Taylor could be the first
Musketeer to lead the A-10 in rebounding since NBA star David West. The
freshman Christon will be a key contributor for the Musketeers for years to
come as he has produced 15.0 points and 4.6 assists per tilt in his first
campaign through college basketball.
The Sports Network