No. 12 Xavier 70, Georgia 56
Tu Holloway had a bag of ice on his shooting hand after the
game, which might normally be an ominous sign for No. 12
Not with the way their newcomers are playing so far this
Holloway scored 12 points despite a sore finger on his right
hand Friday night, and the Musketeers turned to their balance and
their youngsters for a 70-56 victory over poor-shooting
Xavier (4-0) extended its success against the Southeastern
Conference by making full use of its roster for the first time this
season. Only one player was on the floor for more than 26 minutes –
center Kenny Frease, who had 12 points in 30 minutes.
Their senior point guard has more options than ever this
”It makes the game a lot easier for me,” Holloway said. ”I
don’t have to force the issue and sometimes take bad shots or have
bad turnovers because I’m trying to make plays. As a point guard,
that’s what I want. Maybe if I was a shooting guard, I wouldn’t be
happy. But I’m a point guard. It makes the game easy for me when I
can dish the rock off.”
Holloway had to do more passing than shooting on Friday. He bent
a finger on his shooting hand while diving for a ball in practice
last week. Coach Chris Mack said the injury prevented him from
taking any long shots.
”He’s such a tough kid. He just seems to get beat up little
bit,” Mack said. ”He let the game come to him. He was in attack
mode and played hard defensively and didn’t let that stop him from
being the leader he is.”
Georgia (3-2) missed its first 11 shots, fell behind 10-0 and
never recovered, trailing by 36 points midway through the second
half. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope scored 14 for the Bulldogs, who shot
32 percent from the field.
”We got off to a very slow start,” coach Mark Fox said.
Xavier has won eight of its last nine games against SEC teams
since 2008, beating Georgia three times during that span. The
Musketeers also have wins over Florida, Auburn and Louisiana
Their only SEC defeat was at home to Florida last season, the
Musketeers’ only loss in their last 43 games at the Cintas
Xavier won in Athens 65-57 last season, when Holloway failed to
score in the first half, then had 18 to help the Musketeers pull
Holloway is trying to get into a rhythm after a tough opening
stretch. He had to sit out the opener against Morgan State because
he played too many summer games, a violation of NCAA rules. He
returned and had 24 points against IPFW, but was physically subpar
in a 66-60 win over Miami of Ohio a week ago.
Holloway was light-headed in the days leading up to the Miami
game, in which he scored only nine points on 3-of-12 shooting. Now,
he’s also contending with the sore hand.
The Bulldogs were coming off 61-57 win over Notre Dame on
Tuesday in the CBE Classic consolation game. They lost to No. 20
California a day earlier.
The Musketeers showed off their newcomers while taking control.
At one juncture during the 10-0 opening run, Mack had freshman
point guard Dee Davis, freshman forward Dez Wells, freshman forward
Justin Martin, junior Travis Taylor and junior guard Mark Lyons on
the floor. Taylor finished with 10 points and 12 rebounds.
”We’re not a finished product yet,” Taylor said. ”Today
showed a great sight for the future, but we’re still bonding.”
Mack wanted to get his newcomers into the game early and let
them play significant roles.
”I love our freshmen,” Mack said. ”I’ve never coached where I
felt I have as many players that are talented enough and working
hard enough to get into the game. I’ve never had that as a
Xavier pushed the lead to 14-3 with Georgia going 1 of 16 from
the field with six turnovers in the first 10 minutes. Wells had the
most crowd-pleasing play during the run, taking the ball around his
back to avoid a steal while driving for a layup.
It was 28-19 at the half, with seven Xavier players scoring,
none more than six points. The Bulldogs were 6 of 28 from the field
with 11 turnovers.
Holloway got involved during a 12-point run that opened the
second half and pushed the lead to 40-19. He hit a pair of free
throws, a layup and a fadeaway jumper. Georgia missed five shots
and had two turnovers during the decisive spurt.