No. 25 Xavier 93, St. Bonaventure 72
The buzzer sounded, the confetti flew. Xavier was about to cut
down a net again.
Old stuff? Never.
The 25th-ranked Musketeers won a share of their fourth straight
Atlantic 10 regular-season title on Saturday, riding the emotion of
senior day and Jordan Crawford’s 22 points to a 93-72 victory over
St. Bonaventure. Then, they broke out those well-worn scissors.
“There’s a legacy to uphold,” said first-year coach Chris
Mack, who used them last. “I’m glad these guys understood it as
well as the past groups.”
The Musketeers (23-7, 14-2) share the title with No. 20 Temple,
which beat George Washington earlier in the day. Xavier is the
second team in league history to win four straight – Massachusetts
got five in a row from 1992-96.
“Making history – there’s nothing like it,” said senior center
Jason Love, the team’s lone player who was part of all four titles.
“It’s hard to do.”
St. Bonaventure (14-15, 7-9) had been on its best streak of the
season, winning four in a row. The Musketeers crushed that momentum
with an opening 26-6 run. Andrew Nicholson led the Bonnies with 21
“Jason Love and Jordan Crawford are two special players, and
they’ve got great role guys,” Bonnies coach Mark Schmidt said.
“They were so much more physical than we were, especially
A shower of blue-and-white confetti fell from the rafters after
reserve guard Brian Walsh dribbled out the final seconds at
midcourt. Love held up a large sign listing those four straight
titles, and guard Terrell Holloway carried a sign that read, “X 4
Mack was last to climb the stepladder. He made the final snip
that freed the net, then held it up in celebration.
Love was honored before the game and had 14 points and nine
rebounds against a double-teaming defense. He got a standing
ovation when he left with 2:36 to go. Xavier won 20 games with
fewer than two seniors on the roster for the first time in its
Crawford, the league’s leading scorer, went 8 of 12 from the
field and pulled off several acrobatic moves to the basket. Fans
cheered “One more year!” when Crawford sliced through the defense
for a finger-roll layup.
The sophomore guard had to watch the championship celebration in
a sweat suit last season, when he was sitting out after
transferring from Indiana. This time, he snipped a piece of net and
stored it over his right ear. Asked if he thought that it might be
his last game at the Cintas Center as well – he could decide to go
to the NBA – Crawford said, “Naw, I didn’t think about that at
The Musketeers have quite a collection of regular-season titles
– eight during their 15 seasons in the Atlantic 10. This was one of
the most unexpected.
With only one senior returning, the Musketeers weren’t picked to
win it. They pulled it off by continuing their tradition of playing
tough at home, and grew steadily as the season went along. They won
11 of their last 12 games, including a 76-64 victory at
Xavier has won all 32 of its A-10 home games since the start of
the 2006-07 season, the second-longest streak in league history.
Temple won 34 straight. Xavier has won 24 consecutive home games
overall, tied for the third-longest active streak in Division
Love, a 6-foot-9 center, fought back tears when he was
introduced on court before the game and received a large framed
photograph of himself. He held it over his head to show the
Then, the Musketeers transferred that energy into a huge early
lead. With the Bonnies’ defense focused on stopping Love, Jamel
McLean took advantage by getting open inside for a pair of
three-point plays. He had eight points in the 26-6 surge.
Crawford hit a 3-pointer, made a pair of layups, then passed to
Kenny Frease for a fastbreak dunk that put Xavier up 68-46 midway
through the second half and began the countdown to the net