Xavier 68, W. Michigan 65
Down by 11 points at the start of the second half, Terrell
”Tu” Holloway knew it was time to start making a difference.
Holloway scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half Friday
night, hitting all but one of his shots while rallying the depleted
Musketeers to a 68-65 victory over Western Michigan that showed
what one determined point guard can do when the pressure’s on.
”Sometimes the game gets a little hard and you lose
consciousness and want to go out and make plays,” said Holloway,
who was 6 of 7 from the field in the second half. ”That’s all it
was in the second half. We needed to make a lot of plays, and I
felt I was the guy to do it.”
Nobody does it better for Xavier (1-0), which trailed most of
the game with its depleted front line in foul trouble and its
freshmen trying to fit in. Holloway changed the momentum, scoring
10 points during a 15-2 run that got the Musketeers back in the
His 3-pointer from the right corner put them ahead to stay 64-61
with 1:14 to go.
”The bigger the moment, the bigger Tu plays,” coach Chris Mack
said. ”In the second half, he was really clutch.”
The Musketeers extended the nation’s third-longest home-court
winning streak to 25 games. Xavier has won its last 21 season
openers, though this one was a real struggle.
Flenard Whitfield scored 15 for Western Michigan (0-1), which
won 18 games last season and has only one senior. Whitfield’s
3-pointer from the top of the key fell off the rim at the
For the first time in six years, the Broncos started a true
freshman center. Six-foot-9, 290-pound Matt Stainbrook had his way
for a time against Xavier’s depleted and inexperienced front line,
finishing with 10 points and seven rebounds. The Broncos had no
answer for Holloway.
”That showed what a good player can do at that time of the
game,” Western Michigan coach Steve Hawkins said. ”He took it
over. He was very aggressive.”
Xavier’s lack of depth showed. The Musketeers’ reserves failed
”It’s painfully obvious at this point that we need more bench
production,” Mack said. ”Whether it was the first-game jitters,
the speed of the game, whatever, that has to be put behind
Three-point leader Brad Redford tore up a knee during practice,
and Jamel McLean – the top returning rebounder and front-line
scorer – broke a bone below his left eye during an exhibition.
McLean warmed up before the game, wearing protective glasses, then
sat on the bench and watched Xavier’s front line get dominated.
Western Michigan led 32-23 at halftime, controlling the boards
23-12 and allowing Xavier only one offensive rebound. Mack screamed
so loud in the locker room at halftime that his voice carried down
”We all felt a little pressure,” said Holloway, who missed
five of his six shots in the first half.
The Musketeers opened the second half with Holloway’s turnover,
and Stainbrook’s bank shot gave Western Michigan its biggest lead
Seven-foot junior center Kenny Frease picked up his third foul
with 15:05 left, leaving it up to Holloway to lead the comeback. He
hit a driving bank shot and a fall-away jumper that cut it to 40-38
with 11:58 to go.
Frease got back in the game and quickly picked up a technical –
his fourth foul – while mixing it up with Stainbrook. Stainbrook
had a putback, and Whitfield’s jumper rebuilt the lead to
Holloway then took the game into his hands, hitting driving
lay-ins, free throws and a pair of 3-pointers that gave Xavier to a
57-51 lead with 4:14 to go.