Game Notes: Xavier vs. St. Joseph's, first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament
Casey Weldon, WCPO Digital
5:51 PM, Mar 14, 2013
6:08 PM, Mar 14, 2013
NEW YORK - The seventh-seeded Xavier Musketeers take on the 10th-seeded St. Joseph's Hawks in the first round of the Atlantic 10 Tournament Thursday night at 6:30 p.m. from the Barclays Center in New York.
Xavier (17-13, 9-7 A-10), which is coming into the game off a loss to the Butler Bulldogs to close out the regular-season, lost its only meeting with St. Joe's (17-12, 8-8) this season on Jan. 26, 59-49. Freshman Semaj Christon scored a game-high 16 points, but the rest of the Musketeers struggled to find their rhythm in Philadelphia as the Hawks came out on top.
Thursday night's get-together carries much more weight for both teams, as they are playing for their postseason lives after up-and-down regular seasons. The winner of the game will improve its stock for a likely berth in the NIT and continue their hopes of claiming an automatic NCAA berth by winning the conference tournament title.
Below is a collection of game notes provided by the sports information departments at Xavier and St. Joe's.
Time: Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 6:30 p.m.
Location: Barclays Center (18,000) in Brooklyn, N.Y.
Television: NBC Sports Network with play-by-play from Mike Korey and analysis from David Kaplan. Brooke Weisbrod will be the sideline reporter.
Radio: 700 WLW-AM with play-by-play from XU Hall of Famer and former Musketeer standout Joe Sunderman (‘79) and analysis from Xavier Hall of Famer and XU all-time leading scorer Byron Larkin (‘88). The XU broadcast is available via iHeart Radio.
What's up next: The winner of the game will meet second-seeded Virginia Commonwealth Friday at 6:30 p.m.
About the Hawks
F‐ #13 Ronald Roberts 11.6 points 8.5 rebounds 1.0 assists
F‐ #21 Halil Kanacevic 8.4 points 7.0 rebounds 3.3 assists
F‐ #11 Daryus Quarles 2.2 points 1.3 rebounds 0.4 assists (Has started past two games) OR F‐ #1 C.J. Aiken 10.9 points 5.6 rebounds 1.0 assists
G‐ #35 Carl Jones 14.1 points 2.8 rebounds 2.6 assists
Saint Joseph's finished the regular season winning two of the last three.
The Hawks ended the regular season with a 52-40 loss at Charlotte.
Carl Jones continues to climb the all-time scoring list at SJU and now has 1,784 points to rank fourth in school history. He is five points behind Ahmad Nivins (2005-09). He is also sixth on the all-time school made 3-pointers list (206).
This is SJU's 31st consecutive appearance in the Atlantic 10 Tournament and the Hawks have won two straight openers in the tournament and six of their last seven.
The Hawks went from scoring 80-plus points in two consecutive games to just 40 points in the regular-season finale at Charlotte. The Hawks shot 29.2 percent in the game and 13.6 percent from three-point range for their lowest point total since Feb. 6, 2007, a 56-39 loss at Villanova.
St. Joe's has qualified for 31 consecutive Atlantic 10 Tournaments, and has played in every one since joining the league in 1981-82.
SJU owns a 12-3 all-time record in Atlantic 10 First Round games, and scored an 80-64 win over Charlotte last year at Hagan Arena. The Hawks seek their third consecutive berth in the conference quarterfinals.
Saint Joseph's has posted a 33-28 all-time record in the Atlantic 10 Tournament. The Hawks have reached the championship game five times (1986, 1997, 2005, 2006, 2008).
The Hawks have already played here at the Barclays Center, with their appearance in the 2013 Coaches vs. Cancer Classic in November. SJU defeated No. 20 Notre Dame in overtime, 79-70, and then lost to Florida State, 73-65. Among the memorable efforts from the Notre Dame win were 21 points and 16 rebounds from Ronald Roberts; Chris Wilson scoring a career-high 19 points; and Langston Galloway scoring 13 points, but losing a tooth while going for a loose ball. Roberts would go on to earn All-Tournament honors.
In last year's A-10 Tournament, the Hawks were the fifth seed and defeated 12th-seeded Charlotte, 80-64, in the opening round at Hagan Arena. Carl Jones had 23 points to lead four Hawks in double figures. SJU then went to Atlantic City for the quarterfinals to face fourth-seeded St. Bonaventure, and fell in a heartbreaker, 71-68, to the eventual league champion. Jones again led the Hawks' scoring with 24 points in a contest that had 24 lead changes and nine ties.
The X's And O's
Xavier, 17-13 overall and 9-7 in the Atlantic 10 Conference, earned the no. 7 seed.
The Musketeers are playing a first-round Atlantic 10 Championship game for only the third time in 13 years. XU had earned first-round byes 10 times in the last 12 A-10 Championships, including the last six. Xavier's last two titles out of four all-time have actually been captured the last two times it has had to play a first-round game, 2006 and 2004.
The Musketeers are second in field goal percentage defense (.4050) in the A-10, a fraction of a percentage point behind Saint Joseph's (.4045). XU is second in scoring defense (62.6 points per game), and third in 3-point field goal percentage defense (.321). Xavier is second in the A-10 in rebounding margin at +5.0 per game.
Xavier senior Travis Taylor, the 2012-13 Atlantic 10 Conference Most Improved Player and an Atlantic 10 Conference Third Team selection, lead the conference in rebounding at 9.0 per game. He also led the A-10 in rebounding during conference games (10.2 rpg.). Taylor, Xavier's second-leading scorer at 11.8 ppg., had 19 points, a career-high 19 rebounds and a career-high six blocked shots in the Saint Louis win on March 6.
Freshman Semai Christon became XU's first-ever Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Year selection this season. He was also named to the 2012-13 A-10 Second Team and a member of the A-10 All-Rookie Team. Christon was a seven-time A-10 Rookie of the Week, and leads XU in scoring at 15.4 points per game, which is tied for sixth overall in the conference and leads all freshmen in the league. He has scored in double figures in 18 straight games.
He also leads XU in assists (fifth overall in league and second among freshmen at 4.7 apg.) and steals (11th overall in league at 1.4 spg.).
Christon is now second on XU's all-time freshman scoring list with 446 points and is 47 points shy of breaking the XU freshman scoring record. His 135 assists leave him five assists shy of breaking the school's freshman assist record.
Xavier junior Isaiah Philmore has averaged 11.2 ppg. and shot 58.5 percent from the field over the last 10 games.
Fourth-year head coach Chris Mack is 90-43 (.677) overall and 48-16 (.750) in A-10 regular season play as Xavier's head coach. Mack led Xavier to the NCAA Tournament in each of his first three seasons, including the NCAA Sweet 16 in 2010 and 2012.
XU is one of only four teams that have made the NCAA Sweet 16 four times in the last five years (2008-12). Xavier is one of only eight schools that have made at least the last seven straight NCAA Tournaments.