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Xavier v. Georgia: Recap

What Happened: Xavier 65-Georgia 57

Georgia's Student Section
Xavier probably needed one more marquee non-conference win to really look good come Selection Sunday. This, then, was their final chance to go on the road and grab a win that would impress the committee. None of the first half collapse antics would have done tonight, a complete game was needed.

Early on it was the same old story. Kenny Frease was getting easy buckets, Tu Holloway was making sure everyone was involved, and Jamel McLean was efforting all over the place. Unfortunately for Xavier, Georgia wasn't inclined to simply roll over.In front of a not-packed house of not-rabid fans, the Bulldogs simply refused to go away. Every early Xavier run was answered in kind by Georgia. The game went back and forth for quite some time as the announcers undoubtedly fought the urge to make the overplayed "heavyweights" analogy. On a side note, Jay Williams has quietly become an excellent analyst. He relies on nothing more than a knowledge of the game and a humble delivery to carry him, and it's excellent. With the game still very much in the balance at halftime, every Xavier fan knew what was coming. Every Georgia fan was elsewhere.

This season Tu Holloway has had his share of slow starts, but each time he seems to come back with a vengeance in the second half. 22 second half points against St. Bonaventure, 24 against Richmond, and 20 against St. Louis all stand out. True to (Tu?) form, he did it again here, but first he got a helping hand from his backcourt mates.

Happy Dante
Dante Jackson has been much, and rightfully, maligned this year. Tonight. he took some steps toward becoming a useful player again. 9-4-1 won't win him any awards, but his two second half threes were vital to eventually overwhelming a scrappy UGA team. Dante is now averaging nearly eight points per game and is starting to be the shooting option needed to open up the middle.

When Dante wasn't the spark, Mark Lyons was. Visibly frustrated with a Georgia run and Tu's off shooting, Lyons attacked relentlessly early in the second half. Seven of his 14 came in a 2:10 stretch when Georgia was beginning to hit stride and Frease, the offense to that point, was on the bench. Lyons drove, drove, and drove again for seven straight points that kept the Musketeers in the game.

But if Dante and Cheeks kept the Muskies in the game everyone in the gym (the teams and a few parents) knew who would get the ball when it was time to win it. With 13:34 to play Tu Holloway had not scored, from that point on, he went 3-5 from the floor, buried 11 free throws, and grabbed three rebounds. Jay Williams had said briefly before that he was waiting for Holloway to grab the game, and the junior from Hempstead responded. When it was all said and done another win was in the books and Xavier was back on a roll.

Game balls:

Tu Holloway: 18-5-5 on a night when he clearly didn't have his best game is unbelievable. When the situation demands it, Holloway steps up. He has that killer mentality that lets him completely dominate a game late, and he knows it.

Jamel McLean: Georgia expected to be able to control the boards this game, but McLean nearly single-handedly kept it close. 12-10-1 on 3-10 from the floor isn't great on its face but it surely is when you consider the size advantage the Bulldogs held.

Not so much:

Jeff Robinson: Robinson took one shot, had it blocked, and retreated back into his shell. Whatever is wrong with him mentally right now is no small thing. His passing has taken the added urgency that is a telltale sign of a struggling player overcompensating.

Final thoughts:

An SEC team with no bad losses wasn't a match for Xavier tonight. This team continues to perplex, but there is no question they have the talent to go places.

Next game: Sat @2pm @ Duquesne.