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Xavier 59 - 58 George Washington

By the time our difficulties are straightened up and you are reading this, you'll know that Xavier beat GW on the road. Depending on who you read you'll either be happy that another win is in the bag, or you'll be disgusted with the way it all happened. What is not open to interpration is this, Xavier is 15-7 overall, and 6-3 in conference and only a half game back of La Salle in conference.

This game was not an exercise in basketballing brilliance. Xavier's 41% from the floor was actually markedly better than the 36% that the Colonials managed. The teams combined to go 14-29 from the line and commit 32 fouls and 17 turnovers. It was ugly, inefficient, and not one for the permanent DVR. As you've probably read all about the game, this recap will be just a bit different, focusing more attention on each Xavier player.

Tu Holloway:
Good- 21/6/7 and a performance that was vintage Tu from last year. With the game on the line Tu took four of Xavier's last seven shots and essentially won the game for a team that had been uneasy all night. Tu was efficient (7-14 from the floor) and reliable, turning the ball over only three times in 39 minutes.

Bad- Not much of anything. Tu was himself again last night, and his team desperately needed it.

Mark Lyons:
Good- Lyons only turned the ball over once in 28 minutes and managed five rebounds. While the rest of his night wasn't great, keeping the ball is vital in a low scoring game. Lyons did just that.

Bad- Everything else. Lyons go himself benched for taking bad shots early in the game, went 4-13 from the floor, and went 1-4 from the line. For anyone who had forgotten what it was like when Lyons was off last year, this game was an unwelcome reminder. Not a good effort from the leading scorer.

Jeff Robinson:
Good- He won the tip!

Bad- Robinson was back to being his ineffectual self last night. He tried one of the most idiotic shots I've ever seen, apparently in an attempt to draw a foul, didn't rebound at all, and was useless defensively. Enigmatic doesn't even begin to describe Jeff right now. I just don't get it. Last night he once again looked timid and lost on the court.

Dez Wells:
Good- Wells' effort never drops, regardless of how things are going for him. He led Xavier in rebounds with seven, only turned the ball over once, and chipped in a steal and an assist. Wells ran and jumped like a wild man last night, and that kind of effort cannot be replaced on a team that lacks fire at times.

Bad- 1-6 from the floor doesn't show that Wells can get himself effectively involved in a half court game. Wells runs well and always follows a break down the floor, but he missed a dunk and did nothing to impose himself in offensive sets. More concerningly, Wells isn't getting all the way to the rim when he

drives, instead pulling up for teardrops that were good for Lionel Chalmers, but aren't for a freak of nature like Dez.

Andre Walker:
Good- 30 minutes and six rebounds for the grad student from Vandy. Walker filled in well for de facto starter Robinson.

Bad- In 30 minutes Walker managed three points. Three points will not get it done on a team that still needs another threat. Walker doesn't seem to have any back to the basket moves, and teams are neutralizing any quickness advantage he may have on a four with a hands worth of help from guards. Andre is also starting to show signs of cracking on the defensive end recently while talented bigs have run wild on X.

Brad Redford:
Good- 3-4/2-3/0-0 is a nice line for a specialist. Even better was the fact that Redford competed fiercely on defense and tried to rebound as best he could. It was only one rebound, but his effort level couldn't be questioned.

Bad- Nothing, really. This is the best you are going to get from Redford.

Travis Taylor/Dee Davis:
I put these guys together because they need the same thing, consistent execution. Davis is sometimes a lockdown on ball defender, but committed three senseless fouls by grabbing his man. Taylor rebounds like a maniac, but frequently forgets to work for position. Until both of them learn to focus, you'll only see them in fits and spurts.

Three Answers:
-Can Dezmine Wells assert himself in a half-court game? Maybe, but it wasn't on display today. Wells once again got up and down the floor - as noted above - but did not make a meaningful impact on the half court game. Wells has a motor than never quits, but until he proves he can either knock down jump shots or get to the tin on a regular basis, he's only effective in the full court game.

-Who is the team's best four? On skill, it's probably Travis Taylor. He's a whirlwind rebounder and has shown some good skills in the post. He doesn't seem to be able to put it together for any stretch of time, though, and he has a frustrating propensity for missing simple finishes. Andre Walker is the most consistent player, but he can't seem to score a lick. Xavier is going to have to continue staffing the position by committee at this point.

-Can Kenny Frease stay in a game? Kind of. Big Kenny was a big part of the Muskies attack when he was on the court, but he had trouble getting consistent minutes because of foul trouble. He was able to impact the game from tip to buzzer as much as any Xavier player other than Tu Holloway while he was in there. X has absolutely no inside game without Big Kenny; he has to be good for 27-32 minutes a game.

Next game: Saturday, @1 in Memphis. Last chance for a huge win.