Musketeers pummel Rams, Saunders helps Dukes in win
Sunday’s one-sided affair between Xavier and Fordham revealed a significant gap between the top team in the Atlantic 10 and the bottom – 48 points to be exact.
The Musketeers (15-6, 7-1 A-10) tied a Cintas Center record with an 108-60 victory over the Rams, and have now won 21 consecutive games on their home court, the fifth longest active streak in the nation. They sit at the top of the A-10, just one win ahead of both Charlotte and No. 19 Temple.
Sophomore Terrell Holloway posted a career-high in assists with 10, marking the first time a Musketeer boasted a double-digit assist game since Stanley Burrell accomplished the feat in 2008 against Duquesne.
Sophomore guard Jordan Crawford led Xavier by collecting 23 points in 26 minutes on 7-of-11 shooting, while Jamel McLean, a junior forward, contributed 16 points and seven rebounds. Sophomore center Kenny Frease finished with 14 points on 7-of-10 shooting and grabbed eight rebounds in 17 minutes of action.
The Rams (2-18, 0-8 A-10) continued to perfect its doormat position in the A-10, shooting 35 percent from the field, including 3-of-15 from 3-point range. Senior guard Brenton Butler and freshman forward Chris Gaston combined for 49 out of their team’s 60 total points. Only three other Rams were able to come out with points in front of a crowd that saw their Musketeers build a lead to as many as 50.
Xavier will visit Amherst for a Wednesday night matchup against Massachusetts at the Mullins Center. The Minutemen are coming off a 72-58 loss to Charlotte on Saturday.
Saunders Lifts Dukes Over Hawks
Junior forward Damian Saunders had 15 points, 14 rebounds and seven blocks for Duquesne, as the Dukes held on for a 74-71 home win over Saint Joseph’s on Sunday.
Sophomore guard/forward Melquan Bolding led the Dukes (11-10, 2-5 A-10) with 24 points on 9-of-13 shooting. Duquesne came out victorious, despite missing four of 10 free throws over the final 3:13.
The Hawks (8-13, 2-5 A-10) tied the game with 1:54 left on a tip-in by Idris Hilliard, who ended with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Saunders came back with a layup and followed with a blocked shot. Saunders tipped the ball ahead, finishing the play with his fourth dunk of the game to put the Dukes up 70-66 with just under a minute to play.
With less than 20 seconds left, Darrin Govens hit a deep 3-pointer to make it a one-point game. But junior Bill Clark hit one of two free throws before Saint Joseph’s Bryant Irwin was called for travelling with 7.6 seconds left. One more free throw by Duquesne made it a three-point game, and the game ended as a desperation 3-pointer by Carl Jones missed.
For his career, Saunders has more blocks (193), steals (172) and assists (173) than turnovers (166) He also leads the nation with 16 double- doubles.
SJU drops to 1-8 on the road, and is tied with the Minutemen, Dukes, and George Washington for 10th place in the A-10.
Rams Defeat Stubborn Colonials
Rhode Island took down the Colonials, 72-66, on Saturday afternoon to improve to 17-3 overall and 5-2 in the Atlantic 10.
Senior guard Keith Cothran scored a team-high 14 points, despite 4-of-12 shooting, while teammates Akeem Richmond and Lamonte Ulmer contributed with 11 and 10 points respectively. Senior forward Delroy James led the Rams with nine rebounds to go along with eight points and three blocks.
URI started the game on a 13-6 run, despite hitting only two if its first nine shots, as the Rams took a 37-26 advantage into halftime.
In the second half, the Colonials (12-8, 2-5 A-10) came out with a strong push to cut the deficit to six points with 15:34 left in the game. GWU kept the game close, never falling behind by more than eight and getting as close as three. However, clutch free throw shooting by Ulmer at the end of the game put the Rams up by eight with 24 seconds remaining.
The Rams kept pace with Richmond, who beat St. Louis 62-36 on Saturday, for fourth place in the A-10. The Ram’s next game is today at La Salle.
Pete Vasquez can be reached at email@example.com.