Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Xavier Poses Tall Task for Small Dukes

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Xavier Poses Tall Task for Small Dukes

Article excerpt

Xavier's backcourts have posed problems for Atlantic 10 Conference rivals for years.

The current backcourt of Tu Holloway and Mark Lyons is one of the most highly regarded guard duos going. Together, the two guards score an average of 34.4 points a game. Add in a huge frontcourt, and Duquesne will have its hands full tonight at the Cintas Center as the Dukes try to snap the Musketeers' 40-game homecourt win streak.

"[Holloway and Lyons are] two real good guards. They gave us trouble last year, so we just want to try and contain them and force other players to do things they haven't been doing this year," said Dukes guard Eric Evans.

The Dukes are coming off a 66-52 win against St. Bonaventure that drew them to 1-1 in the A-10 and 10-6 overall.

They are ranked No. 2 in the nation in turnover margin at a plus 6.6 and are getting 6.3 assists and three steals per game from guard T.J. McConnell -- both league-leading statistics.

"I think we just need to play like we've been playing. Push the ball, get back on defense and stop their transition," McConnell said. "Those guys are two of the best in the A-10. If we get back and play our game, we'll be all right."

Xavier is 10-5 overall, 1-1 in the league, but has gone 2-5 since the bloody, bench-clearing brawl Dec. 10 against rival Cincinnati that led to four players' suspensions.

With less than 10 seconds left in Xavier's 76-53 win, the officials stopped the game.

"Xavier is one of the top teams in the nation still. They had the little incident, but we know they're a real good team," Evans said. "This is a big opportunity for us."

Coach Ron Everhart said he is more concerned with the strength of Xavier's frontcourt: 7-foot center Kenny Frease, 6-8 forwards Andre Walker and Travis Taylor, and 6-10 Jeff Robinson off the bench.

"Their guards concern anybody. But, with Xavier, they're so good up front with Frease, Walker and Taylor. Any team that is good enough to bring Robinson off the bench ... they're pretty solid," Everhart said. …

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