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January 12, 2012Record: 9-6 (Overall) 2-1 (Conference)
Notable Wins: George Washington (by 10), Dayton (by 8)
Notable Losses: Illinois (by 5), NC State (by 2), Virginia Tech (9), Cleveland St (3), Duquesne (14)
#2 Eric Mosley- 5'10 junior PG: Averaging 8 points in only 20 minutes a game. Mosley is a quick and scoring minded point guard who loves the pull up jumpshot.
#24 Matthew Wright- 6'4 sophomore SG: Averaging 8.5 points on just 37% shooting.
#11 Demetrius Conger- 6'6 junior SF: Averaging 13.3 points and 5.7 rebounds. Conger plays near the whole game and shoots over 58% from the field.
#43 Da'quan Cook- 6'8 senior PF: Role player averages 7 points and 5.2 rebounds per game.
#44 Andrew Nicholson- 6'9 senior C: Leading scorer at 15.2 points on 52% shooting to go along with 7.1 rebounds a game. Nicholson is a low block scorer that excels at getting to the foul line.
#23 Chris Johnson- 6'5 junior SF: Averaging 6.5 points in just 13 minutes a game off the bench.
#3 Charlon Kloof- 6'3 sophomore SG: Averages 4.0 points in 20 minutes off the bench.
#32 Michael Davenport- 6'5 senior SF: Averaged 11.1 points last season but will miss the remainder of season with an injury. Has been granted a medical redshirt to play next season.
Xavier Defensive Keys
-Control the boards: The Bonnies have outrebounded their opponents by 3.8 boards a game so far this season. If Xavier can limit St. Bonaventure to just one shot per possession it will slow down the scoring of the Bonnies strong frontline play.
-No cheap fouls: St. Bonaventure has shot over 50 more free throws then their opponents. Nicholson in particular gets to the foul line a lot; Frease and the other big men need to go straight up and avoid foul trouble to not Nicholson get in a rhythm, and force Coach Mack to put smaller defenders on Nicholson.
-Pressure their guards: The Bonnies backcourt is inexperienced (Mosley is a first year junior college kid and Wright a sophomore), are prone to turnovers, and are only shooting 31% from deep. There is no big strategy point here, plain and simple Xavier needs to dominate the backcourt play. Look for Tu Holloway to have another multi dimensional game from his point spot while Lyons will not allow another two point outing to happen, even if it was in a Xavier win.
Xavier Offensive Keys
-Don't settle: Opponents have only shot 41% on the season against St. Bonaventure. A big part of that comes from teams shooting jumpers against the Bonnies zone and not taking it at the big backline, led by the shotblocking abilities of Nicholson. If Xavier is getting high quality looks then they should win this game as they have way more firepower then their opponents.
-Get bench production: The Bonnies really only bring in 10.5 points off the bench each game; an area where Xavier has more quality and quantity. Last game Robinson, Redford, and some other Musketeers were able to step in and score the ball. If that trend continues it will be tough for St. Bonaventure to keep up scoring wise with Xavier.
-Use ballscreens to bother Nicholson: Xavier's base offense of ballscreen motion will take Nicholson away from the rim, where he is a very effective shotblocker, and make him stop Muskie guards twenty feet from the rim. Xavier already has a scoring advantage, and talent advantage, on the perimeter; especially with Dez Wells who the slower Conger won't be able to stay with. If Xavier can trouble Nicholson and company early expect the Bonnies to play a lot of zone.
Overall: On the surface level this appears to be a game that Xavier should handle easily. But, St. Bonaventure has played three high major teams close and beaten a good Dayton team; so they are capable of pulling the upset. The big story in this one will be Kenny Frease; the guards of Xavier should dominate their matchups, but, can Frease hold Nicholson in check? Either way Xavier should get the win here but if they hold Nicholson below his average then we should see a game that will resemble Wednesday's matchup with Duquesne against another program with inferior talent.