Mastodons visit Queen City to take on 13th-ranked Musketeers

Nov 15, 2011 - 3:46 PM Cincinnati, OH (Sports Network) - A pair of teams coming off season-opening wins will meet in Cincinnati tonight, as the IUPU-Fort Wayne Mastodons challenge the 13th-ranked Xavier Musketeers.

IPFW is 1-0 on the young season after topping Nebraska-Omaha (83-72) in its opener at home this past Saturday. The Mastodons, who play their basketball out of the Summit League and have a new head coach in Tony Jasick, went 18-12 last season (school record since moving to Division I), and won 11 of their 18 conference bouts.

Xavier got past visiting Morgan State in its lidlifter last Friday, 74-63, to claim its 22nd straight season-opening win. The Musketeers are the popular pick to win the Atlantic 10 Conference this season, but there will be challenges during the non-league portion of the schedule as dates with Georgia, Vanderbilt, Purdue, Cincinnati and Gonzaga in particular should have coach Chris Mack's club battle-tested.

Xavier owns a 3-0 advantage in the all-time series with IPFW, which includes a 76-66 overtime victory at home last season.

Frank Gaines poured in 29 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Trey McCorkle logged a double-double consisting of 19 points and 11 boards to power the Mastodons to their 11-point win over Nebraska-Omaha on Saturday. Jason Smeathers chipped in 10 points for IPFW, which shot 49.2 percent from the field while allowing 41.5 percent to its opponent. Omaha shot just 29.2 percent from three-point range and the 'Dons claimed a 17-11 edge in points from the foul line. IPFW turned the ball over 18 times, so you can be sure coach Jasick was preaching ball control following the win. Gaines is the key to the team's success, as he is coming off a season in which he averaged 14.8 points and 6.2 rebounds per game.

Xavier is in the midst of a four-game homestand to kick off the 2011-12 campaign, and used a 13-1 run in the second half to pull away from Morgan State last Friday to log the 11-point win. Mark Lyons led all scorers with 22 points, while Dezmine Wells added 12 points and Kenny Frease chipped in with 10. The Musketeers shot 49.1 percent from the floor to the Bears' 32.8 percent, and Xavier was able to win despite a 23-12 deficit in points from the foul line. XU played the game without All-American guard Tu Holloway, but he is expected in the lineup tonight. Holloway, who had started 67 consecutive games prior to missing the opener, is a bona fide superstar, having averaged 19.7 points and 5.4 assists per game last season.

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