Xavier begins tournament against Ole Miss

Mar 19, 2015 - 2:37 PM Jacksonville, FL (SportsNetwork.com) - Fresh off an epic comeback win in the first round of the NCAA Tournament on Tuesday night in Dayton, the Ole Miss Rebels now go up against the Xavier Musketeers in the second round at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena on Thursday afternoon.

Into the NCAA Tournament for the eighth time in program history, the 11th- seeded Rebels appeared to be on their way to an early exit in the West Region two nights ago when they fell behind by double figures early against BYU. But a resilient crew came out in the second half and erased what was once a 17- point deficit and turned it into a 94-90 victory. With the favorable outcome, the Rebels moved to 5-7 in the tournament all-time

As for the Musketeers, who are making their ninth tourney appearance in 10 years, they are one of six Big East Conference programs to make the Big Dance this year. They are included in the annual event for the 25th time overall and received an at-large bid for the 15th time.

Reaching the Elite Eight on two occasions, the Musketeers are coming off a modest regular season in which they finished 21-13 overall, but were only 9-9 in Big East action. The squad did make some noise in the conference tournament however, defeating both Butler and Georgetown, each of which was ranked in the Top-25, before bowing to fourth-ranked Villanova in the title game, 69-52.

The winner of this first-ever meeting will head to the third round on Saturday to take on the survivor of the Georgia State/Baylor meeting.

While Ole Miss was converting a total of just 12 field goals in the first half against the Cougars two nights ago, the opposition was knocking down 10-of-15 behind the 3-point line alone, leading to a 17-point halftime lead that seemed insurmountable. However, Stefan Moody rallied the Rebels as he tallied 26 points, one of six to score in double figures, as Ole Miss pulled off the comeback bid.

Before fouling out, M.J. Rhett hit for 20 points, followed by Jarvis Summers with 11 and 10 assists, while La Darius White, Sebastian Saiz and Martavious Newby all dropped in 10 points, the last two also clearing nine rebounds in the frantic effort that saw the Rebels suffer only seven turnovers in the contest and force 15 by BYU.

Moody, a starter in all but one game this season, continues to be the spark for the Rebels as he generates 16.6 ppg, nailing a team-high 76 shots out on the perimeter and 90.2 percent of his tries at the free-throw line. Summers checks in with 12.4 ppg and while he shoots just 33.8 percent from the field, including a dismal 25.4 percent on the outside, he is still a much-valued performer thanks to 153 assists.

Xavier is the poster child for balance these days, producing 73.6 ppg but having just three players averaging double-digit points. It also should be noted that Matt Stainbrook is the top scorer with only 12.0 ppg, which means there are plenty of other players who have the ability to turn a game around all on their own. Stainbrook is responsible for a team-high 6.8 rpg as well, not to mention 80 assists which, while it may not sound like a lot, is actually the second-most on the unit.

Topping the Musketeers in the passing department is Dee Davis (8.5 ppg) with a staggering 209 assists, which help to cover up the fact that he is converting his perimeter attempts at only 29.9 percent. Trevon Bluiett and Myles Davis check in wiocked shots (260 - 7.9 per game). The Longhorns also hold an impressive +8.3 rebounding margin.

Scoring for Texas comes from a number of sources, including a trio of double- digit threats. Sophomore guard Isaiah Taylor shoots a modest .401 from the field, but he is tops on the team in both scoring (13.0 ppg) and assists (4.6 apg). Freshman forward Myles Turner (10.4 ppg) provides a spark off the bench for the most part and leads the team in rebounding (6.4 rpg) and blocked shots (88). Senior forward Jonathan Holmes (10.2 ppg, 6.2 rpg) is another frontcourt presence for the Longhorns.

The offensive numbers haven't been all that impressive for Butler this season, but the Bulldogs have proved to be at their best against better competition. The team enters the postseason averaging 69.6 ppg, while maintaining a solid +6.4 rebounding margin.

While the overall scoring numbers may not be eye-popping, junior guard Kellen Dunham is a difference maker for Butler. The junior guard was certainly among the Big East's top scoring threats this season and enters this game averaging a hefty 16.7 ppg, due in large part to his efficiency from long range (73- of-176 -- .415). Fellow junior Roosevelt Jones and sophomore Andrew Chrabascz give the team options at 12.6 and 11.1 ppg, respectively. The starting five also includes seniors Alex Barlow (9.2 ppg) and Kameron Woods (7.8 ppg, 9.8 rpg).

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