CINCINNATI (AP) - Kenny Frease took the talk to heart.
Xavier coach Chris Mack took the 7-foot sophomore aside this
week and talked to him about stepping up his game. Frease responded
with his first career double-double Thursday night, helping the
Musketeers dominate upfront in an 86-50 win over Duquesne.
Frease had scored only two points in each of his last three
games, prompting the talk from his coach.
"He talked to me about working a little harder off the court
other than practice - getting to the gym, watching more film,"
Frease said. "Today was a good day for me."
It was good for everybody on Xavier's front line. Jason Love
scored 17 points off an array of one-hand shots, helping the
Musketeers extend their run of home-court success.
The Musketeers (14-6, 6-1 Atlantic 10) have won their last 20
games at the Cintas Center, their longest streak since the arena
opened for the 2000-01 season and the fifth-longest active streak
in Division I.
Xavier also has won its last 28 Atlantic 10 games at home, six
shy of matching Temple's conference record.
Love, the Musketeers' lone senior, went 8 of 9 from the field
and got nine rebounds. He repeatedly got into position for hook
shots, using either hand.
"I've always felt I had (confidence in) it, but on the teams I
was on before, my role wasn't to score much," said Love, who
averaged 5.2 points in his first three seasons. "Being a senior,
I've got to step up and provide that inside presence that we
Frease finished with 13 points and tied his career high with 12
rebounds, pleasing his coach.
"I'm not going to take any credit," Mack said. "I told Kenny
yesterday that no matter how much your coaches may want it for you,
you're going to have to want it."
Jordan Crawford added 17 points for Xavier, which shot 53
percent from the field and had five players finish in double
figures. The Musketeers dominated in rebounds 47-26.
Duquesne (10-10, 1-5) was led by Melquan Bolding's 14 points.
Xavier wore throwback jerseys similar to the ones they wore in
the 1970s - the school name in block white letters outlined in
Xavier also made a lineup change, starting 6-foot-8 forward
Jamel McLean, who came off the bench in the last 10 games. McLean
was coming off a big game - 16 points and eight rebounds in a win
over Rhode Island - and Xavier needed to counteract 6-foot-7
forward Damian Saunders, who is the Atlantic 10's top rebounder and
"I thought that because of the way he played against Rhode
Island and in practice, he earned a starting spot," Mack said.
Xavier's offense had its way in the first half, shooting 55
percent from the field while the Musketeers pulled ahead 43-23.
Xavier worked the ball inside for point-blank shots early, then
made 3s when the Dukes went to a zone that took away the baseline.
By contrast, one of the Atlantic 10's worst shooting teams
couldn't make an open shot. The Dukes are last in the league in
free-throw shooting (60 percent) and 3-point shooting (35 percent)
and third-worst overall from the field (41 percent). It showed.
The Dukes' 23 points were the fewest against Xavier in any half
this season. They went 9 of 26 from the field with eight turnovers.
Saunders wasn't much of a factor, picking up his second foul less
than seven minutes into the game. Saunders is tied for most
double-doubles in the nation with 15.
Saunders finished with six points and eight rebounds. McLean had
eight points and three rebounds.
The Musketeers had a couple of defensive lapses early in the
second half, making coach Chris Mack angry. They responded with a
13-0 run that featured a three-point play and driving layup by
Crawford and pushed the lead to 62-32. Duquesne never threatened
Xavier topped the 80-point mark for the ninth time. The
Musketeers lead the conference in scoring at 77.9 points per game.
(Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)