Holloway leads Xavier over Rhode Island 84-66

JOE KAY AP Sports Writer Published:

CINCINNATI (AP) -- Tu Holloway had a double-double with 20 points and 10 rebounds Wednesday night, getting Xavier's sluggish offense going to an 84-66 victory over Rhode Island that kept the Musketeers locked in a second-place tie in the Atlantic 10.

Xavier (16-8, 17-3) can grab at least a share of first place when it plays at Temple (18-5, 7-2) on Saturday. The Owls rallied to beat George Washington 79-72 on Wednesday night.

The Musketeers have won five in a row against Rhode Island (5-20, 2-8) and 17 of the last 18 in their series.

Xavier was out of sync for most of the first half, throwing the ball away and missing shots. Holloway had eight points and a pair of assists during an 18-3 run throughout the closing minutes of the half and the start of the second, putting Xavier in control 33-17. The Musketeers led by as many as 25.

Travis Taylor added 12 points, and Mark Lyons had 10 off the bench for Xavier.

Billy Baron led Rhode Island with 22 points. The sophomore guard has scored in double figures in 10 of his last 13 games.

It was Xavier's first game at the Cintas Center since a 73-68 loss to Saint Louis on Jan. 25 snapped the Musketeers' A-10 record 43-game home winning streak in conference play.

The Musketeers got back to winning at home, but it was ugly most of the way.

Xavier failed to score on its first five possessions, throwing the ball away carelessly. The Musketeers seemed unfocused against the league's worst defense -- the Rams give up 75.5 points per game -- and had six turnovers in the first 7 minutes.

Holloway got the Musketeers to settle down. He hit a pair of 15-foot jumpers and had a steal and layup during a 12-1 spurt that built the first substantial lead of the game, 27-15, with 1:13 left in the half. Holloway had a team-high eight points and five rebounds at halftime, but also turned the ball over five times.

The run continued at the start of the second half. Holloway had a pair of free throws and a pass inside to Andre Walker for a basket that helped the Musketeers stretch the lead to 33-17.

Even as they pulled away, the Musketeers wasted chances. Holloway passed to Dez Wells for a dunk attempt that was too hard off the back of the rim, the ball flying out beyond midcourt before rolling out of bounds.

Rhode Island, one of the A-10's worst shooting teams, made 36.5 percent from the field and had 16 turnovers.