Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Xavier pounds Richmond; Duke subdues game Virginia Tech

Wednesday's results:

Xavier 76, Richmond 60: All season long we've been mulling the question, "What's wrong with Xavier?" Well, on this night, the answer was absolutely nothing. The Musketeers looked nothing like a 6-17 team Wednesday, chewing through the Spiders as though Amber Harris and Ta'Shia Phillips were still in uniform. The Musketeers succeeded in turning the game into their own personal layup drill, pounding the ball inside or piercing a sieve-like Spiders defense off the dribble en route to 38 points in the paint and 62.7 percent field-goal shooting overall. Guard Tyeasha Moss led four Xavier players in double figures with 26 points; Abby Oliver (20) points was the only double-digit scorer for a Spiders team that lost for the first time in six games. A complete beatdown, no doubt about it, and given the teams' records at tipoff, probably the most surprising result in Atlantic 10 play this season. Making matters worse, the loss dropped the Spiders (20-6, 7-4 Atlantic 10) into a fourth-place tie with Charlotte in a conference where only the top four teams receive first-round byes in the league tournament. The Spiders and 49ers will meet on Feb. 26 in Charlotte, but the first order of business for Richmond is to knock the Xavier taste out of its mouth in Sunday's home tilt against Fordham.

No. 5 Duke 67, Virginia Tech 47: The Blue Devils (22-3, 13-0 ACC) went into the game having won 28 straight at home against ACC foes, so this was without question the Hokies' toughest assignment of the season. Still, Tech hung tough for the first 30 or so minutes before running out of bullets. The Hokies trailed by just five (42-37) midway through the second half before Duke sprinted off on a decisive14-2 run. Aerial Wilson did her best to carry the Hokies offense, racking up 19 points on 27 shots before fouling out in the final minute. No other Hokie scored more than 6 points, but it was still an overall better offensive showing that Tech (7-19, 3-10) managed in its 61-37 loss to these same Blue Devils exactly one month ago at Cassell Coliseum. The loss was Tech's fifth straight since its stunning 75-69 victory at Maryland on Jan. 26.

The Blue Devils prevailed despite the loss of starting guard Richa Jackson, who went down with a left knee injury in the first half and did not return. Blue Devils coach Joanne P. McCallie indicated the injury may be serious.

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