(Editor's note: The Atlantic 10 Conference men's basketball tournament will be held at Atlantic City's Boardwalk Hall from March 12-14. The Press' A-10 report runs every Tuesday leading up to the tournament.)
Chris Mack was given the duty of continuing a tradition at Xavier. Last April, he was named head coach of Musketeers when Sean Miller left for Arizona.
Xavier still had the players, but there was a wonderment on if a new coach - even one who was an assistant under Miller for five years - could keep the Musketeers at the top of the Atlantic 10.
With the start of the conference season, Mack has seemingly kept Xavier on the right course. The Musketeers are 10-5 overall, 2-0 in conference play and sit tied atop the league with Temple.
"Winning on the road is never easy," Mack said. "And the competition has stepped up this year."
Mack referred to the other Atlantic 10 teams. The Musketeers defeated La Salle and George Washington on the road, 68-62 and 76-69, respectively to open conference play.
George Washington led Xavier by 11 points with 9 minutes, 31 seconds left in Sunday's game. However, the Musketeers charged back and took control midway through the second half.
"Around the 8-minute stretch, we struggled to make a basket," George Washington coach Karl Hobbs said. "I really thought (Xavier sophomore guard Terrell) Holloway did a terrific job in setting the tone of the second half. The big guy, (senior Jason) Love, played a magnificent second half of basketball. I thought that was the difference in the game."
A 2-0 start in the conference could lead Xavier to second place, where the preseason conference poll predicted the Musketeers would finish. However, a second-place finish in the regular season would be a step backward for Xavier. The Musketeers have won the last three regular-season titles and are trying to be the first team to win four straight since Massachusetts did it from 1992-96, when Atlantic City's Lou Roe was part of the Minutemen.
Xavier is still just one of nine Division I programs to win at least 25 games over the last three seasons and winning two conference games on the road is a good place to start. Especially with Xavier holding a 24-game winning streak at home in conference play.
"It beats the alternative, that's for sure," said Mack, a former player and captain for Xavier. "We were gone for a long time. It isn't easy to open the conference schedule up on the road."
Temple moving up: The Owls climbed to 19th in the AP's Top 25 poll after beating Saint Joseph's and Rhode Island last week.
Weekly honors: Xavier sophomore guard Jordan Crawford and Dayton sophomore Chris Johnson were named the A-10 Co-players of the Week. Crawford averaged 26 points, six rebounds and four assists in two wins for Xavier. Johnson had career highs with 26 points and 20 rebounds in Dayton's 78-72 overtime win over Duquesne.
George Washington's Lasan Kromah earned the conference's Rookie of the Week after he scored 23 points in a 78-71 win over St. Bonaventure.
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