Sunday, January 17, 2010
Propelled By Jackson's 19, Xavier Topples Dayton, 78-74
Made it down to the Cintas Center yesterday for the first time this season to watch Greenfield's favorite son, Dante Jackson play. What my wife & I were able to witness, however, was a terrific basketball game, a victory over main rival Dayton, and Mr. Jackson's finest game as a collegian. Xavier defeated Dayton 78-74 in a see-saw battle, and now sits atop the Atlantic 10 at 4-0.
The scene in Cincinnati was electric as it was a special 11:00 a.m. tip-off in front of a nationally televised audience. These situations usually mean Dante Jackson will have a good game, and more often than not Dayton is a witness. Jackson peppered the Flyers with 5 three-pointers, and a tide-turning dunk off a steal en route to a career high 19 points, to go along with 5 rebounds and 2 assists. Dante was honored after the game with the "Blackburn-McCafferty" award for the most outstanding player in the Xavier/UD rivalry. Even more gratifying for us as proud Greenfield McClain Tigers was watching the entire XU student section chanting Dante's name as he accepted his award. It was also a lot of fun for us watching the young man "work" the referees & opposing players so hard during timeouts and game stoppages! The kid never shuts up, but the chatter is all positive & light-hearted, you can't help but smile and laugh. "That's our Dante," we kept saying...with a chuckle.
In post-game comments Xavier head coach Chris Mack likened Dante Jackson's big-game prowess to that of Robert "Big Shot Bob" Horry. Jackson seems to play his best the bigger the stage, and the more important the outcome. Ever since hitting a big three-pointer to lift XU past Georgia in the NCAA tournament his freshman season, and his famous half-court buzzer beater to beat Virginia Tech in Puerto Rico last season, the Musketeers have counted on their defensive specialist to have the focus and composure to lead them out of tight spots on the offensive end as well. Jackson is now more or less the unofficial, official spokesman of the basketball team as well as the TV & newsprint media seeks him out for comments before & after games & practices due to his well-spoken manner and understanding of situations.
Congrats Dante, we're really proud of you. Here's looking toward another great March run!