ST. LOUIS – Xavielle Brown is the American Midwest Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Week for the fourth time in the 2015-16 season, after 35 points per game in two wins last week, including a win over second-ranked Columbia College that could prove to be a résumé-builder for the Pirates (11-5, 9-2 AMC) as the 2015-16 season progresses.
Brown, a junior from Fort Wayne, Indiana who prepped at Wayne High School, hit the game-winning shot with 2.1 seconds left in the win over the Cougars on Thursday night, ending the night with 32 points on 9-of-14 shooting, including three makes from outside the 3-point arc, and 11-of-14 at the free-throw line. The win helped Park take on sole possession of second place in the American Midwest Conference Men’s Basketball standings.
At 26.9 points per game, Brown continues to lead NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball in scoring per game, and his 430 points are second-most among NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball players. Park’s leading rebounder among players who qualify by games played, Brown averages 7.6 rebounds per game, and in scoring terms, he’s done much of his damage at the foul line, where he is 167-of-205 on the season, leading the AMC in makes and attempts, shooting 81.5 percent.
Brown’s 167 made free throws are second-most among all NAIA men’s basketball players, but that total leads NAIA Division I, and his attempts are also most among NAIA Division I players, second to NAIA Division II’s Dominez Burnett, from Davenport University.
“Xavielle is one of those guys opponents don’t want to see with the ball in the lane, because most of the time, he’s going to score or get to the foul line,” said Park coach Jason Kline. “He’s a guy we go to, and although he’s undersized a lot of the time inside, he knows how to draw contact and finish.”
And, while Thursday’s 75-73 win over No. 2 Columbia was the marquee victory for the week, Brown’s performance Saturday against Hannibal-LaGrange University might have been more impressive. For the third time this season, Brown hit 38 points, his career-high, putting the team on his back for a stretch when Park was down and all-but-out against unranked HLGU.
His 12 rebounds against the Trojans marked his sixth double-double in the 2015-16 season, and helped Park overcome an 18-point first-half deficit and a 10-point trail at the half on the way to a 95-87 win at Breckon Sports Center.
“He had to take on that role against Hannibal, because they were making everything they put up for most of the game,” Kline said. “We were able to find him for a stretch and he really piled up in the scorebook, and then when they started to double him, some other guys like (BJ Watson) , (Noel Surles)and (Mylin Jordan) were able to get to the basket and score.”
On the week, Brown was 23-for-27 at the foul stripe (85.2 percent), 21-for-36 from the floor (58.3 percent) and 5-for-9 from beyond the 3-point arc (55.6 percent). He was at his rebounding average at 7.5 rebounds per game, adding three assists against HLGU for four on the week.
With the AMC’s weekly award, Brown is now eligible for his second NAIA Division I Men’s Basketball Player of the Week designation, which will be announced by NAIA officials in downtown Kansas City Tuesday afternoon.