CINCINNATI (AP) -Seven-footer Kenny Frease is learning how to score inside. Point guard Terrell Holloway is getting better at making the precise pass. Shooting guard Brad Redford is confidently letting it fly from long range.
Little by little, Xavier's Three Froshketeers are growing up.
The 10th-ranked Musketeers are on the rise again in part because their trio of true freshmen is making more of an impact on every game. The Musketeers (18-2) have won nine in a row despite playing one of the toughest nonconference schedules in the country.
Three guesses why.
``They're making strides,'' senior forward C.J. Anderson said. ``And as they get better, our team will get better. That's what we need out of those guys.''
the lack of depth, relying on their five veterans to carry them.
Now, the veterans have some talented help.
Holloway has recovered from a stress fracture in his left foot and gotten his fast-paced game more in control. Redford has settled in as a 3-point threat, forcing defenses outside. And Frease is providing another inside scoring threat for a team that had plenty.
``They've definitely helped us a lot so far this year,'' junior center Jason Love said.
How much more they grow will have a lot to do with how far the Musketeers go at tournament time. A 69-47 win over Charlotte on Wednesday night left Xavier in control of the A10 with a 6-0 record.
It also provided another one of those freshmen-on-display moments.
Frease had a career-high 17 points on 7-of-9 shooting against, his first game since winning the conference's Rookie of the Week award. In the past three games, Frease has gone 17-of-23 from the field and scored 37 points.
The newcomer from Massillon wears a size 17 shoe and follows in the footsteps of his mother, Margaret, who was a starting center at Youngstown State in the 1980s. He has a nice shooting touch - he's made a pair of 3s - and plenty of bulk.
Until now, his problem had been he was trying too hard.
t,'' Frease said. ``Going against Love every day is real good for me. He's a good defender. When I get the ball down there in the post, I feel more comfortable and more confident in my moves.''
The 6-foot-9 Love is the Musketeers' best inside defender and knows what it's like to go from looking down on defenders in high school to seeing them eye-to-eye at the rim.
``It's definitely hard for a big guy coming into college,'' Love said. ``You're so used to being the biggest guy out there in high school. You can see the improvement he's made this season. He's definitely been a big part of the frontcourt being our strength this season.
``With Brad and Terrell - those guys really give us a different dimension as far as shooting the ball.''
Holloway is the team's only true point guard and the only freshman starter. A stress fracture in his left foot sidelined him for two weeks and limited him for several more in December. His role is expanding because he's healthy and playing better - 20 assists and 31 points in the last five games with only nine turnovers.
Redford has fast built a reputation as one of the conference's best pure shooters. He went 20-of-38 from behind the 3-point arc during a seven-game stretch, opening things up for his teammates.
kenmuth, Mich., which built the offense around getting him a shot. He's learning to create his own shots and keep his touch.
``I'm shooting close to 300 3s a day,'' Redford said of his practice routine. ``I shoot some on the line (of the arc), then some from NBA range, just kind of mix it up. I usually shoot for close to 80 percent - that would be a good clip.''
Coach Sean Miller has enjoyed the luxury of allowing his trio to grow at their own pace.
``I think sometimes what's lost in the shuffle when you talk about freshmen is they've been able to progress at the rate we want because our older players are carrying the load,'' Miller said.

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