Xavier Defense Struggles in Loss at Saint Joseph's
Jan. 21, 2007
PHILADELPHIA - Xavier struggled defensively to stop Saint Joseph's in the second half and lost, 82-74, to the Hawks on Sunday afternoon in front of a sold-out crowd of 3,200 at tiny Alumni Fieldhouse. The Musketeers fell to 3-2 in the Atlantic 10 Conference and 13-6 overall, while the Hawks raised their records to 11-7 overall and 4-2 in A-10 play.
Saint Joseph's jumped out to a 14-8 lead with 12:51 left in the first half. The next seven minutes belonged to the Musketeers, 19-12, a surge that was finished off by a three-pointer and a jumper by junior forward Josh Duncan, who finished the game with a game-high tying 20 points. Xavier led 27-26 with 4:56 left in the half. The Musketeers extended the lead to as many five points in the closing minutes of the half and took a 40-38 lead into the locker room at halftime.
The Hawks took the lead right out of the gate in the second half on a three-pointer, 41-40. A steal and a dunk by freshman forward Derrick Brown closed a 4-0 spurt that put XU back in front 44-41 with just over 16 minutes left. The lead went back and forth after that point. The game was tied again at 49-all with 13:22 left before another dunk by Brown, this time off an assist from junior guard Drew Lavender, put the Musketeers back in front 51-49 with 13:08 left. It proved to be Xavier's last lead of the game.
An old-fashioned three-point play by SJU's Ahmad Nivens finished off an 8-2 Saint Joseph's run that gave the Hawks a 57-53 lead with 11:17 left. A driving layup by senior forward Justin Doellman and a pair of free throws by Duncan tied the score again at 57-all. That's when the home Hawks put together a 10-0 run to take control of the game for good at 67-57 with under eight minutes left. Xavier did close to within three points on three different occasions after that, the last coming at 73-70 with 3:45 left but the Musketeers were not able to get any closer.
Brown finished the game with 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field on the strength of four impressive dunks. Junior guard Stanley Burrell contributed 15 points.
The story of the game was told on Xavier's defensive end in the second half as Saint Joseph's shot 59.1 percent (13-of-22) from the field after intermission, including 60.0 percent (6-of-10) from three-point range.
Xavier plays at St. Bonaventure on Wednesday. Tip time is scheduled for 7:00 pm in Olean, N.Y, with the game set to be aired on Fox Sports Ohio locally.