Thornton Double-Double Leads Xavier Past Dayton

Thornton was awarded the Blackburn/McCafferty Game MVP award following his team-leading performance.

Thornton was awarded the Blackburn/McCafferty Game MVP award following his team-leading performance.

Jan. 28, 2006

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CINCINNATI - Senior forward Brian Thornton scored a team-high 19 points, grabbed 12 rebounds and recorded a career-high five blocks to lead Xavier to a 60-55 win over Dayton on Saturday afternoon in front of a capacity crowd of 10,250 at Cintas Center on the Xavier University campus. Xavier improves to 13-4 overall and 4-2 in Atlantic 10 Conference play while the Flyers fall to 10-11 for the season and 2-5 in A-10 action.

Xavier has now won 21 straight games over Dayton in the city of Cincinnati. UD's last win over the Musketeers in the Queen City came in the 1980-81 season at Riverfront Coliseum.

Thornton was named the Blackburn/McCafferty Game MVP in a vote among the media following his outstanding performance.

With the Musketeers clinging to a 57-55 lead with 16.7 seconds to go in the game, Justin Cage calmly stepped to the line and sunk a pair of free throws to give Xavier a four-point advantage at 59-55. Dedrick Finn then hit one-of-two from the line with 5.5 seconds to go for the final margin of victory.

After Xavier took its largest lead of the game at 54-41 at the 6:19 mark off of a pair of free throws from Justin Doellman, the Flyers mounted a 14-2 run over the next 5:47 including three made 3-point baskets from Jimmy Binnie to trim the Xavier lead to one point at 56-55 with 32 seconds to go in the game.

XU pushed its lead to 50-39 at the 9:47 mark, which was fueled by a 14-6 spurt over 5:08 including a pair of made baskets from Stanley Burrell.



XU opened the 140th meeting between the two rivals by scoring the first five points of the game including three made free throws from Thornton to take a 5-0 lead until UD's Warren Williams converted at the charity stripe at 15:30 to put the Flyers on the board.

The two free throws from Williams sparked an 11-2 Dayton run over the next 4:14 to take an 11-7 lead at the 11:37 mark. The Musketeers took their largest lead of the half at 29-23 with three seconds to go off a made lay-up from Burrell to give XU a six-point advantage heading into the locker rooms.

Each team had trouble finding its shooting touch in the opening stanza as the Flyers opened the contest by missing their first seven shots from the floor and shot just 27.3 percent (9-of-33) for the half. XU was just 2-of-12 (.167) over the first 9:25, but found its touch to finish the half at 41.4 percent (12-of-29) from the field.

Thornton's 19 points on 6-of-9 from the floor and 12-rebound performance led three Xavier players in double-figures. Cage finished the game with 12 points on 5-of-7 from the filed and the junior was a perfect 2-of-2 from the stripe. Burrell recorded his 16th straight game in double figures with 11 points.

The Musketeers finished the game at 41.2 percent (21-of-51) from the floor including just 3-of-18 (16.7) from beyond the arc. XU made the most of its trips to the free throw line as the Musketeers converted on 15-of-21 (.714) from the stripe. Dayton was 23-of-65 (.354) from the field and shot a 27.8 percent (5-of-18) clip from 3-point territory.

Xavier won the battle of the boards 40-to-35 including a decisive 29-to-21 edge on the defensive glass.

UD's sophomore guard Brian Roberts led the way for the Flyers with a game-high 20 points on 9-of-24 from the field. Jimmy Binnie contributed 10 points to the Dayton effort on 3-of-10 from the field. Norman Plummer grabbed nine rebounds to lead the Flyers on the boards.

Xavier will return to the floor Thursday, Feb. 2, when the Musketeers will play host to No. 14 George Washington at Cintas Center. Tip-off is slated for 7:00 p.m. and the game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.