Xavier Rally Comes up Short in 79-70 Loss to La Salle
Feb. 11, 2006
CINCINNATI - Sophomore guard Stanley Burrell scored a team-high 15 points including eight in a 1:16 stretch in the second half, but it was not enough to rally the Musketeers as Xavier fell 79-70 to La Salle in front of 10,038 at Cintas Center. XU falls to 14-7 overall and 5-5 in the Atlantic 10 Conference while La Salle raises its season record to 15-7 and improves to 7-4 in Conference play.
Following a made 3-pointer from La Salle's Mike St. John with 8:05 to go in the game, the Musketeers put together a 14-3 run over the 3:40 including a lay-up from Justin Cage at 4:15 to draw within two points at 67-65. That is as close as Xavier would get as the Explorers converted on 8-of-10 from the free throw line in the last two minutes to hold on.
After La Salle extended its lead to 58-43 at the 11:00 mark of the second half, Justin Cage hit a pair of free throws to spark a 9-2 Xavier run over the next 1:31 and trimmed the Explorer lead to 60-52 at 9:16.
A 3-point field goal from Dedrick Finn at the 19:49 mark opened the scoring in the second half and cut the La Salle lead to 40-39. La Salle responded to the Finn trey by going on a 15-2 run over the next 5:24 to balloon its lead to 55-41 with 13:16 to go in the contest. The Musketeers were held without a field goal for 9:22 and allowed the Explorers to extend their lead to 15 points at 58-43 at the 11:00 mark.
Senior forward Brian Thornton opened the game by scoring eight of XU's first 10 points including four from the free throw line to lead the Musketeers to a 10-9 lead at the 16:41 mark. Stanley Burrell hit a jumper with 16:08 to go in the half to give XU its largest lead of the opening stanza at 12-9.
La Salle responded to the early XU lead by hitting three consecutive 3-point field goals to take an 18-17 lead with 13:52 to go in the half. The Explorers and Musketeers continued to battle through the remainder of the half, which featured 12 ties and seven lead changes. La Salle closed the half by hitting a pair of buckets including a jumper from Darnell Harris at the 1:27 mark to take a 40-36 lead into the locker rooms.
Burrell's 15 points and five assists led the Musketeers while Josh Duncan also reached double-figures with 13 points on 4-of-10 from the field. Justin Doellman led the Xavier effort on the glass as the junior forward grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Xavier finished the game at 22-of-60 (.367) from the field and just 6-of-26 (.231) from beyond the arc.
Senior All-America candidate Steven Smith scored 23 points, grabbed 11 rebounds and recorded five assists to lead three La Salle players in double-figures. Darnell Harris added 18 points and six rebounds while Jermaine Thomas contributed 18 points and six assists in the La Salle win. The Explorers were 25-of-56 (.446) from the floor for the game including 9-of-9 (.474) from 3-point territory. La Salle dominated on the boards holding a 44-to-31 edge including a 28-to-18 advantage on the defensive glass.
Xavier will continue its season-long three-game homestand on Wednesday, Feb. 15, when the Musketeers play host to the Fordham Rams. Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. from Cintas Center.