Xavier Defeats SLU 71-64 In A-10 Semifinals

Dezmine Wells earned 18 points against SLU.

Dezmine Wells earned 18 points against SLU.

March 10, 2012

Box Score |  Photo Gallery  | Postgame Press Conference

ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. -- Xavier advanced to the finals of the Atlantic 10 tournament Saturday with a 71-64 win over Saint Louis. With the win, the Musketeers improved to 21-11 overall and will play in their first Atlantic 10 final since 2006 Sunday at 1 p.m.

Senior Tu Holloway led a balanced attack with 21 points on 6-of-14 from the field. Freshman Dezmine Wells was second in scoring with 18 points on 6-of-8 from the floor and a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line. Mark Lyons earned 14 points on 5-of-9 from the field and senior Kenny Frease chipped in nine points.

Saint Louis (25-7) saw five players reach double figures with Brian Conklin leading the way with 14 points.

Xavier opened the second half with an 11-4 run in the first three minutes. Nine of XU's 11 came from three 3-pointers by Holloway in a span of two minutes and 30 seconds. His trey with 17:22 left in the game gave Xavier a 41-27 lead.

Wells went on a tear scoring eight points over a four minute stretch to give XU a 60-62 lead with 4:01 left in the game.

The Billikens cut the XU lead to three, 60-57, when Jordair Jett hit two free throws. However, Lyons' big 3-pointer with 1:59 left in the game gave Xavier a 63-57 lead and some momentum in the final two minutes. Xavier made several clutch free throws to close out the game and seal the win.

The Musketeers carried a 29-23 lead at the half thanks to a 12-2 run through the final three minutes of the first half. The Musketeers saw Lyons, Frease, and Holloway all post six points in the first 20 minutes while Andre Walker posted five first half points.

Wells tied the game at 21-all with a spinning jumper at the 3:35 mark. Travis Taylor's tip in at the 2:53 mark gave XU a 23-21 edge and Jeff Robinson's dunk with 44 seconds left on the clock capped the 12-2 Xavier run.

Xavier will face Saint Bonaventure in the finals of the Atlantic 10 tournament Sunday at 1 p.m. The game will be broadcast nationally on CBS.