Justin Cage was named the Tournament's Most Outstanding Player.
March 11, 2006
CINCINNATI - Tournament Most Outstanding Player Justin Cage scored 19 points and made a huge defensive play in the game's closing seconds to lead the Xavier University men's basketball team past Saint Joseph's, 62-61, in the Championship Game of the 2006 Atlantic 10 Tournament on Saturday evening in Cincinnati.
The tournament crown is Xavier's fourth since the school joined the league for the 1995-96 season and Saturday's triumph marks the third time XU has brought home the championship hardware in the past five years.
The Musketeers won their fourth game in four days on Saturday, matching the feat the team accomplished to take home the 2004 A-10 Championship.
Doellman calmly stepped to the free throw line and buried both attempts to put XU up 62-61 with five-seconds remaining in regulation.
Hawk guard Dwayne Lee then got the ball in the backcourt and drove to the basket, but his attempt was blocked by Doellman and landed out of bounds with 1.3 seconds to go.
The Hawks then got the ball back to Lee on the ensuing inbounds play but his attempt from the corner was blocked by Cage, ensuring the Xavier triumph.
Cage poured in a team-high 19 points and was 7-of-8 from the field. The Tournament MOP also dished-out four assists and blocked a pair of shots. Cage finished the Tournament averaging 14.5 points per game and shot a sizzling 72.4 percent (21-of-29) from the field.
Sophomore forward Josh Duncan, who was named to the All-Tournament Team, scored 10 points and corralled seven boards on the night. Burrell joined Cage and Duncan in double-figures with 15 points, 11 coming in the second half, and was 3-of-5 from long range.
Xavier fell behind by as many as 10 points in the second half, but sophomore guard Stanley Burrell drained three consecutive 3-pointers, shrinking the deficit to two points, 59-57, with 3:40 remaining in regulation.
XU got two big defensive stops and Cage converted on a lay-up at the 1:50 mark to knot the game up at 59.
B.J. Raymond pulled down a big rebound off of a Dwayne Lee miss on the ensuing possession, and drew a foul.
Raymond made one of his two free throw attempts with 40-seconds to go, giving XU a 61-60 lead.
On the next trip down the floor, Saint Joe's forward Rob Ferguson hit a baseline jumper with 14-seconds to go, giving Saint Joe's a 61-60 lead and setting up the dramatic finish.
Xavier won the battle of the boards, 30-to-27 and held a 24-to-18 advantage on the defensive glass. XU shot a blistering 60 percent (9-of-15) from 3-point range and was 22-of-44 from the floor.
Xavier trailed 5-4 with 16-minutes remaining in the first half but the Musketeers stormed out to a 16-2 run over the next 6:10 to seize a commanding 20-7 lead with 9:50 to go in the first session.
The run was keyed by seven points from Cage and he capped the Xavier flurry with a fast break lay-up, which brought the crowd of 9,373 to its feet.
XU would cool off though and battled through a 6:20 scoring drought, allowing the Hawks to get back in it. Saint Joe's tied the score up, 20-20, at the 4:10 mark when Rob Ferguson converted on a lay-up.
However, Cage answered with his sixth 3-pointer of the tournament just 30-seconds later to get XU back on top.
Duncan nailed a long-ball, 30-seconds before halftime, to put XU up 26-23 at intermission.
The Musketeers, who earned the Atlantic 10 Conference's automatic bid into the 2006 NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Championship, will await their seed and matchup from the NCAA selection committee. Seedings and pairings will be announced at 6:00 p.m. EST on CBS.