Lyons Clinches Win in a 51-49 Thriller at Cintas

Frease was XU's leading scorer with 12 points.

Frease was XU's leading scorer with 12 points.

Dec. 9, 2010

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CINCINNATI- Fans can always expect an exciting game when Xavier and Butler match up and Thursday’s contest at Cintas Center was no exception. Mark Lyons drained the final two free throws that would ultimately seal the victory for the Musketeers, 51-49, in front of a sold-out crowd. Butler’s Shelvin Mack had a chance to hit the game-winning shot with time expiring, but his attempt was a bit to the left, giving Xavier the win and Butler its lowest point total this season.

With the win, Xavier moves to 6-2 on the season while Butler falls to 4-4. Xavier now leads the series, 29-16 and has extended its home court winning streak to 28 contests.

Kenny Frease led the way for XU, posting a double-double off 12 points and 10 boards on 24 minutes of action. Tu Holloway was the second Musketeer to score in double figures, adding 10 points, getting five of his points off 5-of-7 shooting from the free throw line.

The battle of the boards was won by Xavier, 40-29. The Musketeers outscored the Bulldogs 22-16 in the paint and 9-4 off second-chance points.

Butler came out hot in the first half, making its first five field goals to lead 12-7 heading into the first media timeout. The Bulldogs then went on a cold streak, while the Musketeers took advantage going on an 11-point run.

The Bulldogs would not make a shot from the field until there were a little over than two minutes left in the first half. BU went 0-of-13 over a span of 16:14. Butler made all of its attempts from the charity stripe (6-of-6) to help during their drought. Butler ended up shooting .318 from the floor in the first half. Xavier led at the intermission, 32-24.

Butler’s Matt Howard came out in the second half scoring BU’s first five points. Xavier did not score for over six minutes in the second half, breaking its drought with a Mark Lyons jumper with 5:38 left in the contest.

Both teams battled down the stretch, with Butler tying the game with a little under a minute and a half left off two free throws from Andrew Smith. On Butler’s next possession, Kenny Frease fouled Ronald Nored with 32 seconds left. Nored missed his first attempt, Butler’s first miss from the line all night.

Xavier would have the ball with 21.3 seconds left, with Butler forcing the ball out of bounds with 4.2 seconds left in the possession. Ronald Nored would commit his fifth and final foul, clipping Mark Lyons on the throw in. Lyons stepped to the line and drained both with 3.4 seconds left in the game.

Shelvin Mack dribbled the ball down the court and pulled up at the three-point line and failed.

Butler was led by the game’s leading scorer Matt Howard who scored 17 points of 5-of-10 shooting, including making both of his throws from downtown. Shelvin Mack also added 15 points, making all eight of his free throw attempts.

Xavier will next host Wake Forest at Cintas Center on Saturday, Dec. 18 at 8 p.m. The game is scheduled to be broadcasted by CBS College Sports. Stay tuned to GoXavier.com for more information about Xavier Athletics.