No. 24 Xavier Falls To No. 12 Tennessee At Cintas Center
Dec. 22, 2007
Xavier (No. 24 ESPN/USA Today) looked like they were headed to another victory over a Top 15 opponent on Saturday afternoon. XU, which had already beaten then-No. 8 Indiana by 15 points in November, led No. 12 Tennessee by four points, 73-69, with 3:40 left.
Turnovers did in the Musketeers down the stretch, though, as Tennessee outscored XU 13-2 over the final 3:38 to snatch the victory. Xavier finished with a season-high 21 turnovers, four coming in the fateful final 3:40.
UT's J.P. Prince scored a career-high 23 points and Tyler Smith led a late surge that rallied Tennessee to an 82-75 victory at the sold out Cintas Center. The loss snapped XU's 14-game home court winning streak and dropped XU to 8-3 on the season. Tennessee, 11-1, won its sixth straight game.
"In the last four minutes, they were the meaner, tougher, more relentless, nastier team, and they won the game," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "They made three or four unbelievable hustle plays in the last four minutes that turned the game to their favor."
Senior Stanley Burrell scored 18 points to lead the Musketeers, who went 24-of-27 from the free throw line but couldn't overcome their turnovers in the closing minutes. Turnovers on consecutive possessions helped Tennessee pull ahead.
XU actually started the game as slow as it ended it. XU trailed 9-2 and 19-8 early in the game before battling back to a 39-36 deficit at halftime. The Musketeers took control of the early part of the second half, taking their largest lead at 54-49 with 12:40 left when Burrell connected on a three-pointer. UT answered with an 11-2 run to go up 60-56 at the 9:25 mark. Then it was XU's turn with a 7-0 run that put XU ahead 63-60 at 7:27 when junior C.J. Anderson scored on a driving layup. That's the way the second half went. Unfortunately for XU, the last and most important run belonged to the visitors.
Sophomore Derrick Brown recorded a double-double for the Musketeers with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
XU's next game is next Friday night against Delaware State at Cintas Center.