Xavier Falls 71-67 to Florida on New Year's Eve
Dec. 31, 2010
CINCINNATI - Xavier's 30-game home-court winning streak was snapped 71-67 by the visiting Florida Gators Friday afternoon. The loss is Xavier's first at Cintas Center since losing to Butler (12-23-08) in the 2008-09 season. The Musketeers fall to 8-4 on the season.
Junior guard Tu Holloway scored a game-high 26 points and had six assists, while junior center Kenny Frease added 16 points and seven rebounds. Senior forward Jamel McLean hauled in 10 boards, his seventh double-digit rebounding effort of the season.
Twice in the opening moments of the second half Xavier was able to pull within one point. However, Florida went on a 13-1 run over a stretch of 4:16 to take a 50-35 lead with 13:21 remaining in the game. The 15 point lead was Florida's largest of the game.
Xavier had a 10 minute field goal drought that started during Florida's run and finally ended on a McLean tip-dunk with 7:54 remaining. Xavier refused to go away quietly, though. Fueled by an 8-0 run of their own, the Musketeers cut the lead to five with 2:05 left.
On three separate occasions in the final two minutes, Xavier was able to pull within four points. Florida responded each time by making free-throws to extend the lead.
Senior walk-on Kevin Feeney made a three-pointer with 1.3 seconds remaining to pull within three, 67-70. After Florida's Kenny Boynton missed the first of two free throws, he made the second to provide the final margin of victory.
The Musketeers finished the game shooting 40.3 percent (25-of-62), while Florida connected on 45.1 percent (23-of-51) of their shots. Florida finished the game with a 39-31 advantage on the boards.
Xavier trailed Florida 31-27 at halftime. The Musketeers made 37.9 percent of their shots on 11-of-29 shooting from the floor. Florida made 41.4 percent (12-of-29) of their shots. Frease paced the Musketeers with 10 points and four rebounds. Florida's Vernon Macklin led all scorers in the half with 12 points. Xavier was outrebounded in the half 21-14.
Florida jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead behind three baskets by Alex Tyus. Xavier would respond and take its first lead of the game at 10-9 with 12:57 left in the half when senior Dante' Jackson sank a three-pointer. The two teams would battle back and forth with ten lead changes in the half.
Feeney provided two crowd pleasing plays diving out-of-bounds in the first half. He finished the game playing a career-high 11 minutes, scoring three points, grabbing two rebounds, and collecting two steals.
Florida was led by Erving Walker with 18 points. Kenny Boynton added 15 points, Vernon Macklin chipped in 14, and Tyus finished with 12. Chandler Parsons had a game-high 11 rebounds. Florida improves to 10-3 on the season.
Up next for the Musketeers is the University of Cincinnati Bearcats in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Showdown on Thursday, January 6 at Fifth Third Arena. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. ET and can be seen on ESPN2. Xavier has won the last three contests in the annual series, including last year's 83-79 double-overtime thriller at Cintas Center.