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A streak Tu good to be broken

The Musketeers defeat Dayton in Cincinnati for the 27th consecutive time in overtime thriller

By Sabrina Brown
On February 22, 2012

Fifty-two was the magic number for the Musketeers on Saturday night in a 86-83 overtime victory over rival Dayton Flyers, keeping a streak alive that began under the presidency of Jimmy Carter.

For Xavier senior point guard Tu Holloway, he will get to leave Xavier knowing that number 52 never let the Flyers leave Cintas Center victorious.

"It means a lot to us, to the older guys here before us. You can't lose to Dayton; there's a lot of significance. Andre Walker and I don't want to go out as the guys that messed the tradition up," Holloway said.

Holloway led Xavier in scoring with 32 points, one short of his career high. The senior also added six rebounds, five assists and two steals in his 45 minutes of play, earning him the reward of Blackburn/McCafferty MVP.

Holloway combined with redshirt junior shooting guard Mark Lyons for a total of 52 points from Xavier's backcourt.

Lyons had 20 points, going 8-for-13 from the line and 2-for-6 from behind the arc. Lyons started for the first time this game since Feb. 1 against George Washington.

"He's had a great attitude in practice this week, and our team needs that. We need for him to be a really good player," head coach Chris Mack said.

While Lyons was reinstated into the line-up, senior center Kenny Frease was on the bench at tip-off, starting redshirt junior Travis Taylor in his place.

Taylor put up five points, six rebounds and a block for the Musketeers during his 15 minutes of play.

Frease added five points, three rebounds and a steal in his 12 minutes of play before fouling out with two minutes remaining in regulation.

Xavier's frontcourt saw most of its action from graduate student Andre Walker. Walker played for 40 minutes, just as he did in an overtime victory over Vanderbilt earlier this season.

Walker posted eight boards, seven points and a block and went 3-for-4 from the free throw line, an area that plagued Xavier at UD Arena.

At Dayton, Walker went 1-for-5 from the line, a portion of Xavier's frontcourt that went 4-for-13 in free throws overall.Xavier's big men combined to shoot 9-for-15 from the line Saturday, nearly doubling their percentage from January's game.

Freshman guard Dezmine Wells was the third player to score in double digits for Xavier, adding 12 points for the Musketeers.

The freshman shot 6-for-8 from the field in his 37 minutes of play, seeing less playing time than only Walker and Holloway.

Wells also added five rebounds, two steals and a block against the Flyers.

For Xavier students and fans, Saturday's game was a victory that no amount of statistics could ever reveal. Xavier students began lining up at 8 a.m. on Saturday morning, eager to be one of the first in line to see the streak continue.

"The streak is awesome. There have been years when we've been better and years when they've been better, and every year we come out on top here. It's incredible," junior Andrew Bush said.

Bush, who prides himself on being first in line for every game, was joined early by a few of the Xavier Popes, also eager to witness a fundamental Xavier tradition.

"We make it difficult for them to win here. That's our job," junior Evan Manship said.

For Holloway, Saturday was the last time he will face the Flyers on his homecourt. For Wells, it was the first time he would see "The Streak" in all its glory. For Xavier Nation, it was two words: Jimmy Carter.

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