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Xavier wins in overtime thriller

By Sabrina Brown
On November 30, 2011

The Xavier Musketeers remain undefeated after winning a

thriller in overtime at Vanderbilt University on Monday night.

The Musketeers overcame a ten point deficient to come back and beat the Commodores 82-70. Though Xavier out-rebounded Vanderbilt offensively, posting 25 to contrast Vanderbilt's nine, the Musketeers scored only 15 second-

chance points, one of their primary faults of the game.

The true Achilles' heel for the Musketeers, however, came

in the form of their free throw shooting. In the first half, Xavier went 3-6 from the line, bested by the Commodores' 70 percent. In the second half, the Musketeers improved

to 9-13, 69.2 percent, then improved further to go 8-8 in

overtime. Xavier's free throw shooting had a strong correlation to its game performance. The Musketeers were down by five at the end of the first half, tied at the end of

regulation and came back to win by 12 at the end of overtime. Senior center Kenny Frease missed all four of his free throw attempts, fouling as many times in his 20 minutes of play. One of the 7-footer's fouls came in the form of a flagrant foul early in the first half. The Musketeers saw quite a bit of graduate student Andre Walker in the paint. The ex-Commodore played for all but five minutes of

the game, receiving a warm welcome back to Nashville.

Walker led the Musketeers in rebounds, posting 14 boards. He also added six points and one assist, recording only one turnover. While in his final season at Vanderbilt, the 6-foot-7 forward averaged 2.6 assists, three points and three rebounds in his average 17.7 minutes per game.

Walker chose to transfer to Xavier this summer, and because his major is not offered at Vanderbilt, he was eligible to play this season as a Musketeer. Xavier also saw strong frontcourt play from redshirt junior Travis Taylor.

Taylor was Xavier's third highest scorer with 11 points. The

forward also posted seven boards and one block.

Xavier's success can be attributed to the performance of its

backcourt guards Mark Lyons and Tu Holloway. Holloway led Xavier with 24 points, going 9-10 from the line. The senior also recorded five rebounds and four assists.

Last season, Holloway led Xavier in scoring with 19.7 points

a game, playing nearly 40 minutes per game all season.

This year, the senior Musketeer is averaging 35 minutes per game. While Holloway's motivation and skill clearly still drives this Xavier team, it is clear that the senior is leading a very different team this season. Lyons was close behind

Holloway in scoring, recording 19 points, more than five points higher than his 13.6 average of last season.

The drive of this powerful duo was considered to be the determining factor for the Musketeers. In addition to the dynamic team of Holloway and Lyons, freshman Dezmine Wells scored seven points and had six rebounds. Wells also went 5-6 from the line, serving as a boost to Xavier's poor free throw shooting. Xavier will return to action on Saturday at Cintas Center to take on the Purdue Boilermakers at 3p.m.

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