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No. 14 Xavier falls to LBSU in Holloway's return

Dec 23, 2011 - 8:42 AM Honolulu, HI (Sports Network) - Not even Tu Holloway's return could spark No. 14 Xavier, as the Musketeers were beaten by Long Beach State, 68-58, as part of the Diamond Head Classic at Stan Sheriff Center.

Xavier started the season 8-0 before losing to Oral Roberts on Sunday without three starters -- Holloway, Mark Lyons and Dezmine Wells, who were all banned for their role in a bench-clearing brawl against Cincinnati on December 10.

Holloway returned from his one-game sentence and poured in 17 points, but not even the team's leading scorer could match the 49ers (6-5), who looked more like the team that won at Pittsburgh earlier this season than the squad that lost four of six coming in.

Michael Caffey totaled 14 points, while Eugene Phelps, Larry Anderson and Casper Ware each netted 12 in the victory. LBSU will play Auburn on Friday.

Long Beach State went ahead for good with a quick 10-point run in the first half, with Phelps' three-point play yielding a 16-9 lead at the midway point.

The 49ers wound up taking a 29-21 cushion into the break, and James Ennis and Ware each hit from long range in the early stages of the second half to build a 37-23 advantage.

Holloway's steal and dunk ended an 8-0 spurt later on to pull Xavier within 46-38 with 11 minutes remaining, but that's as close as the Musketeers got.

Phelps hit a jumper coming out of a timeout and Ennis made another from long range the next time down to stop the rally.

Ware drained a three-pointer down the stretch to push the margin to 63-45, and LBSU held on from there.

Game Notes

Lyons can return from his two-game ban on Friday, while Wells has two games remaining on his suspension...LBSU has two wins against ranked opponents this season after not recording any since the 1993-94 campaign.