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Lavender sizzles as Xavier dumps Creighton

Dec 6, 2007 - 5:46 AM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- The way he was shooting, Drew Lavender might not have been bothered by the dark.

Lavender had a season-high 28 points as No. 20 Xavier routed Creighton, 79-66, on Wednesday.

The contest was delayed by 20 minutes at the start as the lights above the court of the Cintas Center were accidently turned off during the introductions.

After the lights were finally turned back on, Lavender put on an illuminating shooting display, making his first four 3-pointers and finishing 9-of-13 from the field.

"A couple of guys were hitting shots," Lavender said. "Tonight was just my night. B.J. (Raymond) is always spotting up. It feels good to win any game. They are a great team."

The diminutive 5-7 guard was also at his best finding his teammates, finishing with 10 assists against three turnovers.

"We did a poor job of containing his quickness," Creighton coach Dana Altman said. "He just made plays. He didn't do much wrong, especially in the first half. We got way behind and we had to press but he does enjoy the open court."

It was first time that a Xavier player registered a double-double in statistics other than points and rebounds since current NBA player David West had 15 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists against Long Island on December 8, 2001.

Behind 17 points by the senior point guard, the Musketeers (7-1) took a 47-32 lead at the half.

The contest was tied at 25-25 after the Bluejays' Nick Bahe hit a 3-pointer with 9:05 remaining. Lavender answered back with a shot from the arc, and combined for five points along with B.J. Raymond as Xavier went on a 10-0 run.

Lavender added a jumper with 2:01 left to make it 43-29.

Overall, the Musketeers went on a 22-4 run to build a 47-29 cushion with 28 seconds remaining in the first half. Lavender had nine points and seven assists during the decisive spurt.

"He's incredible," Raymond said of Lavender. "He makes the game easy. All you have to do is run, he'll find you. All you have to do is spot up, he'll find you. Drew is the type of player who makes it easy for you. All you've got to do is finish."

Xavier did not let up in the second half, taking its largest lead of the game at 53-34 in the opening moments before finishing 50.0 percent (27-of-54) from the field as it went on to pick up its first win in the last four meetings in the series. Last season, Creighton posted a 73-67 win at home.

"Tonight was a very good win for our team," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "Anyone who saw the game tonight knows that we played a very good team. Our players were ready to play against Creighton. They respect them a great deal."

Derrick Brown added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Musketeers, who finished with a 32-29 rebounding advantage.

"(Those) guys beat us on the boards every year," said Altman, whose Bluejays returned only one starter from last season's NCAA Tournament team. "(And) this is a different crew. We've got six freshmen and three sophomores. I think we'll do better but our veterans didn't give us the physical presence we needed.

"You've got to compete against a team like Xavier. And we didn't compete."

P'Allen Stinnett had 12 points for the Bluejays (5-1), who went 7-of-23 from the 3-point line.