for this game

Brown helps Xavier survive challenge from Cincy

Dec 13, 2007 - 5:32 AM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- In a game marred by serious injuries to both teams, Xavier squeezed out a tight win.

Derrick Brown scored 11 of his season-high 17 points in the second half as the 17th-ranked Musketeers captured a 64-59 victory over Cincinnati in a highly physical matchup on Wednesday.

Drew Lavender chipped in 12 points for Xavier (8-1), which captured its eighth win in the last 12 meetings with its intracity rival, including all six when it has been ranked.

"They (Cincinnati) really competed," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "They play hard. It was great for us to be in a real hard-fought, tough game. Our crowd was really great."

However, the win proved costly for the Musketeers, who saw top rebounder and fourth-leading scorer Josh Duncan taken from the court with 10:44 left in the second half with a leg injury after he fell over a player on the floor.

That was not the only injury that marred the contest. Bearcats guard Marvin Gentry had to be taken off the court on the stretcher two minutes earlier after he took a shot to his head after driving for a loose ball.

Both teams proved to be distracted directly after the rash of injuries before Cincinnati managed to pull ahead, 48-43, on a 3-pointer by freshman Rashad Bishop with 6:53 to go.

Brown, one of six double-digit scorers for Xavier, then stepped up, hitting consecutive jumpers before a dunk by Jason Love put the Musketeers up, 49-48, with five minutes remaining.

"We had to do whatever it took to win," Brown said. "The ball just happened to go in when I shot it."

Finishing 5-of-9 from the field with six rebounds, Brown added another jumper before his dunk in transition broke a 53-53 tie with 2:01 left.

"Derrick (Brown) is one of our best players," Miller said. "He's a better shooter than he's showing right now. But he had a significant impact."

The fast-break dunk by Brown was set up by the 5-7 Lavender, who blocked a layup attempt by Deonta Vaughn. It was just the second career block in 106 career games.

"I had to make a play on the ball," Lavender said. "I just jumped my highest."

After Cincinnati's Jamual Warren missed a contested layup, Brown converted two free throws and Stanley Burrell added two more for a 59-53 advantage with 35 seconds left.

Freshman Larry Davis connected on a 3-pointer for Cincinnati with 29 seconds to play, but Burrell made two more from the stripe and Davis was off the mark on another shot from the arc as Xavier went on to win its seventh straight game.

"We played 37 minutes of good basketball," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "When Xavier had 51 points with three minutes left to play we were in position to win. But the last three minutes and change we gave up 13 points. We didn't execute on defense."

Warren and Vaughn had 10 points apiece for the Bearcats (4-5), who shot 34 percent (22-of-65).

Early on, Xavier was bothered by Cincinnati's decision to constantly change between man and zone defenses, falling behind, 17-12, with 8 1/2 minutes expired as it missed nine of its first 13 shots.

Brown came back with a pair of free throws, finishing 7-of-8 at the line, and Burrell hit a 3-pointer to tie the score at 17-17 with 9:57 remaining.

Both teams went back and forth until the end of the first half as Duncan knocked down a 3-pointer to beat the buzzer.

The Musketeers extended the lead to six points 49 seconds into the second half on a jumper by Duncan.

John Williamson, who finished with nine points and nine rebounds, helped get the Bearcats back in the contest, converting a three-point play with 12:06 remaining before tying it at 40-40 on a fast-break layup less than a minute later.