for this game

Lavender leads Xavier to second straight A-10 road win

Jan 27, 2008 - 9:16 PM AMHERST, Massachusetts (Ticker) -- Drew Lavender helped Xavier capture another key Atlantic 10 Conference road victory.

Lavender scored 19 points and pulled down a career-high 10 rebounds as the 22nd-ranked Musketeers posted a 77-65 victory over Massachusetts at the Mullins Center on Sunday.

A lightning-quick point guard, Lavender scored 13 points after halftime. He finished 6-of-14 from the field to lead four Musketeers in double figures.

"We're a very unselfish team," Lavender said. "We like sharing the ball. When anyone has a lane, we take it."

Fresh off its 69-43 rout at No. 19 Dayton on Thursday, Xavier (17-4, 5-1 A-10) opened a 21-10 lead midway through the first half. Derrick Brown started the run with a pair of free throws and accounted for six points during the 11-1 surge.

The Minutemen (13-6, 2-3) momentarily stopped the run with a 3-pointer by Etienne Brower, but Xavier countered with a pair of free throws by Josh Duncan and a dunk by Brown en route to a 34-23 lead at the half.

"You've got to give Xavier a lot of credit," Massachusetts coach Travis Ford said. "They did a good job of shutting down a couple of our guys. They're bigger and stronger than we are. They exploited a lot of the weaknesses we have and we can't do anything about that."

Massachusetts narrowed its deficit to 37-30 early in the second half on a layup by Chris Lowe and five points from Gary Forbes.

The Musketeers responded with a 12-1 run over the next two minutes to open their largest lead of the game at 49-31 with 15:45 remaining. Jason Love and Brown triggered the burst, and Stanley Burrell added two more during the run.

A 3-pointer by Forbes and layup by Ricky Harris helped the Minutemen close to 68-63 with just under two minutes left.

But a layup by B.J. Raymond and a dunk from dunk by Brown over the next 15 seconds, sealed the win for the Musketeers.

"I'm pleased with our team's effort tonight," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "When you think of Xavier, if you watch this at our best this year, you can really point to some terrific offensive performances. There are times when we beat those teams that everyone gives us full credit for."

Brown finished with 14 points, Anderson added 13 and Duncan chipped in with 10 for the Musketeers, who shot 44 percent (25-57) from the field.

"We're the only team in college basketball that has six players averaging double figures," Miller said. "It's hard to do when you play 21 games. As a coach, I'm not saying, 'hey you shoot, you don't shoot, let's make sure we have six.' It just happens: the balance with different people that can do things."

Brower scored 22 points and Forbes 16 for UMass, which dropped its second straight game.

Lowe added 12 points for the Minutemen, who shot 37 percent (20-54) from the floor.

"Xavier is who I thought they were, no different than what I've seen on tape," Ford said. "I've watched their team and they have a lot of weapons, a lot of weapons, and a they're a very good basketball team with a lot of talent."