for this game

Xavier edges GW to capture Atlantic 10 crown outright

Mar 2, 2008 - 5:22 AM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- C.J. Anderson made sure that a lack of Drew Lavender did not spoil an outright Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season title for Xavier.

Anderson scored 11 of his 15 points in the second half as the 11th-ranked Musketeers held off a pesky George Washington squad for a 66-56 victory on Saturday.

Josh Duncan scored 13 points and Jason Love added 12 for Xavier (25-4, 13-1 A-10), which won its 11th straight game despite the absence of starting point guard Lavender.

The team's leader in assists and its second-leading scorer, Lavender was forced to the sidelines late in the first half due to a nagging ankle injury and did not return. He finished without a point and four assists in 16 minutes.

Despite Lavender's absence, the Musketeers were able to secure sole possession of their second straight league title with two games remaining. Xavier wraps up the regular season vs. Richmond on March 8.

"We really count on Drew," Xavier guard Stanley Burrell said. "He's a big part of this team. We need him out there. We know he's working his butt off to get back there. I'm so proud of everybody. They showed a lot of heart down the stretch."

Early on, the Musketeers appeared destined for a rout, scoring 19 of the game's first 23 points with nearly eight minutes expired.

The Colonials (9-15, 5-9) battled back, going on a 12-0 run to move within six points before settling for a 36-28 deficit at the half.

George Washington, which was aiming for its first four-game winning streak of the season, made another push in the second half, managing to tie the contest at 49-49 on a layup by Xavier Alexander with 6:23 remaining. However, the Colonials could not pull ahead.

Anderson did his best to single-handedly keep George Washington at bay, scoring six straight points including the layup that broke that tie.

"He had some timely baskets," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "I have a high expectation for C.J. because he's a terrific player."

George Washington was trailing, 56-55, after a 3-pointer by Wynton Witherspoon with 3:04 left before Xavier went on a decisive 10-1 run.

Anderson and Love both split a pair of free throws before Josh Duncan converted a pair with 1:48 left to make it 60-56. Burrell's layup with 58 seconds to play gave the Musketeers a 63-56 cushion.

Overall, Xavier went to the free-throw line 21 times in the second half. It managed to make 11 attempts, but George Washington was no better, going 5-of-12 over the final 20 minutes.

The Musketeers finished 16-of-29 from the stripe. They offset that by shooting 55 percent (22-of-40) from the field.

"We just couldn't stop them inside," George Washington coach Karl Hobbs said. "They were able to get to the free-throw line 29 times."

The Colonials missed their final five shots from the field en route to shooting 36 percent (10-of-28) in the second half.

Love led the way for Xavier on the boards, grabbing a career-high 10 rebounds en route to his first double-double.

"They (George Washington) were playing really hard and we had to match that," Love said. "I had to get in there and get defensive rebounds."

"I thought it was one of Jason Love's best games at an important time," Miller said. "He's the hardest worker we have."

Rob Diggs scored 19 points and Johnny Lee added 14 for George Washington, which 40 percent (20-of-50) from the field.