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Experience, poise help Xavier get past Purdue

Mar 23, 2008 - 2:09 AM WASHINGTON (Ticker) -- Drew Lavender and Xavier had just too much experience and firepower for a young Purdue squad.

Lavender scored 13 of his 18 points in the second half as the third-seeded Musketeers battled past the Boilermakers, 85-78, in the second round of the West Regional on Saturday.

C.J. Anderson also had 18 points and Josh Duncan added 16 for Xavier (29-6), which shot 53 percent (27-of-51) and finished with four players in double figures.

The only team in Division I with four active 1,000-point scorers, the Musketeers showed their poise on a number of instances, the most important being when the Boilermakers took their first lead since the first half at 61-60 with 5:42 left behind an 11-0 run.

Xavier answered with a 7-0 run of its own, pulling ahead, 67-61, with 3:41 to go after a floater by Anderson beat the shot clock.

"It was going to come down to the team that made the most plays was going to win and that's what we did," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "We have six guys in double figures - that's kind of unique and tough to defend. We have a veteran team in that we have three seniors who've been through it."

"Definitely the experience showed," Purdue sophomore guard Keaton Grant said. "If I could compare them to a team - Florida - they didn't get rattled."

After Grant's two free throws cut Purdue's deficit to 68-64 with 2:51 left, Xavier went on a 7-2 run, pulling ahead, 75-66, with 1:18 remaining.

The Musketeers advanced to a regional semifinal for the first time since 2004.

"It's been awesome to watch our team grow under coach Miller," said Xavier senior guard Stanley Burrell, who scored 11 points. "He's been guiding us through this and we've been getting better and better."

Xavier did start slowly, as Purdue scored the first nine points of the game. However, the Musketeers charged to the lead behind a 17-2 spurt, going ahead, 23-18, on a dunk by Derrick Brown with 7:52 remaining. Duncan had seven points during the burst.

Taking a 35-32 lead into halftime, Xavier was able to stay in charge for most of the rest of the contest due to its numerous trips to the free-throw line. It converted 26-of-33, including 20-of-27 in the second half.

"We just gave them too many and-one plays," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "They were able to get to the free-throw line and make their free throws. At times, we just could not stop them."

Lavender finished 4-of-7 from the floor with two 3-pointers and handed out nine assists. The senior point guard had been hampered by an ankle injury prior to the NCAAs, playing tentatively in Xavier's two losses to Saint Joseph's.

"Now that Drew is back to his old self, we regained on offense to where we were earlier in the year," Miller said.

Anderson grabbed seven rebounds and B.J. Raymond added six for the Musketeers, who will face No. 7 West Virginia in Phoenix on Thursday.

Grant finished with 19 points and freshman E'Twaun Moore added 15 for sixth-seeded Purdue (25-9), which went 39 percent (26-of-67) from the field.

Ultimately, the Boilermakers' chance to make their first "Sweet 16" since 2000 suffered due to the play of freshman Robbie Hummel, who ended up with just seven points on 2-of-10 shooting.

Hummel, who also grabbed nine rebounds, came into the game scoring 12.3 points over his last seven games.

Notching its first 25-win season since 1997-98, Purdue expects to be back in the NCAA Tournament for years to come as it starts two sophomores and a pair of freshmen.

"We have a lot of guys who need to get bigger, stronger, quicker, and we'll get to work on that this spring," Painter said. "It's hard to work on getting stronger during the season."