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Brown, Xavier snap LSU's home-winning streak

Jan 25, 2009 - 5:43 AM BATON ROUGE, Louisiana (Ticker) -- It had been nearly a year since a visiting team walked out of the Pete Maravich Assembly Center a winner. But behind an experienced roster, Xavier did just that.

Derrick Brown had 22 points and nine rebounds as the 13th-ranked Musketeers snapped Louisiana State's 17-game home winning streak with an 80-70 non-conference victory Saturday.

Senior B.J. Raymond added 21 points as Xavier outlasted LSU behind a strong second-half effort. The Musketeers trailed by one at halftime, 37-36, but built a double-digit lead and made their final 12 free-throw attempts down the stretch to clinch the win.

"There was an incredibly hostile crowd here and probably the best that we've played in front of in almost two years, and we've played in front of some big ones," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "I think for us to come in and do what we did says a lot about our team. Most importantly, it says a lot about our older players."

With four upperclassmen in its starting lineup, the Atlantic 10 power hung with the Tigers early and pulled away late to capture its eighth straight win.

The Tigers (15-4) led 44-41 after a dunk by Chris Johnson 1:35 after halftime. That is when the Musketeers turned up the pressure on the defensive end, outscoring the home team 12-3 over the next 8:36 to open a six-point lead.

"When teams like that are physical, they knock you out of a rhythm," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "Again, for me looking at it and going in, I can't fault that because that's what you want. You want them to go out there and be aggressive and not be afraid to make a play.

"This group didn't play looking afraid and timid. We want to get ourselves back in this situation at home or on the road late in the year or during the course of the year and win a game."

LSU would not get closer than four points the rest of the way and Raymond and freshman Terrell Holloway sank 3-pointers to open a 10-point advantage with 6:01 left.

"LSU is a well-coached and well-played team," Raymond said. "It was a hard fight tonight. Everyone played their hearts out. I can't say anything bad about LSU. I have tremendous respect for them. When it came down to the end we just fought a little harder and came out with a victory."

Brown and fellow junior Jason Love combined with senior C.J. Anderson to dominate the glass. Brown and Anderson grabbed nine boards apiece while Love had eight as Xavier owned a 40-27 rebounding edge.

"Obviously this is a good basketball team that beat us and the bottom line is, we aren't there yet," Johnson. "We need to make sure that by the end of the year we continue to improve so we can compete at that level. The game was decided on the glass it was 40-27 and I thought their physicality wore us down."

Marcus Thornton kept the Tigers in it with 30 points, the second straight game in which the senior has reached the 30-point mark and the fourth time this season.

Kenny Frease added 12 points off the bench and Love scored 10 for Xavier, which shot 60 percent (12-of-20) in the second half and held LSU to 32 percent (10-of-31).

LSU, which entered the game 14-0 at home this season, last lost at home on February 16 against Kentucky.

"This is the most physical team we've played so far. They were big and strong in every position," Thornton said. "We have to get in the weight room and get stronger, so we can get ready for everything else if we plan on playing in late March."