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Wright helps Dayton halt skid, knock off Xavier

Feb 12, 2009 - 4:25 AM DAYTON, Ohio (Ticker) -- After missing all three meetings with Xavier last season, Dayton's Chris Wright made sure his debut against the Atlantic 10 rival ended in a win.

Wright matched a season high with 19 points and the Flyers snapped a six-game losing streak to the 14th-ranked Musketeers with a 71-58 victory on Wednesday.

Marcus Johnson added 13 points and five assists for Dayton (22-3, 8-2 A-10), which had lost both regular-season games and been eliminated by the Musketeers in the A-10 tournament in consecutive seasons.

Wright averaged 10.4 points per game last season before breaking his ankle 14 games into the campaign. Dayton was 13-1 at the time, but faltered to a 9-9 mark the rest of the way while dropping all three games to Xavier en route to an NIT bid.

The Flyers have NCAA Tournament aspirations this season and the sophomore's performance against the Musketeers helped Dayton to a resume-building win.

"It was an exciting game and we just wanted to come out and play hard," said Wright, who scored 17 of his 19 in the second half. "I was having a lot of fun out there and playing with a lot of energy. We came out and played good defense."

Wright, who leads the Flyers with 12.6 points per game, paced a balanced attack in this one, knocking down 7-of-13 attempts from the field and grabbing six rebounds.

"He (Chris Wright) was going to go through some stuff this year that he should have gone through as a freshman," Dayton coach Brian Gregory said. "He's going to go through some of those rookie things.

"One of the hardest parts is for Chris to understand that and move on. This program is important to him. He was too jacked up the first half. He calmed down and played a great second half."

Dayton had 11 different players score and used a 13-4 spurt in the second half to pull away.

Back-to-back dunks by Xavier's Derrick Brown pulled the visitors to within 42-39 with 15:56 left. After a timeout, Dayton responded with the key run and would lead by no less than seven the rest of the way.

"It might seem funny, but we never talk about (being an NCAA team)," Dayton guard Mickey Perry said. "We just take everything one game at a time, one practice at a time. It's another 40 minutes of opportunity to get better and play."

Xavier (20-4, 8-2), which never led in the contest, dropped its second consecutive game after an 11-game winning streak was ended in a 72-68 loss at Duquesne on Saturday.

Brown led the Musketeers with 17 points while B.J. Raymond added 12, but C.J. Anderson battled foul trouble throughout, scoring just three points in 20 minutes. Anderson was 1-of-6 from the free-throw line as Xavier shot just 53 percent (9-of-17) from the stripe as a team.

Wright scored the final nine points of the game for the Flyers, who moved into a tie for second place in the A-10 standings with the Musketeers. Saint Joseph's, who plays Temple on Thursday, sits in first place with a 7-1 conference record.

The lone downside for the Flyers was an injury to Rob Lowery, who left the game in the first half with what appeared to be a serious right knee injury.

"The kid (Rob Lowery) has given his heart and soul to this team," Gregory said. "The progress he has made as an athlete, a student and a man... it just breaks your heart. We'll find out tomorrow (Thursday) after his surgery what it is. We'll just have to fight through it."