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Mack pounces late, lifts Charlotte over Xavier

Feb 20, 2009 - 6:40 AM CHARLOTTE, North Carolina (Ticker) -- All of a sudden, Xavier can't win on the road. Lamont Mack made sure of that.

After nearly a game-long struggle, Mack scored 12 points in the final eight minutes to propel Charlotte to a 65-60 victory over the 17th-ranked Musketeers on Thursday.

The loss was Xavier's third straight away from home, coming on the heels of back-to-back setbacks to Duquesne and Dayton last week.

The 49ers (10-15, 4-7 A-10), who suffered a 22-point defeat in their first meeting with Xavier this season, wouldn't let this one get away from them even as the Musketeers repeatedly matched their offensive pressure.

"I've said it all year. This team has never quit and never stopped believing, despite all the injuries and adversity that we've had," Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz told the Charlotte Observer.

"It's amazing how hard they work, and how much they believe we can get better and how we can beat anybody we play. We also know we have a fine margin for error. Tonight, we found that."

Most of that was due to Mack. The senior forward - the team's leading scorer - missed his first seven field-goal attempts and was held scoreless until the 7:53 mark of the second half.

But Mack took over from there. He got on the board with a free throw, then added a layup one possession later to cut Charlotte's deficit to 51-50.

With the Musketeers' lead back to three, Mack scored six points in a 51-second span, knocking down a pair of foul shots and burying back-to-back jumpers to open up a 56-53 lead for Charlotte.

He still wasn't having much luck from 3-point range, but he saved that for last. After C.J. Anderson's lay-in pulled Xavier back to within 59-58, Mack answered on the other end, cutting across the baseline and connecting from the corner to extend the lead to four.

Although he finished 4-of-12 from the field, Mack ended up scoring in double figures for the 13th straight game.

An'Juan Wilderness hit three free throws in the final 12 seconds to put the game on ice. Ian Anderson led Charlotte with 16 points and six boards, while DiJuan Harris added seven points and 10 assists.

"Every win is huge. I know that's clich??, but it really is. I think it shows this is a great league and we can play at this level," Andersen told the newspaper. "Until you're done playing, you can never give up. There has been no quit on this team. There will be no quit on this team."

C.J. Anderson scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds for Xavier (21-5, 9-3), which finished 4-of-15 on 3-pointers.

The loss was definitely a bitter one for Xavier coach Sean Miller, who declined to attend the postgame interview, just like he did following the setback to Duquesne.