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Xavier edges Rhode Island, stays perfect in A-10

Jan 16, 2009 - 5:40 AM PROVIDENCE, Rhode Island (Ticker) -- Freshman Terrell Holloway collected 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists and Dante Jackson hit a key 3-pointer to lead No. 16 Xavier to a 67-65 victory over Rhode Island on Thursday.

Derrick Brown finished with 12 points and eight rebounds and C.J. Anderson scored 11 before fouling out late in the second half for the Musketeers (14-2, 3-0 A-10), who shot 20-of-26 from the free-throw line.

"We were fortunate to win the game," Xavier coach Sean Miller told the Cincinnati Enquirer. "We certainly didn't play our best, and Rhode Island had a lot to do with that. They have a pressing system and style that took us out of our rhythm. Our two point guards combined had eight turnovers, and when you have 22 turnovers on the road, it's rough to win against a good team."

Xavier trailed, 61-60, with 1:45 left when Jackson took a pass from Holloway and drained a 3-pointer. The Rams (11-5, 0-2) missed their next two shots before Holloway hit a pair of free throws to stretch the lead to 65-61 with 31 seconds left.

"He's done this numerous times where the only shot he makes is the big one," Miller told the Enquirer of Jackson, who was 0-of-5 before hitting the 3-pointer.

Tied at 34-34 at the half, Anderson gave the Musketeers a quick lead in the second with seven straight points and nine in an 11-2 spurt that pushed the edge to a game-high 45-36.

Rhode Island responded with seven straight points to cut it to 45-43 and took its first lead of the half, 50-48, when Delroy James hit a 3-pointer with 9:54 left.

Holloway tied it again with a pair of free throws and Xavier led, 59-56, after Brad Redford and Anderson hit two free throws apiece with 6:03 to play.

Jimmy Baron gave the Rams their last lead with a 3-pointer and a later jumper with 3:51 left.

"We got outrebounded and it is tough to win when that happens," Baron said. "Mentally, I think we need to focus on closing out games because we have lost too many close ones this season."

Baron led the way with 19 points for Rhode Island, which shot 37 percent (26-of-70) and got to the free-throw line just 10 times, knocking down five.

"Xavier is a good team, very physical, but we battled them to the end," Rams coach Jim Baron said. "We have a lot of courage and a lot of heart and we will fight back. We found out that pressure works well for us and I thought we did a great job getting those easy buckets."