Xavier upsets 'Dogs
By By Tony Krausz / assistant sports editor
March 22, 2004
ORLANDO, Fla. Mississippi State University couldn't figure out a way to halt the sharp shooting of Xavier.
The Musketeers drained 13-of-19 shots from three-point range as they eliminated the Bulldogs from the NCAA tournament with an 89-74 win on Sunday.
Xavier starting guards Lionel Chalmers and Romain Sato and reserve guard Dedrick Finn hit 11-of-14 three-pointers, with Finn going 5-for-7 and Chalmers knocking down 4-of-4 shots from behind the arc.
Chalmers finished the game with a career-high 31 points, hitting 11-of-13 shots from the floor. Finn scored a career-high 22 points, and Sato finished with 12.
Chalmers gave Xavier its first lead, hitting his second three-pointer of the game with 1:39 left in the opening half to give the Musketeers a 31-30 advantage.
MSU guard Timmy Bowers, who finished with 15 points, retook the lead for the Bulldogs 30 seconds later knocking down his second trey of the first half for a 33-31 lead.
But Finn shifted the momentum to the Musketeers' favor at the end of the first. The sophomore guard hit a shot from about five feet behind the half-court line with a tenth of a second left on the clock to send the Musketeers into the break with a 34-33 lead.
Chalmers opened the second half with a three-pointer for a 37-33 lead, and Xavier built its lead to 10-points with 8:46 to play in the game.
Freshman Justin Doellman powered the Musketeers push to a double-digit lead scoring nine straight points during a one-minute stretch.
The 6-foot-9 forward, who finished with 13 points, hit a pair of three-pointers and tallied a three-point play, making a free throw after being fouled on a layup.
Xavier sealed the win with an unusual feat against MSU grabbing a pair of offensive rebounds.
Leading 72-63, Chalmers and Musketeers forward Anthony Myles, who scored eight points and had 14 rebounds, combined to grab two of their team's six offensive rebounds.
Myles kicked out the last rebound on MSU's end to the floor to Finn, who drained the last of his five three-pointers to give Xavier a 63-75 lead with 3:47 to play.
The Musketeers never gave up their double-digit lead the rest of the way.
MSU seemed to have control of the game in the opening minutes.
The Bulldogs took a 23-13 lead with 8:52 remaining in the half, going on a 10-0 scoring run.
Power highlighted the run, hitting a pair of three-pointers and knocking down his first shot of the game with a bank shot from the right wing for an 18-13 lead.
The Bulldog forward nailed is second straight three from the left corner, and Ervin closed the run with a pair of free throws.
Xavier responded to the double-digit deficit with a 13-3 run to tie the game at 28 with 2:47 to play in the first.
Chalmers led the charge scoring nine points over the six-minute scoring surge, ending the run with a jumper inside the lane.
MSU forward Branden Vincent tallied his second double-double in as many games, scoring 11 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Lawrence Roberts was held to 11 points, and Winsome Frazier scored 12.
Xavier advanced to the Sweet 16 in the Atlanta Regional. The Musketeers will meet Texas in the Georgia Dome on Friday.
The Longhorns defeated North Carolina 78-75 in the second round on Saturday to advance to the Sweet 16. Texas defeated Xavier in its last visit to the Sweet 16 in 1990, the Musketeers lost 102-89 to the Longhorns in Reunion Arena in Dallas.