A-10: Musketeers Firing

By Matthew Shapiro - March 08, 2007

ATLANTIC CITY - We've reached the half, and Xavier has taken the lead, 33-27. What makes this game different than the last ones is that while the better team went down early, it was able to regroup and snap back into form.

Xavier showed why they are the No. 1 seed in this tournament, as they erased a seven point lead in the blink of an eye, and lead by six at the half. Their late charge was a result of overall team play and some great defense that forced Dayton into a scoring drought in the second part of the half.

One of the things that makes Xavier good is their ability to spread the ball around and get everyone involved. 5-7 junior, Drew Lavender (a University of Oklahoma transfer), did a great job of driving the lane and finding open shooters, as evidenced by his five assists in the first half.

Xavier's aggressive play and strong presence in the paint is also benefiting them. They have gone to the line 12 times already and converted nine of those attempts. Dayton has only visited the stripe twice, hitting one free throw.

The Musketeers' late run was also key because it got the crowd into the contest. The fairly large Xavier fan base didn't have much to cheer about early on, but they were pretty amped up by the end of the half. Xavier players have noticed, and are interacting with with the crowd whenever there is a big play.

Posted by Matthew Shapiro at 01:11 PM on March 08, 2007

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