Brown, No. 17 Xavier Rally Past Bearcats

Thursday, December 13th 2007, 8:32 am
By: News On 6

CINCINNATI (AP) _ The ball was loose on the floor, and all 10 players went after it. The referees eventually untangled the pile of bodies and assessed two technical fouls for jawing and shoving. Vintage crosstown rivalry.

No. 17 Xavier won a game Wednesday night that fit the tradition, using Derrick Brown's late scoring surge to rally for a 64-59 victory over Cincinnati that left both teams bruised and feeling that they'd grown up a little bit.

``Show me a game where there's 10 players on the floor, that's a hard-fought game,'' Xavier coach Sean Miller said. ``I was reminded at the start, in the first few minutes, that this game is so different, so emotional, so physical.''

It fit the mold.

There were technical fouls, two injuries and five lead changes in the frenzied, final minutes. The game included everything that has made the rivalry famous, except for the stunning upset.

Brown saw to that.

The sophomore forward took the game firmly into his left shooting hand and scored 11 points in the final 7 minutes. The Musketeers (8-1) needed him more than ever after senior forward Josh Duncan left in the second half with a left knee injury that doesn't appear to be serious.

``We let him get in the lane,'' Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. ``If you let him get in the lane and shoot layups, he's going to make them all. He's 6-foot-9 and jumps over everybody.

``We played 37 minutes of really good basketball. The last 3 minutes we didn't execute defensively. That's where we got beat.''

In other games involving Top 25 teams, No. 20 Vanderbilt beat DePaul 91-85 in overtime and No. 25 BYU routed Lamar 88-66.

Heading into the game, it seemed that Cincinnati (4-5) was much farther away from Xavier than the 3 1/2 miles that separate them. While the Musketeers are on the rise, the Bearcats are off to their worst start in 22 years.

This one brought out the best in them.

``In this game, the effort was there,'' Cincinnati forward John Williamson said. ``Everything was there. We had a few letdowns at the end of the game. That's where we messed up. We're not exactly all the way happy because we didn't get the win, but we found what we're capable of. We didn't get rattled by the crowd.''

And Xavier didn't get rattled by the rough-and-tumble tone. Last year, Xavier also was favored, but got pushed around and lost by 10 points on the Bearcats' court.

``This is different from any other game,'' said Xavier senior guard Stanley Burrell, who stood on the media table and looked up at the crowd in celebration after the final buzzer. ``It's emotional and guys are fighting, there are technical fouls. We wanted to set the tone, and that's what we did tonight. We made the plays down the stretch to win it.

``It's a new day, a new team. We were not going to get run over like we did last year.''

Stunning upsets have been the hallmark of the series. Playing with its highest ranking since the end of the 2002-03 season, Xavier had to reach deep to prevent another.

A no-holds-barred tone was set in a first half that featured seven lead changes, two personal fouls and one forearm to the face _ Xavier point guard Drew Lavender's face smacked into Williamson's forearm on a screen.

Both teams lost starters to injury in the second half. Cincinnati forward Marvin Gentry was taken off the court on a neck board as a precaution after he ran into teammate Deonta Vaughn's knee while going for a loose ball.

``I've been told Marvin's fine,'' Cronin said. ``It was just a precaution.''

Duncan had to be helped off the court after he was pushed from behind and landed hard during a tussle for a rebound. Duncan will get tests Thursday on his left knee.

``The initial diagnosis is favorable,'' Miller said.

The victory was Xavier's sixth in its last nine games against Cincinnati. The way the Musketeers pulled it out was telling.

``It's great for us to be in a really tough, hard-fought game,'' Miller said. ``We haven't had many. We're a different team than we were last year. In December last year, we were very much finding our way. We were not ready to win a game of this magnitude. This year, we're better.''

No. 20 Vanderbilt 91, DePaul 85, OT

At Rosemont, Ill., Shan Foster and A.J. Ogilvy came through after struggling most of the night, and Vanderbilt rallied to remain undefeated.

At 10-0, Vanderbilt is off to its best start since the 2003-04 team won its first 12. Foster and Ogilvy were non-factors for most of the night, but both finished with 19 points.

Draelon Burns led DePaul (2-4) with 24 points, and Mac Koshwal scored 21.

No. 25 BYU 88, Lamar 66

At Provo, Utah, Lee Cummard scored a career-high 27 points and Brigham Young won for the 36th straight time at home.

Trent Plaisted added 22 points and Jonathan Tavernari scored 11 for the Cougars (8-2), who had a double-digit lead for most of the game.

Lamar Sanders scored 11 to lead Lamar (3-6).