Xavier 79, Brigham Young 77

Thursday, March 15th 2007, 10:43 pm
By: News On 6

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) -- Strong veteran leadership, timely 3-point shooting and six clutch points in the final two minutes from the smallest player on the floor. Xavier always seems to have what it takes to be successful in the NCAA tournament.

Drew Lavender, a 5-foot-7 transfer from Oklahoma, made two floaters in the lane, then grabbed a crucial rebound and sank two free throws with 11 seconds left to help the ninth-seeded Musketeers beat eighth-seeded Brigham Young 79-77 in the first round of the South Regional Thursday night.

Justin Doellman scored 23 points and Lavender finished with 17 to help Xavier (25-8) advance beyond the first round for the fourth time in its last five NCAA appearances. The Atlantic 10 co-regular season champions will face Ohio State and former Musketeers coach Thad Matta in the second round.

Xavier trailed by as many as nine before Lavender, Doellman and B.J. Raymond hit 3-pointers during a 16-3 run that turned a 52-44 deficit into a 60-55 lead. BYU (25-9) battled back to take a 73-71 lead with 2:10 to go, but couldn't stop Lavender down the stretch.

Mountain West Conference player of the year Keena Young led BYU with 24 points, including a layup at the buzzer. Mike Rose scored 15 on 3-pointers and Austin Ainge added 12 for the Cougars.