6:30 PM ET, March 8, 2006
CINCINNATI (AP) -- Stanley Burrell scored 22 points Wednesday, leading a long-range shooting attack that carried Xavier to a 75-66 victory over Massachusetts in the first round of the Atlantic 10 tournament.Xavier (18-10) went 10-of-18 from behind the arc, scoring easily over the conference's stingiest 3-point defense. Burrell led the way, going 3-of-5 from behind the arc in a balanced offense that featured five players in double figures.The Musketeers will play Charlotte, the tournament's No. 2 seed, on Thursday. They had a 78-65 victory at Charlotte on Jan. 14, before injuries sapped their lineup.UMass (13-15) lost its opening game in the tournament for the fourth straight year, ending a season of inconsistency. James Life led the Minutemen with 25 points, and Stephane Lasme added 20.The downtown arena, located a 20-minute drive from Xavier's campus, was roughly half-full for evening game. The Musketeers technically were the visiting team, wearing their road blue uniforms, because UMass had the better seed.Xavier got the crowd into the game and pulled ahead by 14 points in the first half. UMass never got closer than five points the rest of the way.Xavier hit three consecutive 3-pointers to spark a decisive 21-4 first-half run that featured nine points by Burrell. Xavier took advantage of sloppy play and listless perimeter defense by the Minutemen, who had 12 turnovers in the first half and 20 in the game.Freshman point guard Johnny Wolf, who became the starter when senior Dedrick Finn was kicked off the team Feb. 22 for violating school policy, hit a pair of 3's from behind the NBA arc during the run that put Xavier ahead to stay.Xavier has been forced to rely on its outside shooters since forward Brian Thornton, the team's leading scorer and rebounder, broke his ankle on Feb. 11. Less than two weeks later, forward Justin Doellman broke two bones in his shooting hand.As a result, Xavier finished the regular season in a 3-4 slump that included a 65-56 loss at Massachusetts on Saturday. The Musketeers faded in that one, failing to make a field goal in the final 8 minutes.Massachusetts coach Travis Ford worried about his team's puzzling inconsistency heading into the rematch -- only one three-game winning streak all season. On Wednesday, the Minutemen were out of sorts against a team they'd beaten only four days earlier.Life got the Minutemen rolling early in the second half by hitting a 3 and, seconds later, stealing a crosscourt pass for a fastbreak dunk that cut the lead to 35-29. Xavier quickly ended the comeback by hitting three consecutive 3's in a 13-3 spurt, the first of them by Burrell.UMass made a late run, cutting it to 61-56 on consecutive 3's by Jeff Viggiano and Life. Doellman put Xavier back in control by hitting a 3-pointer, then getting a steal and passing to Burrell for a fastbreak layup.Doellman, playing with a brace on the right hand, went 4-of-11 from the field for 12 points.
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Team Stat Comparison
|FG Made-Attempted||25-49 (.510)||24-58 (.414)|
|3P Made-Attempted||10-18 (.556)||8-26 (.308)|
|FT Made-Attempted||15-24 (.625)||10-16 (.625)|
|Fouls (Tech/Flagrant)||17 (0/0)||21 (0/0)|