Xavier 70

(20-10, 8-8 A 10)

Fordham 59

(16-16, 9-7 A 10)

    8:30 PM ET, March 10, 2006

    1 2 T
    XAV 37 3370
    FOR 33 2659

    Top Performers

    Xavier: J. Duncan 20 Pts, 7 Reb

    Fordham: B. Dunston 16 Pts, 9 Reb, 2 Ast

    Xavier 70, Fordham 59

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Josh Duncan scored a career high 20 points and hit two pivotal jumpers in the closing minutes Friday night, leading Xavier to a 70-59 victory over Fordham and a spot in the Atlantic 10 tournament final.

    Xavier (20-10) will be trying to win its third A10 tournament title in five years when it plays Saint Joseph's on Saturday. The Hawks beat Temple 73-59 in the earlier semifinal.

    The Musketeers became the first A10 team to win four games in four days during the 2004 tournament, which launched the Musketeers on a run to the NCAA's final eight. Only nine other teams have won four games in four days to clinch a tournament title.

    No school has done it twice. This one has a chance.

    Justin Cage added 13 points, and Justin Doellman -- playing with two broken bones in his heavily wrapped shooting hand -- scored 12 in a balanced attack. Bryant Dunston led Fordham with 16 points and nine rebounds, but fouled out with 2:04 to go.

    Xavier has dominated Fordham (16-16) since it joined the Atlantic 10 in the 1995-96 season, going 12-1. That includes a 20-point victory on Feb. 15, the Musketeers' first game after leading scorer Brian Thornton was lost for the season to a broken ankle.

    Instead of letting its season crumble, Xavier reinvented itself as more of a perimeter-driven team. The Musketeers started gelling at tournament time, just like two years ago.

    Fordham, playing in its first A10 semifinal, was staggered in the opening minutes. Cage's 3-pointer started a 15-6 opening run by Xavier, which wore its road blue uniforms but had the crowd on its side. The tournament is played at a downtown arena located a 20-minute drive from campus.

    The Rams rank second in the conference in 3-point shooting, but missed their first seven attempts from behind the arc. When they started falling, the game tightened.

    Jermaine Anderson's three-point play off a steal and layup tied it at 20 and started a series of rapid-fire lead changes. Anderson and Michael Binns swished NBA-distance 3-pointers as the shot clock ran down, while Xavier countered by driving for baskets.

    Stanley Burrell's fastbreak floater with 2 seconds left put Xavier up 37-33 at halftime.

    Xavier held a slim lead through the first 10 minutes of the second half, unable to put together a run or stop Fordham from keeping pace. Johnny Wolf's driving layup made it 50-43 with 9:23 to go, Xavier's biggest lead since its game-opening run.

    At that point, both teams looked a little tired from the up-and-down pace. Duncan finally broke it open by hitting a pull-up jumper and another shot from the corner. Doellman's rebound and bank shot put Xavier up 60-49 with 4:29 to go, and Fordham never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 70 59
    FG Made-Attempted 24-50 (.480) 20-57 (.351)
    3P Made-Attempted 3-15 (.200) 7-25 (.280)
    FT Made-Attempted 19-24 (.792) 12-17 (.706)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 19 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 13 1

    2005-06 Season

    Feb 15, 2006 @XAV 84, FOR 64Recap
    » Mar 10, 2006 XAV 70, @FOR 59Recap