CINCINNATI -- Seven-foot center Kenny Frease had season highs with 19 points and 14 rebounds Saturday night, and Xavier blew a big early lead before holding on for a 65-57 victory over Richmond.
The Musketeers (18-10, 9-5 Atlantic 10 Conference) wore white throwback uniforms honoring the 2001-02 team led by power forward David West. They then pulled one out with a throwback effort from Frease, who dominated inside.Richmond (15-15, 6-9) went more than 11 minutes without a basket to open the game, allowing Xavier to pull ahead 16-0. Then, the Musketeers went cold -- including Frease, who repeatedly missed layups during the Spiders' rally.Frease sealed it by getting two offensive rebounds in the final 46 seconds. Tu Holloway added 16 points, including four free throws in the last 31 seconds.Darien Brothers scored 15 points for Richmond, including 11 straight during one stretch of the second half that kept it close.The Musketeers were coming off an 80-73 loss at Massachusetts on Tuesday that put their streak of A-10 titles in peril. Xavier has won at least a share of the league's last five regular-season championships. There was no room for another slip.They let control of this one slip away in the first half.Richmond went the first 11:25 without scoring, allowing Xavier to pull ahead 16-0. Then, the Musketeers went cold and the Spiders closed in, taking their first lead at 37-35 with 12:53 to go.It was a mismatch for the first 11 minutes.Xavier went right after Richmond's biggest weakness -- its front line. The Musketeers passed inside for four quick baskets and an 8-0 lead that forced the Spiders to call a timeout to regroup less than 4 minutes into the game. Coach Chris Mooney used yet another timeout as the lead reached 16-0.The fans cheered louder with each missed shot, which kept the shutout going.Finally, after missing its first nine shots and turning the ball over nine times, the Spiders got on the scoreboard with Derrick Williams' long 3 at the 8:35 mark. The sloppiness was uncharacteristic for the Spiders, who average only 11.4 turnovers per game, 25th-best in Division I.Once the Spiders made their first shot, they relaxed and made a few more, making it a game. Kendall Anthony's driving layup completed a 19-7 run that closed the half and cut the lead to 25-22. Richmond made six of its nine shots during the run and didn't turn the ball over.The Spiders took their first lead when Anthony hit a jumper with 12:53 to go, sending a rumble through the Cintas Center crowd.Brothers scored 11 consecutive points for Richmond over one stretch, while Frease kept getting the ball inside for one-hand shots, keeping it close. There were five ties and two lead changes before Frease put Xavier ahead to stay 50-46 with back-to-back baskets.