Boilermakers Fall Short to Musketeers in Close Contest

PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM Nemanja Calasan shoots past Xavier forward Josh Duncan. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM
Nemanja Calasan shoots past Xavier forward Josh Duncan. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)
PURDUESPORTSDOTCOM

March 22, 2008

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WASHINGTON (AP) - Xavier played its usual brand of in-your-face defense against Purdue, which seemingly couldn't get to the bench during a timeout without being hounded by a player in a white jersey.

The Musketeers were also surprisingly efficient on the other end of the court, and that ultimately made the difference in an 85-78 victory Saturday that put the X-Men in the West Regional semifinals.

C.J. Anderson and Drew Lavender each scored 18 points and Josh Duncan had 16 for No. 3 seed Xavier (29-6). The Musketeers shot 54 percent in breaking the single-season school record for wins and setting up a meeting with seventh-seeded West Virginia, a surprise winner over Duke, on Thursday in Phoenix.

Keaton Grant scored 19 for the Boilermakers (25-9), who have won 10 straight first-round games but have exited without another win in half those tournaments - including two in a row.

The Musketeers were 26-for-33 at the line and 27-for-50 from the floor against a team that led the Big Ten in field goal percentage defense. The 85 points scored by Xavier were the most allowed by Purdue this season.

Lavender, a 5-foot-7 guard, had nine assists and provided Xavier with a pivotal basket after the Musketeers frittered away an almost insurmountable lead in this defensive struggle.

It was 60-50, Xavier, with 8:35 left when Robbie Hummel made a layup and a 3-pointer in an 11-0 run that provided the Boilermakers their first lead since late in the first half.

The Musketeers quickly answered. B.J. Raymond made a three-point play, and Lavender challenged Purdue's big men with a successful drive to the hoop down the left side. Anderson capped the 7-0 run with a jumper in the lane, and Xavier did not let the margin slip below four the rest of the way.

Lavender went 8-for-8 at the line in the final minute.

The Boilermakers' comeback bid was blunted by the loss of sophomore guard Chris Kramer, who fouled out with 3:05 to go. Purdue, which scored a season-high 90 points in a first-round rout of Baylor, shot only 39 percent and was 8-for-21 from 3-point range.

Xavier started horribly, stepping into a 9-0 hole after only three minutes. The Musketeers' first six possessions featured three missed shots and three turnovers, and their defense allowed the Boilermakers to go 4-for-5 with a 3-pointer.

A steal and a three-point play by Purdue's Tarrance Crump made it 12-2, but Xavier got points from six different players in a 19-6 run that made it 21-18, and suddenly the Musketeers were the ones thrusting their fists in the air and exchanging high-fives.

It was 27-23 before reserve Marcus Green hit a 3-pointer and a driving layup to put the Boilermakers back in front. But Anderson answered with a three-point play, and a 3-pointer by Lavender just before the buzzer gave Xavier a 35-32 halftime lead.