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Published: Monday, 3/19/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

SOUTH REGIONAL

Xavier gets back to Sweet 16 again

Frease leads Musketeers with 25

ASSOCIATED PRESS
Xavier’s Tu Holloway (52) drives past Lehigh’s John Adams (4) during the second half of a third-round game in Greensboro, N.C. on Sunday. Xavier’s Tu Holloway (52) drives past Lehigh’s John Adams (4) during the second half of a third-round game in Greensboro, N.C. on Sunday.
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GREENSBORO — Xavier is making a habit of reaching the round of 16.

Senior center Kenny Frease scored a career-high 25 points to go with 12 rebounds, and the Musketeers knocked off upset-minded Lehigh 70-58 Sunday night to advance to the regional semifinals of the NCAA tournament for the fourth time in five years.

Lehigh, which stunned No. 2 seed Duke on Friday, was looking to become the first 15 seed to make it to the tournament’s second weekend. But the 7-foot Frease stood in the way.

He dominated in the paint, hitting 11 of 13 shots, and Tu Holloway was his normal productive self with 21 points as 10th-seeded Xavier (22-12) moved on to play No. 3 seed Baylor on Friday in the South Regional at Atlanta.

The Musketeers held C.J. McCollum, the nation’s fifth-leading scorer, to 14 points on 5-of-22 shooting and overcame a 15-point first-half deficit.

Mackey McKnight had 20 points for Lehigh (27-7), which tied a Patriot League record for wins in a season.

The Musketeers won despite playing most of the game without their third-leading scorer, Dezmine Wells. He injured his right ankle in the first half and did not return.

The Mountain Hawks started strong, opening a 35-20 lead behind 53 percent shooting and 14 first-half points from McKnight. Xavier clawed back to cut the lead to 37-33 at halftime behind a 3-point buzzer-beater by Holloway.

The Mountain Hawks went more than seven minutes without a field goal to start the second half — missing their first 10 shots from the field — and the Musketeers took advantage by going on a 14-3 spurt to take a 47-40 lead.

The Mountain Hawks fought back again, however, tying the game at 52. That’s when Xavier took over for good, closing with an 18-6 run.

Holloway, who had to change his jersey number in the second half from 52 to 24 after getting blood on it, led the charge. He hit a 3-pointer with 6:58 remaining to give the Musketeers a 55-52 lead they never relinquished.

Holloway scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half. That came two nights after he scored 17 of his 25 after halftime in a win over Notre Dame.

Lehigh simply couldn’t make a shot in the second half, going more than 6 minutes down the stretch without a basket.

The Mountain Hawks shot 5 of 34 (14.7 percent) from the field in the second half.



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