Balanced Xavier scores 61 in first half, rolls to 108-70 win over Virginia

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CINCINNATI (AP)—Point guard Drew Lavender led a relentlessly balanced offense that scored 61 points in the first half Thursday night and swept Xavier to its second straight dominating victory, 108-70 over Virginia.

The Musketeers (11-3) opened with their biggest first half in 15 years and finished with a victory that will be a measuring stick. They tied a school record by making 16 3-pointers, and had seven players in double figures for the second straight game.

Combined with a 103-77 victory over Kansas State on Monday night, the Musketeers topped 100 points in consecutive games for the first time since February 1996 and the sixth time in school history.

Virginia (10-3) switched from man-to-man to zone defense, but couldn’t slow an offense that hardly missed. Xavier had at least four players in double figures for the 10th time this season and shot 64 percent from the field.

The Cavaliers hadn’t allowed 100 points in a game since a 110-76 loss to North Carolina on Jan. 29, 2005, their last season under coach Pete Gillen.

Stanley Burrell led Xavier with 15 points. Lavender had 13 points and eight assists, getting the better of a matchup of two of the nation’s most polished point guards.

Virginia’s Sean Singletary, the ACC’s top returning scorer, was more of a one-man team. He took Virginia’s first five shots and went 5-of-12 overall, finishing with a harmless 14 points.

For the second game in a row, Xavier left its opponent wondering what happened after the opening tip. The Musketeers rolled out to a 30-7 lead against Kansas State on Monday.

Three days later, Virginia’s players wore that same stunned look.

Xavier pulled out to a 38-12 lead that left Virginia coach Dave Leitao out of answers. Eight players combined on Xavier’s first 10 baskets. The signature play came on a fastbreak: C.J. Anderson passed to Burrell, who gave it right back for three-point play.

The Musketeers led 61-30 at the half, more points than Virginia had allowed in four of its games. It was Xavier’s biggest first half since a 113-73 win over Huntington in 1992-93, when it also had 61 at halftime.

The lead reached 43 before Xavier started working its reserves into the game midway through the second half. Charles Bronson’s basket made it 100-58 with 5:59 to play.

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Top Performers

 Top Performers
 Virginia
S. Singletary S. Singletary
5-12,  14 Pts
3 Rebs, 7 Assists
 Xavier
D. Lavender D. Lavender
5-8,  13 Pts
1 Rebs, 8 Assists

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Thursday, Jan 3