Lyons leads No. 14 Xavier past Morgan State

No. 14 Xavier was missing its star player and four players

reached double figures for Morgan State, but that wasn’t enough to

keep the Bears from falling 74-63 to the Musketeers in the

regular-season opener for both teams Friday night.

Mark Lyons scored 22 points and Dezmine Wells added 12 in his

college debut as Xavier overcame the absence of its top player,

suspended senior guard Tu Holloway, to win its 22nd consecutive

regular-season opener. The Musketeers are 12-0 in season-openers at

the Cintas Center, where they will play their first four games of

the season.

Morgan State coach Todd Bozeman watched nine of the 10 players

who played for Xavier score at least two points.

”Coming in, we heard they had a lot of depth, and they did,”

Bozeman said. ”If they were a football team, they’d be in the Big

East.”

Kevin Thompson scored 14 points, 10 in the second half, while

DeWayne Jackson and Justin Black each added 11 and Aric Brooks

finished with 10 for Morgan State. Jackson scored all but one of

his points in the first half.

Ian Chiles just missed double figures with nine points while

limiting Xavier senior Kenny Frease to 10 points. Frease fouled out

with 4:21 left in the game.’

”We’re still growing as a team,” Bozeman said. ”We did a good

job on Frease, fouling him out. We know they didn’t have Holloway

but we still did some growing. Ian Chiles, the (7-foot-2) kid,

didn’t play a lot for us last year. For him to do what he did shows

a lot of growth in our team.”

Holloway, a third-team All-American and the Atlantic 10 Player

of the Year last season, was suspended for one game by the NCAA for

participating in two leagues this past summer, when only one is

permitted. The secondary violation was reported by Xavier in

August.

Six Xavier fans standing in the front row of the student section

had ”Free Tu” written out in body paint on their chests.

Wells started his first college game and scored 10 points in the

first half, eight while leading the Musketeers back from a 22-12

deficit to a 40-35 halftime lead. He made a 3-pointer from the left

corner with 4 seconds left in the half.

Wells was helped off the court with 9:04 left in the game after

suffering cramps in his right leg.

Lyons made two 3-pointers while scoring Xavier’s first eight

points and 10 of the Musketeers first 14 of the second half as they

opened up a 54-37 lead. He finished with 14 points in the second

half.