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.