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NCAA MEN'S BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT | AT ORLANDO, FLA.

Xavier Topples Louisville

March 20, 2004|From Associated Press

When Xavier needs a spark, Lionel Chalmers always seems to find a way to provide it.

The Atlantic 10 Conference tournament most valuable player worked his magic again Friday night at Orlando, Fla., this time helping the Musketeers stay in the NCAA tournament with an 80-70 victory over Louisville in the first round of the Atlanta Regional.

Xavier overcame a 14-point second-half deficit, with Chalmers, Romain Sato and Anthony Myles leading the way.

Chalmers scored 25 points, and Sato added 24 for Xavier, which wiped out a 53-39 deficit with a 36-10 run that broke Louisville's spirit.

Xavier (24-10) moves on to the second round for the third consecutive year and will play Mississippi State, which defeated the Musketeers, 82-70, when the teams played Dec. 13 at Starkville, Miss.

Taquan Dean led Louisville (20-10) with 19 points.

Mississippi State 85, Monmouth 52 -- Lawrence Roberts scored 19 points as the Bulldogs (26-3) won by their largest margin of the season.

Monmouth (21-12) shot its way within four points late in the first half, but Mississippi State pulled away with a 22-5 run in less than 10 minutes.

Mississippi State's domination was written all over the statistics: 54% shooting to 35% with a rebounding advantage of 47-20 -- 13-3 on the offensive end.

Branden Vincent scored 10 of his 14 points in the game-breaking run.

He also grabbed 11 rebounds for his fourth career double-double.

Monmouth hasn't won a tournament game in three appearances.

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