David West deserved to go out like a champ. His senior season may not have ended the way we were all hoping, but he’s making the most of a second chance as his 2003 Musketeers advanced to the Xavier Elite Eight to take on a 2010 squad that won in dominating fashion. West’s boys also won, 83-77, in another Xavier Sweet 16 instant classic.
The 2011 team saw the last ride of Dante Jackson and had the grave misfortune of drawing Jimmy Butler and Marquette in the first round. Last night they had a chance to make up for that and they were determined to seize it. Anthony Myles (16/4/0) in a bid to deny them. Myles had 2003’s first eight points as the teams went back and forth in the opening minutes.
With eight to go in the first half the 2003 team had finally clawed away to a nine point lead thanks to a bucket from David Young (3/1/0), who really struggled to get going all day. The King of Upstate, Mark Lyons (14/4/4) scored and then found Andrew Taylor (4/0/3) for his two buckets of the game to get 2011 back into it. The game yo-yo’d back and forth the rest of the first half, but the five seeded 2003 squad led the upset minded 2011 boys by five at the half.
In the second half 2011’s mercurial backcourt did their absolute best to take over. Trailing by four with 16 to play, Tu Holloway (30/6/7) and Lyons got to work. Holloway hit a jumper, then Lyons scored two from the line, then it was Holloway at the line, Holloway assist, and a couple more buckets for Tu as he went a personal nine point run. With seven minutes left Mark Lyons hit a jumper to draw 2011 within two. After a mad scramble for a ball that bounced off four different players and a missed runner by Dedrick Finn (14/2/6), Dante Jackson (7/4/1) jarred a deep three to give 2011 their first lead, 66-65, with 4:26 to play.
But in a battle of two legends, it was David West (19/17/4) who wrested back control of the game. West scored immediately to give 2003 back the lead, then watched as 2011 mad four straight from the line and then took a five point lead on a massive Kenny Frease (8/7/3) dunk. With 2:49 to go the crowd was roaring, sensing an upset in the offing. West scored again to stanch the flow, then started grabbing boards on his way to a game high.
Dedrick Finn stuck two free throws and Anthony Myles scored again. Two minutes to play with a trip to the Elite Eight on the line and it was a one point game. Tu Holloway got free on the right wing and sensed blood in the water, but not the 6-6 athletic freak from the Central African Republic closing quickly. Romain Sato (11/10/2) blocked the shot, corralled it, raced the other way, and buried his only three of the game. 76-74 2003!
Chris Mack waved his charges down the floor, but Kenny Frease couldn’t shake David West, who swatted his attempt to tie the game. After Anthony Myles gave 2003 a four point lead the game became a free throw shooting contest. 2003 was 26th in the nation with a 74.5% average from the line, and they weren’t about to let their chance slip. A late three from Holloway made it a four point game, but it was too late for the comeback. A wonderful game ended 83-77, and 2003 is on to the next round. As always, the late night game on Opening Weekend didn’t disappoint.