No. 13 Musketeers hand LSU first home loss of season behind Brown

BATON ROUGE, La. -- Derrick Brown let his experience take over, showing the veteran savvy Xavier needed against an LSU squad that hadn't lost at home all season.

The junior forward scored 22 points, hitting a couple clutch 3s to erase an LSU lead early in the second half, and Xavier (No. 13 ESPN/USA Today, No. 15 AP) handed LSU its first home loss of the season, 80-70 on Saturday night.

"Sometimes we need a player to step up and make some big shots when we're on the road and I feel like I'm an older player and I've been there," Brown said. "Some people need people to look up to and make big plays and that's what I try to do."

Marcus Thornton scored 30 points for LSU, his 3-pointer giving the Tigers (15-4) a 40-36 lead early in the second half. That's when Brown responded with his 3s to tie it at 44.

Xavier (17-2) then locked down on defense, holding LSU to 0-for-13 on field goals during a nine-minute stretch, and gradually built an 11-point lead before holding on for its eighth straight victory.

"Our defense was perhaps better than their defense in the second half and one of the reasons why could have been our depth, playing more players," Xavier coach Sean Miller said. "To me our defense continued to get stronger. We needed to have that stretch or we weren't able to win tonight. Our defense in the second half was the difference in the game."

B.J. Raymond added 21 points for Xavier, driving past Thornton for a layup inside the last two minutes to put the Musketeers up 70-63. Raymond went 9-of-10 on free throws, including 6-of-6 in the last minute, helping a Xavier squad that had been shaky from the foul line earlier this season go 20-of-24 against LSU.

"Free-throw shooting has become a story and perhaps maybe too big of a story sometimes," Miller said. "We're working hard. ... We know [Raymond is] a clutch player and a great free-throw shooter, so having the ball in his hands late and him delivering was big."

Kenny Frease, Xavier's lumbering 7-foot freshman reserve center, had 12 points.

Tasmin Mitchell scored 12 points for the Tigers and Bo Spencer had 10.

"This is the most physical team we've played so far," LSU's Thornton said. "They were big and strong in every position. We have to get in the weight room and get stronger, so we can get ready for everything else if we plan on playing in late March."

Xavier went ahead for good when Raymond scored inside to make it 48-47. Jason Love, who had 10 points, added a pair of free throws and a jump hook in the lane, then Raymond added another foul shot to cap a 7-0 run that gave the Musketeers a 53-47 lead.

Raymond's 3 soon after made it 59-50 and brought former Xavier player and current New Orleans Hornet James Posey to his feet behind the Musketeers bench, his hand in the air.

Terrell Holloway's 3 made it 62-52 with 5:41 left, and LSU, which came in 14-0 at home, was not able to get closer than five points after that.

Brown and C.J. Anderson each grabbed nine rebounds for Xavier, which outrebounded LSU 40-27 overall.

"We would like to apologize to the fans who came out and supported us because we didn't get it done," LSU coach Trent Johnson said. "Obviously, this is a good basketball team that beat us and the bottom line is, we aren't there yet."

The Pete Maravich Assembly Center was packed with an overflow crowd of 13,839. Xavier, 5-0 on the road coming in, hardly looked intimidated.

The Musketeers led 12-4 after Raymond's 3. Brown's alley-oop jam on a feed from Dante Jackson ignited a 6-0 surge that put Xavier up 20-10.

LSU made a game of it after that, responding with a 10-0 run that began with Terry Martin's 3 and ended with Mitchell's baseline jumper to tie it at 20.

The rest of the half was tight, with neither team leading by more than three. Scoring on an array of jumpers and hanging shots high off the glass, Thornton scored 14 points in the first half, the last on a free throw giving LSU a 37-36 lead at halftime.