Originally created 03/27/04

Musketeers continue upset run in regional



ATLANTA - The kid with the catchy Web site can post some breaking news: Xavier is going to an NCAA regional final for the first time.

Romain Sato scored 27 points, and backcourt mate Lionel Chalmers added 14, helping the Musketeers beat Texas 79-71 in the semifinals of the Atlanta Regional on Friday night.

No. 7 seed Xavier (26-10) won for the 16th time in 17 games and advanced to Sunday's regional final against the winner of Friday's late game between Duke and Illinois. That information surely will be featured prominently on www.starinanylanguage.com, the site started by Sato, a native of the Central African Republic who speaks six different languages.

In the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament, Xavier beat previously undefeated Saint Joseph's 87-67. The Hawks beat Wake Forest on Thursday night to advance to the final of the East Rutherford Regional.

It's the first time two Atlantic 10 teams have advanced to the round of eight.

Dedrick Finn added 11 points for the Musketeers.

Brandon Mouton had 21 before fouling out for the third-seeded Longhorns (25-8), who were trying to reach the Final Four for the second straight season. Brian Boddicker added 11, and P.J. Tucker finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Texas coach Rick Barnes got two technicals from referee Ted Valentine with 3.9 seconds left and was thrown out of the game.

Barnes stopped by the Xavier bench and shook hands with coach Thad Matta on his way to the locker room.

The last time the Musketeers reached the Sweet 16, in 1990, they lost to Texas, 102-89.

Xavier used a 10-0 run late in the first half to take its first lead, then added nine straight points over a span of about four minutes after halftime to take control.

A 3-pointer by Boddicker cut the lead to 72-71 with 16.8 seconds left, the closest the Longhorns had been since a tie at 50.

Sato hit two free throws to put Xavier up three.

Sydmill Harris then missed an off-balance 3-pointer with about 10 seconds left that would have tied it, and Finn was fouled. As Valentine walked to the scorer's table to report the infraction, he was met by Barnes.

About 15 seconds later, the coach was done for the night.

Sato went 3-for-4 at the line on the technicals, and Finn added two more to seal it.

The late-season run by Xavier started with a 71-69 victory over crosstown rival Cincinnati, and it was spoiled only by a loss to lowly Duquesne.

In the A-10 tournament, the Musketeers won four games in four days - including that rout of Saint Joe's - and then beat Louisville and Mississippi State to reach the round of 16.

As has been the case all season, Sato and Chalmers led the way in this one. Both played the entire 40 minutes, and Sato made 14-of-17 free throws. Chalmers bounced back from a rough half (2-for-7, six points) and added seven rebounds and six assists.

A hook in the lane by Tucker tied it for the final time at 15:04, but on the other end, Sato made a 3.

The Longhorns missed two shots and made three turnovers over the next 3:58, and the miscues led to fast-break layups by Chalmers and Sato.

Then, with the shot clock running down, Chalmers drove past Royal Ivey for another basket, giving the Musketeers a 59-52 lead.

Each time Texas crept closer down the stretch, somebody stepped up for Xavier. First it was Finn, making a 3-pointer for a six-point lead. Later, Sato leaped high for a rebound after a miss by Mouton, and, after he was fouled, made two free throws for a four-point lead.

Finally, with the Musketeers leading by only two, Sato poked the ball way from Mouton, who quickly fouled Finn.

That was the fifth foul for Mouton, who ended another sensational tournament. Last year, he averaged 17.8 points as Texas reached the Final Four, including 25 in a semifinal loss to eventual champ Syracuse.