Lehigh provided perhaps the most jarring upset on a Friday full of surprises. But after fellow No. 15 seed Norfolk State fell to Florida, the clock struck midnight for the Mountain Hawks on Sunday in Greensboro.
The Mountain Hawks came out looking every bit as confident as the team that bounced Duke two nights prior, but 10th-seeded Xavier battled back. With senior center Kenny Frease leading the way, the Musketeers used a late run to claim a 70-58 victory and wipe out the tournament’s lowest remaining seed.
The Musketeers advanced to their fourth Sweet 16 in five seasons and will face third-seeded Baylor on Friday in Atlanta.
With the score knotted at 52 and just over seven minutes left in the game, Tu Holloway hit a three-pointer to spark an 8-0 Musketeers run.
Mackey McKnight’s three-pointer ended a seven-minute scoring drought for the Mountain Hawks, to pull Lehigh back within five with one minute left. But Xavier cleaned up on the defensive backboard and hit enough free throws to come away with the win.
The 7-foot Frease was virtually unstoppable in the paint where he made 11 of 13 shots to post a career-high 25 points and 12 rebounds. Holloway added 21 points including four three-pointers as the Musketeers out-scored Lehigh 20-8 over the final 10 minutes.
McKnight scored 20 points and Friday’s hero C.J. McCollum added 14 for the Mountain Hawks who were trying to become the first No. 15 seed ever to reach a Sweet 16.
Box score: Xavier 70, Lehigh 58
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