After 20 minutes, the season looked bleak. A loss tonight and the Xavier Musketeers were likely headed to the NIT.
A strong first four minutes from senior Tu Holloway led the Muskies charge back. The next sixteen were a see-saw back-and-forth. Much like the St. Bonaventure/St. Joe's game that we all witnessed earlier this afternoon, one team never could hold a firm grasp on the lead down the stretch.
Mark Lyons, who had done hardly anything, scored two key buckets late including the game-winner with 17 seconds remaining. Lyons drove the lane and hoisted a difficult left-handed scoop shot that found the bottom of the net.
Dayton's Matt Kavanaugh saw an easy layin go in-and-out and Chris Johnson's final attempt with five seconds left never drew iron.
In a win or go home scenario for both teams, the Musketeers lived to fight another day. Several "bracketologists" suggested that Xavier needed this win to solidify its berth in the field of 68 and that the Flyers perhaps needed to reach the A-10 tournament final. XU, who was once ranked as high as No. 8 in the country, avoided utter humiliation of the NIT by winning tonight.
Xavier will face second-seeded Saint Louis tomorrow at 3:30/2:30 CT.