Xavier 72, Charlotte 63
Kenny Frease had a double-double, and Tu Holloway scored 24 points Saturday as Xavier's seniors led a late run for a 72-63 victory over Charlotte that clinched a first-round bye in the Atlantic 10 tournament.
Xavier (19-11, 10-6) trailed by 14 points in a lackluster first half, then pulled it out in the end behind its center and point guard. They scored all but two of Xavier's points in a decisive 18-5 run. Frease finished with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Chris Braswell led Charlotte (13-16, 5-11) with 28 points.
The Musketeers honored Holloway, Frease and graduate student Andre Walker before the game, hoping it would be their last this season at the Cintas Center. The win helped their NCAA tournament chances.
It was a bittersweet day for Xavier, which had grown accustomed to ending its final home game with a spray of confetti and a few celebratory snips of the net. The Musketeers' streak of five straight A-10 regular-season titles was snapped this season.
Holloway was emotional during the pregame honors, when he was introduced with relatives. He got off to a rough start, picking up his second foul on a charge with 8 minutes left in the first half.
Frease was aggressive, scoring Xavier's first five points. But Braswell led the 49ers to a 17-11 lead, hitting a 3-pointer, a bank shot and a fast-break layup.
The Musketeers couldn't handle Braswell, who made floating jumpers and driving layups while Charlotte built the lead to 37-23 with 2:24 left in the half, drawing loud boos from the crowd. Holloway returned and led a closing seven-point run that cut Charlotte's 14-point lead to 37-30 at the half. Holloway hit a fade-away at the buzzer, giving him 12 points. Braswell had 16 for Charlotte.
Xavier coach Chris Mack tore into his players in the locker room at halftime, his voice carrying down the hallway.
The Musketeers switched to a zone defense to contain Braswell in the second half. It worked - Xavier went on a balanced 12-2 run for a 42-41 lead. Frease went to the bench with his third foul during the spurt.
Braswell had three consecutive baskets, including a three-point play, that put Charlotte ahead 49-44. The 49ers held the advantage until Holloway and Frease took over.
Braswell got his fourth foul with 4:53 left, sending Holloway to the line for a pair of free throws that put Xavier ahead to stay 62-60. Holloway got his fourth foul the next time down the floor but stayed in the game and converted a three-point play that made it 65-61.
Frease followed with a putback, and Xavier was in control.