Xavier 76, IPFW 66

CINCINNATI -- Xavier sure is missing Jordan Crawford.

Terrell "Tu" Holloway scored six of his 24 points in overtime, finally getting Xavier's out-of-sync offense moving, and the Musketeers rallied for a 76-66 victory over IPFW on Tuesday night that reminded them again of who's not there when it comes down to clutch time.

"We're missing Jordan right now," Holloway said, referring to the Atlantic 10's leading scorer last season who went to the NBA. "We've got guys trying to find their roles. We've got a new offense this year. We're just going through a tough time.

"Right now, we're just trying to find ways to score."

So far, they've had only one: Holloway, who has scored 25 and 24 points, respectively, in their two opening wins, rallying them down the stretch in both games.

"There aren't many players that I've coached that love that moment more than Tu," coach Chris Mack said. "I just wish we werent in that moment so many times."

Xavier (2-0) extended its home-court winning streak to 26 games, the third-longest active streak in the nation. It was close throughout -- the Musketeers never led by more than seven in regulation.

Jeremy Mixon's 3 put the Mastodons (1-1) ahead 57-55 with 4:34 left in regulation, their first lead since the opening basket. Holloway's three-point play put Xavier back ahead, but Trey McCorkle's lay-in tied it at 63 with 5.6 seconds left and Xavier turned the ball over, sending it to overtime.

Holloway had a pair of driving baskets and two free throws that put Xavier in control 74-66.

Ben Botts and Zach Plackemeier led the Mastodons with 13 points apiece. IPFW kept it close by going 10 of 24 from behind the arc, while Xavier was 3 of 14.

Holloway has bailed out the Musketeers in both of their opening games. He had 20 of his 25 points in the second half of a 68-65 win over Western Michigan on Friday, rallying Xavier from an 11-point deficit in the second half.

The point guard had to do it again as Xavier repeatedly missed point-blank shots. Shooting guard Mark Lyons went 2 of 12 from behind the 3-point arc, missing his first seven shots.

Forward Jamel McLean, Xavier's top returning front-line scorer and rebounder, cracked the bone below his left eye during an exhibition on Nov. 2. Originally expected to miss at least three weeks, he was cleared by a doctor on Tuesday and was in the starting lineup.

McLean finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds in 29 minutes, getting the rust off during his first time on court.

"It feels good to be back out there with the team," McLean said. "It's definitely an adjustment after missing (time). Toward the end, I was getting back into my game. I wouldn't say it was 100 percent, but it's a great start."

McLean grabbed Xavier's first rebound, then tipped in his own miss. He had a steal and a breakaway dunk, but got a technical for swinging on the rim after emphatically throwing the ball through the hoop.

IPFW kept it close by taking quick 3-pointers and hitting them -- 6 of 16 in the first half, which ended with Xavier ahead 36-29. Holloway was Xavier's only consistent scoring threat in the first half, getting 10 points.

Lyons ended his 0-for-7 slump by hitting an open 3, then made a pair of free throws in a seven-point run that gave Xavier a 48-41 lead with 13:43 left, matching its biggest advantage of the game. But every time it looked like Xavier had a chance to pull away, one of the Mastodons would hit a long shot to tighten it up.

Xavier heads to the Virgin Islands to play Iowa on Friday night in the Paradise Jam, getting a chance to test its work-in-progress offense against tougher competition.

"No one ever said it was going to be easy," Holloway said. "Last year we (started) 6-4 and people said we were going to be bad. We've got to be resilient and stick with it."