ATLANTIC CITY, N.J. – Stanley Burrell helped Xavier take care of its business on the court Thursday, scoring 13 points as the Musketeers topped Dayton, 74-65, in the Atlantic Ten Tournament second round at Boardwalk Hall.
He then immediately took care of his off-the-court business, clarifying the remarks he made at Monday’s pre-tournament press conference, when he called the A-10 “pathetic” for not selecting any of Xavier’s players for its all-conference first team, among other criticisms.
“It was really in the moment, just out of frustration,” Burrell said. “Being the leader of the team, I had to stand up for my guys. I know how important they are to us. B.J. [Raymond], C.J. [Anderson] and Derrick [Brown] – they mean the world to us. Without those guys we’d be nowhere near having the level of respect we have right now.
“I just feel bad having them excluded in the awards. It’s not a three-man team. Everybody’s in this. Those guys are a huge part of our deal. I just wanted to stand up for them and be a leader, not try to call the league out.
“I was just frustrated with how things worked out, seeing guys that are champions and not getting awards at all. It was tough. We’re moving forward and I’m just glad we could win today.”
Though he stood up for what he said, Burrell apologized for criticizing Fordham’s Bryant Dunston and La Salle’s Darnell Harris, who were named to the A-10 Second Team.
“I wouldn’t take anything back, except for that,” Burrell said. “I really meant what I said and I really stand behind it. But calling Dunston and Darnell Harris out, I do regret that part.
“Those guys are tremendous players. They’ve been doing a great job for their programs. But I know how important our guys are for us. It would have been great to see those guys get rewarded for being champions.
“But I definitely respect Darnell Harris – I know all about him. And Dunston, I’ve been going against him for four years now. He’s a great player too. I’m just trying to stand up for my guys.”
On the court, the top-seeded Musketeers spread the ball around against the No. 8 Flyers as they reached the A-10 semifinals for the seventh straight season. They’ll play Saint Joseph’s Friday at 9 p.m.
Five players – Josh Duncan, Drew Lavender, Anderson, Burrell and Brown – reached double-digit scoring. Duncan led the Muskies with 16 points.
The Explorers, one of the best defensive teams in the A-10, limited the Flyers’ Brian Roberts to 13 points on 6-of-13 shooting, including 1-of-7 behind the arc. Marcus Johnson led the Flyers with a career-high 26 points.
The Flyers’ NCAA Tournament hopes now rest in the hands of the selection committee. The Flyers (21-10) opened the season 16-1, breaking into the Top 25 rankings, but went 6-9 from that point.
John Kopp can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also read: “Defense leads St. Joe’s to win”