Wednesday, January 27, 1999
UC wants Horton to slow XU guards
BY MIKE DeCOURCY and MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Senior point guard Michael Horton was the least accessible UC player when the Bearcats spent an hour Monday with the media in advance of the Shootout.
He is keeping a low profile as he tries to work his way back into coach Bob Huggins' good graces. Horton has played only 14 minutes combined in the past four games partly because of an ankle injury, partly because he was not exerting the sort of effort Huggins wants from him.
This has been a frequent problem for Horton in his two seasons at UC. He slumped since being burned by DePaul guard Kerry Hartfield earlier this month, then was hurt Jan. 14 in a loss to UNC Charlotte. But Huggins would like to have Horton who has more steals per minute than any other UC player available to help defend Xavier guards Lenny Brown and Gary Lumpkin.
Horton has had some turbulent moments in practice this week, but ended Monday's session working with the first team and could find himself back in the rotation for the Shootout if he continues playing well.
Xavier's allotment of tickets for Thursday night's game: 150. Many of those went to the players (four each) and coaches for family and friends. By the time they were parceled out to Xavier officials and such, none were available to students.
Xavier's last regular-season game Feb. 27 at George Washington will be at noon, televised live by ESPN. The time was undecided, and the national sports cable channel just informed Xavier it wanted to pick up the game. That gives the Musketeers four regular-season games on ESPN.
Know thy enemy
This is the fifth time Xavier assistant coach Mark Schmidt has prepared the Musketeers' scouting report on the Bearcats. He has already watched 10 tapes of UC games from this season.
Just like the players, Schmidt has learned about the intensity of the rivalry, but said there's no added pressure in helping XU get ready for the Shootout.
The game that you're scouting is the most important game on the schedule, he said.
Oh, the pain
Thursday will be one of the toughest on Darnell Williams. The injured XU senior, who scored 24 points against UC as a freshman, said the Shootout and XU's game at Fordham (his family is in New York) are the hardest games to miss while he rehabilitates his knee.
I'm going to hate it, he said. It's stressful.
Someone went into Xavier's locker room in Schmidt Fieldhouse while the team was practicing Tuesday and stole assorted items from the players' cubicles. Cash, credit cards and some clothing were among the missing items.
Huggins keeps focus on court
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