Sunday, December 19, 1999

Xavier upsets No. 1 UC again


Lightning does strike twice, 66-64

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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Xavier hero Kevin Frey celebrates.
(Saed Hindash photo)
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        The pain Xavier guard Maurice McAfee felt as a result of the Musketeers' victory in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout was fleeting. He wound up at the bottom of the pile when fans at sold-out Cincinnati Gardens stormed the court.

        The agony will last a little longer for the No.1-ranked UC Bearcats. They fell by a 66-64 score Saturday night, their third defeat in the past four Shootouts and the second that cost them the top ranking in the wire-service polls.

        “It feels like any other loss,” said Bearcats forward Pete Mickeal, who hasn't known many in his college career. “There's nothing special about it. We lost the game, and now we've got to go back and start over again. And we will.”

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Darnell Williams hugs coach Skip Prosser among crush of XU fans.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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        “It's sweet,” said Muskies guard Darnell Williams, who scored 16 points before the break and was shut out the rest of the game. “It feels like a million bucks without the money. Just because no one thought we had a chance, not even to get close.”

        This time, there were no Lenny Brown-style heroics for Xavier. They did not need a last-second shot to climb past the Bearcats, as they did at the Shoemaker Center in November 1996.

        They controlled the game throughout, beating UC to loose balls and long rebounds. The Bearcats gained only a one-rebound edge on the boards and gave up 13 steals to the Musketeers.

        “It's a different bunch of kids, I'm very pleased for them,” coach Skip Prosser said. “It's just as sweet.”

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Frey shoots over Kenyon Martin.
(AP photo)
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        The Musketeers (6-2) forced a season-high 19 turnovers against UC (8-1). They went to the line for 30 free throws and made 19, which enabled them to win despite scoring seven fewer field goals and shooting 39.1 percent to UC's 50 even.

        The most important factor in the game was the zone defense that paralyzed the

        Bearcats' 82-point-a-game offense. Mickeal scored 17 points, and Kenyon Martin got 16 and 10 rebounds, but the Bearcats got only 21 points combined from guards DerMarr Johnson, Kenny Satterfield and Steve Logan.

        Equally important, XU refused to retreat when the Bearcats three times charged forward.

        “Even when they came back, we stuck together,” Williams said. “When they made their runs, we didn't fold.”

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Steve Logan and Bob Huggins look for an answer.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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        The Musketeers kept the lead for nearly 27 minutes and built it as large as 11 points, the first time UC had trailed by double-digits all season.

        UC cut that to three points after four possessions of the second half, but XU built it back to a safe distance when McAfee, who led the Musketeers with 17 points, hit twice from 3-point range.

        The second of those, which landed with 13:33 left and made it 52-45 in favor of Xavier, became the last field goal UC would allow for 10:02. UC took the lead with 6:07 left on a three-point play by Martin and tied it with 1:43 remaining on his free throw, but Frey scored the last four points for XU to clinch the win.

        “He made a couple good moves, and he scored,” Martin said. “My hat's off to him.”

        “I hit a basket, and it gave me a lot of confidence,” said Frey, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half. “Mo kept going to me, and that gave me confidence. Basically, it was a confidence thing.”

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XU fans storm the court.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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        The Musketeers extended their zone to halfcourt in the first half and trapped Satterfield with double-teams, which should have made them vulnerable along the baseline. This could only happen, though, if UC moved the basketball as quickly as XU moved its players. Which wasn't the case.

        The Bearcats played tentatively, often switching the ball from Satterfield to Logan nearly 40 feet from the goal before looking to advance. They lost the ball three times on turnovers in the four minutes that followed Mickeal's basket to tie the game at 20-all with 7:58 remaining, and Williams responded with eight points in a 12-4 XU surge that gave the Musketeers a 32-24 lead with 4:06 to play.

        When official Larry Lembo blew the whistle on a goaltend by Martin, the clock stopped at 1:13. It was an important juncture for the Bearcats. The score was 39-28, favor of Xavier. Until that moment, UC had not before trailed by a double-digit margin.

        “We're not the No.1 team,” coach Bob Huggins said. “Our aggressiveness level wasn't very good in the first half. When people try to trap you, you've got to play some individual offense. We didn't play very good (offense).”

        The Musketeers packed their defense back more in the second half, which was not as effective at preventing scores. What they did particularly well with that tactic was lure the Bearcats' big men into trying to create opportunities and then attacking the basketball. Martin crossed his season-high for turnovers in the first 30 minutes and finished with six. The Bearcats gave up the ball five times in the first 10 minutes after halftime.

        “The zone was effective, so we stayed with it,” Williams said. “We didn't work on the zone all that much. We only worked it for a day and a half. That's what baffles me.”

XU used its chance 'to shock the world'
This is why basketball is played
Verdict: UC good, not great
Frey big in second half, biggest in final minute
Brown, Williams key victory
Turner to miss 6 games


CINCINNATI (64)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Mickeal         40  7-16   3-4   3-6  3  4   17
Tate            18   0-2   0-0   0-2  2  4    0
Martin          37  7-11   2-3  1-10  0  3   16
Johnson         24   2-4   1-2   0-3  2  3    6
Logan           30   2-7   2-2   0-0  3  1    7
Satterfield     26   3-4   2-2   0-0  5  4    8
Stokes           2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Fletcher        23   4-6   0-0   4-5  1  1   10
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 25-50 10-13  8-26 16 21   64
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.769. 3-Point Goals: 4-11, .364 (Mickeal 0-2, Johnson 1-3, Logan 1-4, Fletcher 2-2). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 3 (Tate 2, Martin). Turnovers: 19 (Martin 6, Mickeal 4, Satterfield 4, Fletcher 2, Johnson, Logan, Stokes). Steals: 11 (Martin 3, Mickeal 2, Satterfield 2, Fletcher, Johnson, Logan, Tate).

XAVIER (66) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Price 31 2-12 2-6 4-9 1 3 7 Frey 34 4-6 4-4 0-2 0 3 12 West 33 1-4 3-4 4-9 1 5 5 Mcafee 36 4-11 6-6 0-3 3 3 17 Williams 38 3-8 8-10 1-2 4 0 16 Mcintosh 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Brown 14 4-5 0-0 1-1 0 1 9 Butler 13 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 2 0 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 18-46 23-30 10-27 9 17 66 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.391, FT-.767. 3-Point Goals: 7-17, .412 (Price 1-3, Frey 0-1, Mcafee 3-7, Williams 2-5, Brown 1-1). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 3 (West 2, Price). Turnovers: 17 (Brown 4, Mcafee 4, Price 3, Williams 3, Butler, Frey, West). Steals: 13 (Price 4, West 4, Frey 2, Brown, Mcafee, Williams). __________________________________ Cincinnati 31 33 - 64 Xavier 39 27 - 66 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 10,100. Officials: Larry Lembo, David Bair, John Moreau.