Friday, December 14, 2001

Xavier gears up for Logan


Muskies might rotate defenders against UC ace

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        As a North Carolina State assistant, Sean Miller spent the past couple of seasons designing defenses to guard Duke's Jason Williams. Miller, now Xavier's associate head coach, said he has done double-takes this week scouting Cincinnati's Steve Logan.

HOW TO SLOW LOGAN

•   1. Pick him up before the 3-point line. Logan has great range. He's a streaky shooter, so if he hits the first one, expect a hot hand.

•   2. Hedge on screens. If someone sets a pick for Logan, a Musketeer must pick up Logan until the primary defender recovers.

•   3. Watch the other Bearcats, because Logan is a great passer. Any of the other starters is capable of a big scoring night.

•   4. Avoid fouling. Logan has attempted a fourth of UC's free throw attempts thus far, and he's hitting 80 percent from the line.

•   5. Win the mental game. Logan has struggled in this game the past two seasons. Get in his head to try to get him off his game.

        “Those two are really comparable,” Miller said. “You have to put Logan in Williams' category. You look at his impact on UC's team and in their program, and for him not to be an All-American would be a travesty.”

        For XU not to pay special attention to Logan tonight might be a greater injustice. UC's senior point guard is the reigning Conference USA player of the year and a man intent on ending the Bearcats' struggles in the Crosstown Shootout.

        “I expect (XU) not to let me catch it and not give me open looks, because I'm looking to knock down every shot in this game,” Logan said.

        OK, so Logan's going to shoot a lot, right? Double-team him, though, and he'll whip the ball to an open man, as his school-record 16 assists Saturday against Coppin State would attest.

        Give him room, and he'll sink a 3. Play him tight, and he'll race past you into the lane. Leave your defender to stop his penetration, and he'll pass to the man you were guarding. Foul him, and he'll drop in the free throws.

        In short, pick your poison.

        “Xavier has very good defensive guards,” XU radio analyst Steve Wolf said. “But Steve Logan is the complete package. He gets better every year.”

        Logan (19.9 ppg) is the 14th-leading scorer in school history and is expected to finish in the top three. His career free throw percentage (.846) is tops in UC history, and he ranks No.3 in 3-pointers made (188) and 3-point shooting (.377).

        Then there's his assist average, 5.9, which ranks 28th in the nation. Only one player with an assist average that good or better has a scoring average like Logan's: David Bailey of Loyola (Ill.), who averages 25.3 points and 6.2 assists against considerably lesser competition.

        Logan's shot doesn't have to be on for him to control a game. He was 3-of-13 (0-of-6 on 3s) against Dayton but still totaled 14 points, nine assists and just three turnovers. UC won by 22.

        XU coaches won't say who will guard Logan at tipoff. But this staff isn't into junk defenses, so expect straight-up, man-to-man defense. Miller said XU will rotate defenders on Logan, as it did against Missouri All-American Kareem Rush.

        Six-foot-5 shooting guard Romain Sato is often cited as XU's best on-the-ball defender, and he drew primary duties defending Rush. But 6-foot point guard Lionel Chalmers will be more likely to defend Logan, because Chalmers would give up 6 inches if switching to defend UC shooting guard Leonard Stokes.

        “I'm going to put pressure on him a little bit and make him make decisions,” Chalmers said of Logan.

        A key is having XU teammates hedge toward Logan when the Bearcats set screens for him. For example: If the player Kevin Frey guards sets a pick, Frey must make a semi-switch, picking up Logan for a moment while Chalmers runs around the screen. When Chalmers catches up, Frey will switch back.

        XU also must hope Logan doesn't have his touch. He was 5-of-16 from the field (1-of-7 on 3s) Monday against Toledo and is averaging 16.5 points over the last four games. He shot just 26 percent from the field (5-of-19) combined in the past two Shootouts, averaging 7.5 points.

        “The games he's had bad games, he's his own worst enemy,” Wolf said.

        In general, the Musketeers don't want to change what they do too much for any one player they'll face.

        “We just want to do a good job against Logan, make him work hard for his shots and concentrate on solid team defense,” Miller said.

       



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