Muskies rally to beat Butler

Wednesday, November 18, 1998

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

INDIANAPOLIS - The younger guys got Xavier going in the first half Tuesday night. The seniors then finished the job.

The 16th-ranked Musketeers escaped with a 73-66 victory over Butler in their season opener at Hinkle Fieldhouse.

And you can chalk up the first save of the season to Maurice McAfee. The sophomore guard came off the bench and almost single-handedly rescued Xavier from a first-half malaise.

McAfee's deep three-pointer with 1.1 seconds left in the first half gave the Musketeers their first lead of the night (28-26) after they fell behind by as many as 12.

The Musketeers built their lead to 61-46 with 7:03 left before holding off a late Butler rally. The Bulldogs (0-2) were within 67-63 with 1:03 to play, but XU hit six consecutive free throws. McAfee finished with 20 points and had surpassed his previous career-high of 15 by halftime, when he had 18 points in 14 minutes. He had six of XU's eight first-half field goals, and assisted Desmond Walker on another.

"He was a leader out there," freshman Lloyd Price said. "He pretty much put us on his back."

Said Gary Lumpkin: "If it weren't for him, we'd have probably been blown out in the first half."

McAfee did exactly what the Xavier coaches want from him: He came off the bench and ignited a spark. What nobody expected was that he would take over the game.

"I felt I had to be aggressive," he said. "I had been passive in the two exhibition games."

Another young player, Price, also helped out in the first half with five points, five rebounds and three steals. Price, who started at small forward, was aggressive from the start. He scored the first points of the season for XU on two free throws.

"We knew we couldn't give up," he said. "That's not an option."

The XU seniors - Lumpkin, Lenny Brown and James Posey - were a combined 0-of-11 from the field in the first half with just three of Xavier's 28 points.

Brown picked up his third foul with 9:43 still left in the half and played just six minutes.

"There are going to be very few times we're ahead at the half if that repeats itself," XU coach Skip Prosser said. "They've played so many games, it wouldn't take Dr. Naismith for them to realize they hadn't played well, especially on the offensive end."

In the second half, however, the senior trio totaled 31 of the Musketeers' 45 points. Posey made 6-of-6 free throws and Lumpkin 2-of-2 in the final 1:20.

Posey finished with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Brown had 12 points. The downside: The veteran backcourt of Lumpkin and Brown combined for nine turnovers and six assists, and Lumpkin missed all seven of his three-point attempts.

"We've got to step up and lead by example," Posey said.

The Musketeers were fortunate to be ahead after a poor first half:

Xavier's full-court pressure was ineffective for the first 15 minutes.

McAfee was the only Musketeer with a field goal in the first 16:52. The team shot 28.6 percent from the field.

XU was 3-of-15 from three-point range, and everyone except McAfee was a combined 0-of-10.

The Musketeers had 12 offensive rebounds but zero putbacks. XU missed eight free throws

"They were jacked up for us," Posey said. "They stopped us the first few possessions. They got confident, and that's all it took really. It took until the 10-minute mark to match their intensity." "We couldn't make baskets, so we couldn't press," Prosser said.

The Bulldogs were ahead 23-11 with 6:13 left in the first half, but Xavier finished with a 17-3 run.

The turnaround was similar to last year when Butler started with a 25-18 lead, then watched as XU reeled off an 18-3 run to take over the game.

"The last six minutes of the first half was very characteristic of how we should play," Lumpkin said.

Said Prosser: "I think it's going to be a work in progress for a long time with this team."

Muskies rally to beat Butler
McAfee lift XU at right time Tim Sullivan column
XU NOTEBOOK


XAVIER (73)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Price           34   3-7   3-4   6-6  2  2    9
Posey           38   3-8   8-8  5-12  2  3   15
Butler          18   2-4   2-5   4-5  0  3    6
L Brown         23   5-9   0-0   0-1  2  3   12
Lumpkin         38  2-10   3-4   1-3  4  3    7
Frey             6   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  4    0
Mcafee          23  7-12   3-4   0-2  1  1   20
A Brown          4   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Walker          16   2-4   0-4   1-4  0  2    4
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 24-56 19-29 17-33 11 21   73
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.429, FT-.655. 3-Point Goals:
6-25, .240 (Price 0-3, Posey 1-3, L Brown 2-4,
Lumpkin 0-7, Mcafee 3-7, A Brown 0-1). Team
rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 6 (Walker 2, Price 2,
Posey, Butler). Turnovers: 22 (Lumpkin 5, L Brown
4, Posey 4, Walker 4, Price 2, Frey, Mcafee).
Steals: 11 (Price 5, Posey 3, Lumpkin, Mcafee,
Walker).


BUTLER (66)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Pflugner        24  8-11   0-0   2-3  0  3   16
Marshall        37  8-12   3-4   5-7  6  4   19
Gieseck         19   2-4   0-0   1-3  1  3    4
Hirschy         28   2-7   4-6   0-2  3  4   10
Jordan          28   3-6   1-2   2-6  2  4    8
Jackson         12   1-4   0-0   1-2  0  1    2
Graves          18   1-6   2-2   0-2  2  1    5
Hicks           14   1-2   0-0   2-2  0  3    2
Hainje          20   0-3   0-0   0-0  1  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 26-55 10-14 13-27 15 24   66
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.473, FT-.714. 3-Point Goals:
4-18, .222 (Hirschy 2-5, Jordan 1-4, Jackson 0-2,
Graves 1-6, Hainje 0-1). Team rebounds: 5.
Blocked shots: 1 (Marshall). Turnovers: 27
(Jordan 6, Hicks 4, Jackson 4, Gieseck 3, Graves
3, Hainje 3, Hirschy 2, Pflugner). Steals: 9
(Marshall 5, Graves 2, Hicks, Jordan).
__________________________________
Xavier             28   45  -   73
Butler             26   40  -   66
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 6,541. Officials: Tom
Clark, Mike Sanzere, Glenn Mayborg.