Cupcake now tough cookie
Struggling Muskies visit unbeaten Toledo

Wednesday, December 9, 1998

The Cincinnati Enquirer

When Xavier's schedule was released in August, this was a game Musketeer fans marked as a "W." After all, XU beat Toledo by 19 points last season.

But all of a sudden, it doesn't look so simple.

Tonight at Toledo, Xavier faces an undefeated team that is off to its best start in 12 years.

  • When: 7 p.m. today
  • Where: Savage Hall (9,000)
  • Records: Xavier 5-3, Toledo 6-0
  • TV: Channel 9
  • Radio: WLW-AM (700)
  • 1957-58: Last time Toledo beat Xavier
  • 1966-67: Last time Toledo started 7-0
  • 0-7: XU's record in games in which James Posey fouls out
  • 11.0, 8.7: Freshman Kevin Frey's average points and rebounds the past three games
  • "Nobody said it was going to be easy," XU coach Skip Prosser said. "You could schedule yourself maybe seven, eight wins in a row, and some teams do that. That's not the path that we've chosen."

    The Musketeers, ranked No. 13 in preseason, dropped out of the top 25 this week after losing three of their last five games.

    Toledo (6-0) is No. 56 in the latest Sagarin Ratings released Monday; Xavier is 73. The Rockets come off a 64-63 victory over Ohio State and are expecting a near-capacity crowd at Savage Hall (9,000) tonight.

    "I'm going up there to win. I don't know how everybody else is looking at it," XU senior Lenny Brown said. "Good practice, that's where it's going to start. Then going up there with some confidence."

    The Musketeers lost 71-57 to No. 9 Purdue on Saturday.

    Xavier committed 26 turnovers. Its 57 points were its fewest since losing to Temple 67-50 in the 1996 Atlantic 10 tournament.

    "We've got to score more points," senior James Posey said. "We want to win. We want to be good. We're not doing what it takes."

    Toledo, picked by the media to win the Mid-American Conference West Division, lost NBA draft pick Casey Shaw from last year but returns six of its top seven players.

    The Rockets are smaller than last year but probably more athletic. Clayton Burch, Elder graduate Chad Kamstra and reserve Art Norman have combined for 32 of the team's 36 three-pointers, and forward Greg Stempin (15.5 ppg) reminds Prosser of Posey.

    Despite its struggles, Xavier has the best winning percentage of the 12 Atlantic 10 teams.

    "We're just trying to be better today than we were yesterday," Prosser said. "The kids can read the stats. They understand what needs to be done."

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