Tuesday, December 29, 1998

XAVIER 77, ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 54


Musketeers turn up the D

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MORAGA, Calif. -- When the final buzzer of the first half sounded, Lenny Brown ran off the bench to chest-bump Maurice McAfee, while Lloyd Price danced his way to the locker room.

        Xavier was celebrating its defense.

        The Musketeers defeated St. Mary's College 77-54 Monday night for their third consecutive victory, and they ran away with the game because of their defensive effort.

        “That's just how we play now,” senior Lenny Brown said. “... It just looks like a whole different team.”

        “We understand that it takes defense to win ballgames,” McAfee said. “That's what we thrive on.”

        The night could be summed up by one possession late in the first half when the Gaels had the ball for 1 minute, 45 seconds, got off four field goal attempts and two free throw attempts (both were the first end of a one-and-one), and they came away with no points.

        XU (8-4) closed the first half with a 21-4 run to lead by 18 points at intermission.

        St. Mary's (7-8) shot just 34.8 percent from the field in the first half and turned the ball over 10 times; it finished with 22 turnovers. Leading scorer Eric Schraeder (21.6 ppg) finished with 13 points and was just 3-of-13 from the field.

        The Gaels were playing without their best player, injured 7-foot-3 center Brad Millard (broken foot), who watched from the bench.

        “I think we took them out of their stuff the whole night,” XU senior James Posey said. “We did a great job defensively, I thought. We caused a lot of shot clock violations and things like that. It brought like a flashback. It felt good.”

        Senior guard Gary Lumpkin, coming off his season-high 21 points against Loyola Marymount, led the Musketeers with 20 points and hit four three-pointers, giving him seven the past two games.

        Posey added 16 points, and Brown had 14 -- 12 in the first half thanks to four three-pointers. Price added 11 points off the bench, including a breakaway, 360 dunk with 1:58 to play.

        Xavier has won its past three games by 30, 45 and 23 -- an average of 32.7 points.

        “We're getting good leadership from our seniors,” McAfee, a sophomore, said. “And the young guys are starting to understand. Everyone's starting to accept their roles and we're gelling and we're having fun.”

        The Musketeers took an early 20-8 lead after a 17-2 spurt, which including three three-pointers by Brown. But St. Mary's came right back with 11 consecutive points.

        XU missed eight straight shots and went almost five minutes without scoring before Lumpkin hit a three-pointer to put the Musketeers ahead 23-19 with 7:10 left in the half. Brown followed with another three. Obi Harris rebounded a Lumpkin miss and scored. Posey nailed a short turnaround jumper.

        Xavier scored 12 unanswered points during its big first-half finish.

        St. Mary's did not challenge in the second half. The Gaels never got closer than 17 points and the deficit got as large as 69-42 with 5:38 remaining. They turned the ball over too many times in the halfcourt against XU's defense and had to work for almost every basket.

        “I thought we played with a lot of emotion,” Xavier coach Skip Prosser said. “In the second half, we played with great composure.”

        The Musketeers were enthusiastic throughout the game, cheering teammates on and off the court.

        It had been a long road trip for one game, but it certainly allowed for some bonding time.

        XU practiced Saturday morning in Cincinnati, then spent six hours on an airplane to San Francisco, which had to stop for fuel in Omaha, Neb. The Musketeers practiced Saturday night and Sunday and had a shootaround Monday afternoon at St. Mary's. Otherwise, the players were together in the hotel.

        “I think we're starting to trust one another more now,” Posey said.

        “When you have a lot of guys that just love the game and love being around each other, I think that transfers to the court,” Lumpkin said. “Today, that's what happened.”

        The Musketeers responded in a similar manner two years ago when they played Loyola Marymount in southern California and won 81-65.

        They are scheduled to return home today and open Atlantic 10 Conference play Sunday against Rhode Island at Cincinnati Gardens.

       



Xavier Stories
- XAVIER 77, ST. MARY'S COLLEGE 54
XU NOTEBOOK
St. Mary's misses 7-3 Big Continent
SEASON IN STORIES

XAVIER (77)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            28   1-2   1-1   2-2  2  4    3
Posey           33  6-11   3-6   2-4  2  3   16
Harris          30   2-5   2-2   4-6  0  1    6
L Brown         35  5-12   0-1   0-3  3  3   14
Lumpkin         32  6-11   4-6   1-4  1  2   20
A Brown          1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Mcafee          13   2-6   2-2   0-1  1  2    7
Robertson        1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Price           24   4-6   3-4   3-5  3  2   11
Baronas          1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Butler           2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 26-53 15-22 12-25 12 17   77
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.491, FT-.682. 3-Point Goals:
10-27, .370 (Frey 0-1, Posey 1-5, L Brown 4-7,
Lumpkin 4-8, Mcafee 1-4, Price 0-2). Team
rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 3 (Harris 2, Price).
Turnovers: 15 (Frey 4, Mcafee 4, L Brown 2, A
Brown, Butler, Harris, Posey, Price). Steals: 7
(Lumpkin 3, Frey, Mcafee, Posey, Price).


ST MARYS CA (54)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Greer           29  9-11   0-0   2-5  2  3   22
Knapp           28   2-5   0-0   1-4  3  2    5
Schraeder       34  3-13   5-6   1-3  0  2   13
Allocco         27   2-5   0-0   0-2  4  1    6
Knight          23  4-12   0-1   3-5  4  1    8
Dahle           18   0-0   0-2   3-5  1  5    0
Kamaka           6   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  2    0
Varga            3   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Pangrazio        7   0-0   0-0   1-1  0  0    0
Jones            0   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
King            20   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  4    0
Jensen           5   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 20-47   5-9 11-26 14 20   54
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.426, FT-.556. 3-Point Goals:
9-24, .375 (Greer 4-5, Knapp 1-3, Schraeder 2-6,
Allocco 2-3, Knight 0-6, Kamaka 0-1). Team
rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 1 (Knapp). Turnovers:
20 (Knapp 5, King 4, Allocco 3, Schraeder 3,
Kamaka 2, Knight 2, Dahle). Steals: 7 (Knapp 2,
Knight 2, Allocco, King, Schraeder).
__________________________________
Xavier             41   36  -   77
St Marys Ca        23   31  -   54
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 3,137. Officials: Rich
Ballesteros, Bob Sitov, Mike Eggers.