Thursday, January 7, 1999

XAVIER 80, VIRGINIA TECH 67


Brown closes door on Hokies

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[mcafee]
Maurice McAfee and Lenny Brown (4) pressure Virginia Tech's Eddie Lucas.
(AP photo)

| ZOOM |
        BLACKSBURG, Va. — Of Xavier's five consecutive victories, this was the most tedious.

        The Musketeers got past a pesky Virginia Tech team 80-67 Wednesday night, pulling away in the final minutes.

        There wasn't much of a crowd in Cassell Coliseum (3,536), and there wasn't much of a pace to the game.

        Still, Xavier (10-4, 2-0 Atlantic 10) never trailed in the second half and defeated the Hokies (5-6, 0-2) for the fifth straight time.

        “I never felt really in control until the 51-second mark,” Xavier coach Skip Prosser said.

        The Musketeers could not shake Virginia Tech for 34 minutes. They would go up by 7 or 8, and the Hokies would fight right back.

        Two free throws by Brendan Dunlop with 6:03 left pulled Virginia Tech within 57-54.

        “A team is never going to quit at home,” Xavier senior Lenny Brown said. “The only thing you can do is keep digging deeper.”

        So he did.

        Brown made back-to-back three-pointers, then a short pull-up jumper in the lane. Suddenly, the deficit was nine points with 4:40 remaining.

        Virginia Tech couldn't come back this time.

        “In the second half we ran some sets where I came off some screens at the top,” Brown said. “One time I got open in transition. And none of that was happening in the first half.”

        Said Prosser: “Sunday he wouldn't let Rhode Island blow us out. He kept us alive. And tonight the difference was we were already even with them and he gave us a little bit of a cushion, he and James (Posey).”

        Brown, coming off a career-high 31 points against Rhode Island, scored a team-high 24 points — 18 in the second half. Posey added 20 points and eight rebounds.

        Brown, who was 0-of-5 from three-point range in the first half, made another big three at the 8:37 mark when the Hokies had pulled within 50-48.

        “I had a lot of anger in my head because they had just

        called a five-second call on me where I felt that he was fouling me,” Brown said. “I was mad about that. Then when I hit that first one, my confidence started getting up.”

        It was a 12-5 run that allowed XU to pull away. The Musketeers led by double-digits for the final 1:25.

        “I always think that we'll end up spurting because we have the athletes and we have the good players to do that,” Lumpkin said. “Every game I'm thinking eventually we're going to go on a 20-to-something run.”

        Xavier led 34-31 after a first half that was mostly played at Virginia Tech's pace — slow.

        Virginia Tech came in as the lowest scoring team in the Atlantic 10 (63.4 ppg) but second in scoring defense, allowing only 59.2 ppg.

        “We were playing good defense, but we weren't reward ing ourselves at the other end,” Posey said. “We would turn the ball over. That was the biggest frustration.”

        The Musketeers shot just 38.5 percent from the field in the first 20 minutes but were ahead because they hit eight consecutive free throws late in the half.

        “The first half we did a poor job of recognizing what they were doing,” Brown said.

        At halftime, Xavier had only four assists and 11 turnovers. Thirteen of its shots were three-point attempts, and only two of those fell (both by Frey). “The first half we guarded well,” Prosser said. “Offensively we didn't play well.”

        The second half was better.

        “It's a road win, and I'm not going to throw ashes on it,” Prosser said. “We'll take it. A month ago people were thinking that we weren't going to win many games at all.”

        XU NOTEBOOK
All 98-99 basketball stories


XAVIER (80)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            33   4-8   2-3   2-8  1  3   12
Harris          15   0-1   0-2   1-3  0  4    0
Posey           38  6-11   8-9   3-8  2  3   20
L Brown         38  9-18   2-2   0-0  3  1   24
Lumpkin         27   4-7   2-2   2-6  1  4   10
Mcafee          24   2-7   3-4   0-3  3  2    7
Price           24   1-5   5-5   2-3  0  2    7
Butler           1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 26-57 22-27 10-31 10 19   80
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.456, FT-.815. 3-Point Goals:
6-22, .273 (Frey 2-3, Posey 0-1, L Brown 4-11,
Lumpkin 0-2, Mcafee 0-3, Price 0-2). Team
rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 4 (Posey 2, Frey,
Lumpkin). Turnovers: 17 (Frey 4, Posey 4, Lumpkin
3, L Brown 2, Mcafee 2, Price 2). Steals: 11
(Posey 4, L Brown 3, Mcafee 2, Frey, Lumpkin).


VIRGINIA TECH (67)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Roberts         26   5-9   0-2   2-2  0  4   10
Ray             32   3-6   2-2   0-7  2  2    8
Wheeler         24   2-5   1-2   4-6  1  4    5
Dunlop          32   6-9   4-5   0-3  5  2   17
Lucas           36  5-11   5-5   3-5  2  4   17
Kimbrough       15   0-3   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Whaley           5   2-3   0-0   1-3  0  3    5
Floyd            4   0-1   0-0   0-0  1  0    0
Viegas           1   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Mims            23   2-5   1-3   0-3  1  2    5
Tor              2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 25-53 13-19 10-29 12 24   67
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.472, FT-.684. 3-Point Goals:
4-12, .333 (Ray 0-1, Dunlop 1-2, Lucas 2-6,
Kimbrough 0-2, Whaley 1-1). Team rebounds: None.
Blocked shots: 7 (Roberts 4, Ray 2, Whaley).
Turnovers: 23 (Dunlop 10, Ray 5, Kimbrough 2,
Floyd, Lucas, Mims, Roberts, Whaley, Wheeler).
Steals: 5 (Lucas 2, Mims, Ray, Roberts).
__________________________________
Xavier             34   46  -   80
Virginia Tech      31   36  -   67
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 3,536. Officials: Mark
Distrola, David Day, Fran Connolly.

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