Sunday, January 10, 1999

XAVIER 56, DUQUESNE 42


Musketeers dust off zone

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PITTSBURGH — Xavier coach Skip Prosser said his team may play zone defense for the majority of the game maybe once or twice a season. But when you are facing an opponent that can't shoot, it's not a bad idea.

        And Duquesne can't shoot.

        The team with the lowest shooting percentage in the Atlantic 10 dropped to new depths Saturday.

        The Musketeers defeated the Dukes 56-42 for their sixth straight victory, including three on the road.

        Duquesne came in with a 38.5 field goal percentage and ended up 14-of-53 against XU (a season-low 26.4 percent). It totaled just seven field goals in each half and had the lowest scoring output for one team in the history of the A.J. Palumbo Center, which opened in 1988.

        It was also the lowest total for a Xavier opponent since the 1993 Midwestern Collegiate Conference tournament semifinals when the Musketeers defeated — who else? — the Dukes 67-41.

        “I don't like playing a lot of zone,” Prosser said. “We didn't plan on being in it as long as we were in it. But it was working.”

        The Musketeers (11-4) won their sixth straight; the Dukes (4-9, 0-3) have dropped six in a row. Xavier starts Atlantic 10 play 3-0 for the first time despite scoring 22.5 points below its season average.

        “It beats losing,” Prosser said. “But we have to get better in every area. ... Anybody who expects this team just to roll out and knock teams out like we did maybe sometimes last year or the year before, that's probably not going to happen.”

        The Musketeers started the game with a 10-1 advantage.

        But with 6:56 left in the first half, Xavier was clinging to a 14-12 lead. Prosser then went to a three-guard lineup, which included Lenny Brown, Gary Lumpkin and Maurice McAfee.

        Xavier outscored the Dukes 15-8 the rest of the half, including a 7-0 run in the final 2:27. The Musketeers were ahead 29-20 at halftime even though Brown was scoreless and they went 71/2 minutes without a field goal while missing 10 shots in a row.

        “You praise Duquesne, they played hard,” McAfee said. “We didn't play Xavier ball. It didn't seem like we played hard all the time, for whatever reason. We've got to get things going, and I think we will.”

        The game was never close in the second half.

        Duquesne was within 36-29, but then XU rattled off seven straight points during a 13-3 run.

        It was just a matter of time until Brown got into the act. He missed all five of his field-goal attempts in the first half, but twice hit back-to-back jumpers — three of those four baskets were three-pointers — during the second half.

        Brown and James Posey each scored 13 points. Posey also had 10 rebounds for his seventh double-double of the season. Freshman Kevin Frey had a team-high 12 rebounds to go with five points. McAfee came off the bench for a team-high 14 points — 11 in the first half when XU needed someone to score.

        In the past seven games, McAfee is averaging 11.4 points, shooting 46 percent from the field and 43.3 percent from three-point range.

        “I did not shoot the ball well and that got frustrating to me,” McAfee said. “I was looking at other ways I could help the team. For a minute it seemed like my shot was dropping, then I went ice cold.”

        McAfee was just 1-of-6 from the field in the second half. He wasn't the only one who struggled against Duquesne's zone.

        The Musketeers ended up with more shots from three-point range (29) than not (23) and finished with a 34.6 field goal percentage.

        “They're not a slouch team,” Lumpkin said. “They have some pretty good players. ... We have to realize we're not just an ordinary, average team. Everybody's going to come after us being as how we are the defending A-10 champs. I think at times we don't play as well as we can.”

        “We've got to put a complete game together,” Posey said. “We keep turning the ball over. We're not rewarding ourselves on the offensive end when we do make defensive stops. I guess it's mental toughness. That's what coach is always telling us.”

Notebook: Fouls keep Price down to nothing
All 1998-99 stories


XAVIER (56)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            37   2-6   1-1  4-12  4  2    5
Posey           37  5-10   1-2  6-10  2  5   13
Harris          22   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  3    0
L Brown         37  4-10   2-3   0-5  3  2   13
Lumpkin         35  3-11   1-3   0-3  4  3    9
Mcafee          18  4-13   2-2   1-2  2  1   14
A Brown          3   0-1   2-2   0-0  0  0    2
Price            9   0-1   0-0   1-2  0  4    0
Butler           2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 18-52  9-13 12-35 15 21   56
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.346, FT-.692. 3-Point Goals:
11-29, .379 (Posey 2-4, L Brown 3-7, Lumpkin 2-8,
Mcafee 4-10). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 6
(Harris 4, Frey, Posey). Turnovers: 15 (Posey 5,
Price 3, Frey 2, Mcafee 2, Harris, L Brown,
Lumpkin). Steals: 4 (A Brown, Frey, Lumpkin,
Posey).


DUQUESNE (42)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Smith           36  5-15   2-2   3-7  2  2   14
Stanfield        7   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Stephenson      12   0-3   6-7   2-3  0  2    6
Wallace         39  4-14   1-3   2-3  2  3   10
Lovelace        29   1-4   1-2   1-5  2  3    3
Barker           1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Davis           25   1-6   1-3  7-12  1  3    3
Tann             8   0-2   0-0   0-2  0  0    0
Kegerreis        8   0-4   0-0   0-3  0  2    0
Rackley-mann     6   0-1   0-0   1-1  0  0    0
Shand           29   3-3   0-3   2-4  0  2    6
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 14-53 11-20 18-40  7 18   42
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.264, FT-.550. 3-Point Goals:
3-18, .167 (Smith 2-7, Wallace 1-4, Lovelace 0-1,
Tann 0-2, Kegerreis 0-4). Team rebounds: 3.
Blocked shots: 5 (Wallace 2, Shand 2, Smith).
Turnovers: 17 (Smith 7, Shand 3, Lovelace 2,
Stanfield 2, Wallace 2, Davis). Steals: 6 (Shand
2, Davis, Kegerreis, Lovelace, Wallace).
__________________________________
Xavier             29   27  -   56
Duquesne           20   22  -   42
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 3,698. Officials: Ron
Foxcroft, Joe Demayo, Merv Shapiro.
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