Wednesday, January 13, 1999

Bonnies have way to Winn


Slowing point guard key for Xavier

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Xavier senior Gary Lumpkin found out what it was like to play with St. Bonaventure point guard Tim Winn last summer.

        Both were counselors at the Five-Star Basketball Camp, and in the counselor all-star game they were teammates.

        “The only thing I had to really do is spot up and then look for him to pass the ball because he just blew past everybody,” Lumpkin said. “And once he got past everybody, he was either going to score or dish off for an assist.”

        That's exactly what Lumpkin has to help shut down to night when the Musketeers play host to the Bonnies at the Cincinnati Gardens.

ST. BONAVENTURE at XU
• When: 7 p.m. today
• Where: Cincinnati Gardens (10,100)
• Records: St. Bonaventure 6-8, 1-2 A-10; Xavier 11-4, 3-0
• TV: Channel 9
• Radio: WLW-AM (700)
• Tickets: $13, $9
BY THE NUMBERS • .263: St. Bonaventure's three-point shooting percentage, last in the A-10
• 45: Blocked shots by Bonnies center Caswell Cyrus
• 67: Blocked shots by Xavier's team
        Winn, a 5-foot-10 junior, is St. Bonaventure's heart and soul, its leader in scoring, assists and steals, the player who gives his team courage and confidence. He may be one of the more underrated players in the Atlantic 10 given what he means to the Bonnies.

        “On defense, he's like a thief,” Lumpkin said, “and offensively, he can make his teammates better. He just does everything.”

        Said Xavier coach Skip Prosser: “He plays so hard ... it's contagious to the other players on the team. He's going to play well (tonight), he's going to have a good game. For us to beat Bonaventure, he can't have a great game.”

        The Musketeers are riding a six-game winning streak. The Bonnies are coming off a 53-50 victory over Massachusetts after losing their first two Atlantic 10 Conference games.

        St. Bonaventure is 4-4 since Winn returned from a school suspension amid charges that he assaulted a fellow student. He was reinstated to the school and the team Dec. 9.

        As soon as Winn stepped back on the court, the difference in the Bonnies was “night and day,” coach Jim Baron said.

        “It's been challenging for him and for us,” Baron said. “He missed five weeks of prac tice. He's just been very competitive on the court, and he gets everybody to play so hard.”

        Winn has been hampered by sprained ankles and back spasms. But he has some help. Caswell Cyrus, a 6-9 junior once recruited by Xavier, is a shot-blocking center who has improved steadily since he arrived at St. Bonaventure.

        Senior forward Isaac King, who was academically ineligible the first semester, joined the team a month ago. With David Messiah Capers, that gives St. Bonaventure four guys scoring in double figures.

        “We're still bringing it together with the chemistry and the guys understanding their roles,” Baron said. “We're getting there.”

        Prosser won't struggle to convince his players the Bonnies have talent. It was just last year at St. Bonaventure that the Bonnies upset then-No. 13 Xavier 80-77 in its A-10 opener.

        In that game, King came off the bench to hit three three-pointers, and Winn had 16 points and five assists.

        “They just took us out of everything we wanted to run, and we made some mental mistakes on defense,” senior Lenny Brown said. “They just capitalized. They beat us more than we beat ourselves.”

        In the A-10 tournament last March, Xavier trailed SBU 24-22 at halftime before coming back to win 68-44. The Musketeers held Winn to four points on 1-of-9 shooting.

        Prosser is not anticipating the St. Bonaventure squad that lost by 16 at Temple and 16 at St. Joseph's.

        “We get the same St. Bonaventure team all the time,” Prosser said. “They reflect Jimmy (Baron)'s personality; they're going to play very, very hard.”



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