Tuesday, February 2, 1999

A-10 NOTEBOOK


St. Joe's expecting angry XU

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        St. Joseph's coach Phil Martelli was glued to the tube for the Crosstown Shootout last Thursday night.

        “I was weary watching (Xavier's) game against Cincinnati,” he said. “I was absolutely exhausted, and I didn't have any vested interest at all ...

        “I can't imagine that any group of kids could've played back-to-back emotional games like that (UC, then Dayton on Saturday). Obviously they're going to come in here a little bit hurt and a little bit angry.”

        The Hawks (9-11, 3-5) play host to Xavier (15-6, 7-1) on Thursday night in Philadelphia.

        They started the season 7-5 but have dropped six of their past eight games, including four in a row.

        St. Joseph's last played Wednesday night at Rhode Island, an 82-68 loss.

        “The few days off have been welcomed just to try to get mentally fresh,” Martelli said.

        Martelli said his players have finally found a comfortable pace at which to play. Not too fast, not too slow. He's seen that over the past two games, as well as in practice.

        What the Hawks need to improve on most, he said, is handling a “down period” during a game.

        “Everybody has them, and when we hit that lull, it's almost like we end up running in sand,” Martelli said. “Like we get deeper and deeper in the hole and we never move forward, because we're searching for that one person or one play to kick-start us.

        “We don't yet have the sense that when we need a big stop, we can get a big stop or when we need a big bucket, we can get a big bucket. That I thought would come sooner than this.”

        XAVIER NOTES: XU senior James Posey has made 29 consecutive free throws, one shy of the school record set by Bill Kirvin in 1959-60. Posey has made 15 more free throws than any other player in the league. He has 19 more attempts, too.

        • Senior Lenny Brown became No.1 on Xavier's all-time three-point field goal list Saturday (197). He passed backcourt mate Gary Lumpkin (195).

        • Brown is shooting 55.5 percent from the field in eight Atlantic 10 games. He shot 41.3 percent in 13 non-conference games.

        AROUND THE LEAGUE: Big week for La Salle. The Explorers are 8-11, 4-5 A-10 and tied with Dayton for third place in the West Division. They play host to George Washington on Wednesday night and Xavier on Saturday; those opponents are tied for first in the West at 7-1.

        • Since losing to Xavier, George Washington has won four straight games by 11, 7, 52 and 13 points.

        • Rhode Island's Lamar Odom has been named Atlantic 10 Rookie of the Week seven times; the record is nine (Mark Macon, Temple; Yinka Dare, George Washington).

        • When Fordham defeated Massachusetts last Tuesday, it was the first road victory for the Rams since they joined the A-10 in 1995-96. They had lost 27 straight league road games. Coming off a victory over St. Bonaventure, Fordham also put together its first two-game A-10 winning streak, which ended with a loss at George Washington on Sunday.

SEASON IN STORIES


Esiason has case of 'Elway envy'
LT doesn't belong in Hall of Fame
No. 1 Connecticut can't overcome injuries
MIAMI 63, TOLEDO 57
MIAMI NOTEBOOK
Nicklaus mulls Open with new hip
Riverhawks moving to Northern Ky.
Walz tears ACL, out for season
UC not passing boards