Wednesday, February 10, 1999

XAVIER 72, DUQUESNE 54


Prosser still searching for right lineup

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Twenty-four games into the season, and Xavier coach Skip Prosser is still experimenting with his lineup, combinations and rotation.

        The last time that happened this late?

        “1979, Wheeling Central (Catholic),” Prosser said. “First year there. I rallied us to the worst record in the history of the institution, 4-18. We experimented a lot that year.”

        The Musketeers' play Tuesday night was good enough to get by Duquesne.

        But Xavier will have to play much better in its next game.

        Having dispensed with the Dukes 72-54, the Musketeers now look ahead to Sunday's matchup with Temple in a battle for supremacy in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

        Xavier improved to 17-7, 9-2 A-10, a half-game ahead of George Washington in the West Division. The Colonials play Friday night at home against St. Joseph's.

        Temple (16-7, 10-1 after Tuesday night's win at St. Joseph's) leads the East by 31/2 games. The Owls and Musketeers were picked to win their divisions in the preseason, and the nationally televised showdown is XU's best chance for an impressive victory in the regular season.

        “If we don't rebound better Sunday, it could get really, really, really ugly,” Prosser said. “Temple right now is playing better than anybody in the league. ... We'll play a lot better Sunday. We'll be more crisp. I feel certain that will happen.”

        XU came alive in the second half and defeated Duquesne for the fifth straight time. The Dukes (4-18, 0-11) set a school record with their 15th consecutive loss.

        Prosser changed starting lineups for the fifth time this season and used his fourth combination of players, inserting 6-foot-7 freshman Aaron Turner.

        Perhaps hoping for production by committee, Prosser used Turner, Kevin Frey and sophomore Reggie Butler, who hadn't played the previous four games, on the front line.

        Those three, plus Obi Harris, who played just two minutes, combined for 17 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots.

        It wasn't enough to keep XU from getting outrebounded (41-39) for the fourth time in five games.

        “That's disappointing,” Frey said. “The stats show that we've got a lot of work to do. It showed we didn't really do our job.”

        There has been increasing talk of Xavier's needing help from its frontline players. The inside guys huddle together before each game: Harris, Butler, Turner, Frey and walk-on James Baronas. They know they have to play better and contribute more.

        “A few words of encouragement,” Harris said of the get-together. “We've been getting a lot of remarks (that) in the post we don't hold our own.”

        “We take it personally and try to work on it every game,” Turner said. “We try to go in there and establish ourselves more and more. Most schools don't worry about us. That's making it seem like we're sorry.”

        Xavier led 28-23 at intermission. After Duquesne scored the first basket of the second half, the Musketeers went on a 9-0 run to go ahead 37-27 — their largest lead to that point.

        The closest the Dukes came after that was five points (the last time with 11:58 remaining). XU wore down Duquesne and pulled away in the last 10 minutes.

        Duquesne came in last in the Atlantic 10 in scoring (61.4 ppg), field goal percentage (.366) and three-point shooting (.287). In its game against Xavier last month in Pittsburgh, the Dukes shot 26.4 percent and 16.7 from three-point range.

        Tuesday night, the Dukes shot 35.6 percent for the game after going 8-of-28 in the first half.

        “We had several layups and several turnovers where we just didn't complete the play,” Duquesne coach Darelle Porter said. “I told them a lot of the little things add up to losing.”

        Lenny Brown led Xavier with 18 points, and backcourt mate Gary Lumpkin added 13 — 12 in the first half.

        “We didn't lose,” was the way Prosser opened his postgame press conference.

        “Sometimes I marvel that we are 17-7 and 9-2 (in the league). We need so much work. (There are) so many things in my opinion that we're not doing.”

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DUQUESNE (54)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Smith           33  6-19   2-4   0-4  0  5   15
Rackley-mann    24   2-3   0-2   3-5  0  3    4
Davis           30   1-5   0-0   3-7  0  4    2
Wallace         39  8-20   2-5   4-8  5  3   19
Stanfield        7   1-2   0-0   0-0  0  0    2
Stephenson      22   0-1   3-4   0-3  0  4    3
Barker           8   0-1   0-0   0-1  0  0    0
Tann            11   1-1   0-0   0-2  1  2    3
Richards         1   0-1   0-0   1-1  0  0    0
Lovelace        25   2-6   2-2   2-7  0  4    6
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 21-59  9-17 13-38  6 25   54
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.356, FT-.529. 3-Point Goals:
3-12, .250 (Smith 1-5, Wallace 1-4, Stanfield
0-1, Barker 0-1, Tann 1-1). Team rebounds: 3.
Blocked shots: 2 (Davis, Stephenson). Turnovers:
17 (Wallace 6, Rackley-mann 3, Barker 2, Smith 2,
Stephenson 2, Davis, Stanfield). Steals: 8
(Stephenson 3, Tann 2, Rackley-mann, Smith,
Wallace).


XAVIER (72)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Turner          23   2-4   4-6   3-5  2  1    8
Posey           33   4-7   0-0   0-5  2  4    9
Frey            29   3-6   3-4   1-6  1  1    9
L Brown         32  6-13   3-4   3-4  3  3   18
Lumpkin         33   4-8   3-5   0-4  2  1   13
Catarella        1   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Mcafee          18   0-6   2-2   0-3  4  2    2
A Brown          3   0-1   3-3   0-0  0  0    3
Robertson        2   0-0   1-2   1-1  0  0    1
Careathers       1   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  0    0
Harris           2   0-1   0-0   1-1  0  0    0
Price           17   4-7   0-1   1-1  0  2    9
Butler           6   0-1   0-0   1-3  0  2    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 23-55 19-27 11-34 14 16   72
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.418, FT-.704. 3-Point Goals:
7-19, .368 (Posey 1-3, L Brown 3-4, Lumpkin 2-6,
Mcafee 0-3, Price 1-3). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked
shots: 5 (Butler 2, Turner, L Brown, Posey).
Turnovers: 13 (Frey 4, L Brown 2, Turner 2,
Butler, Lumpkin, Mcafee, Posey, Robertson).
Steals: 9 (Posey 3, L Brown 2, Lumpkin 2, Price,
Robertson).
__________________________________
Duquesne           23   31  -   54
Xavier             28   44  -   72
__________________________________
Technical fouls: Xavier 1 (L Brown).  A: 9,019.
Officials: Reggie Greenwood, Frank Spagliotta,
Joe Demayo.

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