Sunday, February 21, 1999

UMASS 78, XAVIER 77


XU's last gasp too late

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[frey]
Xavier's Kevin Frey gets tangled up with UMass's Lari Ketner.
(AP photo)

| ZOOM |
        AMHERST, Mass. — It was destined to come down to the final possession. That's the kind of game it was.

        And Xavier ended up losing by a split second Saturday.

        Senior Gary Lumpkin rolled a running layup off the rim. James Posey dunked the rebound, but it was too late. The final horn had sounded.

        With that, Massachusetts escaped with a 78-77 double-overtime victory over the Musketeers in a game of clutch plays, momentum swings and big individual performances.

        “They didn't want to lose, we didn't want to lose,” Lumpkin said. “It showed in the outcome.”

        UMass center Lari Ketner grabbed a rebound off a Monty Mack miss and banked in the go-ahead basket with 41 seconds left.

        Xavier had three chances to win on its final possession.

        Freshman Kevin Frey missed a baseline hook shot, but grabbed his own rebound. Senior Lenny Brown then missed a short jumper in traffic, but freshman Lloyd Price hustled after the rebound, which went out of bounds off the Minutemen.

        With 7.3 seconds left, the Musketeers' last play was designed for Brown. He was to inbound to Lumpkin, then come off a Posey screen for a jump shot. Brown and Posey got caught in traffic, and Lumpkin saw that the pass wasn't there.

        He knew time was running out. And he saw a brief opening to the basket.

        “I thought I had a pretty good look,” Lumpkin said. “When I drove, I saw Ketner step up. He wasn't at an angle where he was going to try to block the shot. He just tried to get a hand up. I thought it was going in.”

        Posey had to wait for the rebound to come off the rim.

        As he jammed the ball through the basket, he saw the red light behind the basket come on.

        “I didn't know,” he said. “It could've gone either way.”

        Said Brown: “I was just hoping that they wouldn't have seen that. But I knew it was late. ... It's going to leave a little bitter taste in your mouth. It's one we could've had.”

        A sparse crowd of 6,311 at the Mullins Center and a national TV audience on ESPN watched what was Xavier's most down-to-the-wire game of the season.

        “Tough loss,” Xavier coach Skip Prosser said. “None of them are easy.

        “You can't get much better than your senior point guard taking it right to the rim. We'll take that. It wasn't an easy shot because of their size, but it wasn't a bad shot.”

        Brown led Xavier with 23 points. Posey added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and Price came off the bench for 14 points and nine boards.

        The Musketeers (19-8, 11-3 Atlantic 10), who trailed by as many as 10 points in the first half, outrebounded the bigger Minutemen 48-44, had 22 offensive rebounds, 10 steals and only committed 11 turnovers in 50 minutes.

        They also came up with some big plays to extend the game.

        Posey hit two free throws with two seconds left in regulation to tie it at 63. “I've always dreamed about being in a situation like that,” he said. “I've seen so many players get the opportunity and not come through. I've been waiting for it. I didn't want to let myself or my teammates down.”

        Brown hit a short running jumper off the glass with 6.2 seconds remaining in the first extra period to tie it at 70. “I knew we didn't have that much time,” he said. “I just wanted to get to the hole.”

        Xavier fell behind 17-7 after 61/2 minutes and spent the rest of the day playing catchup.

        The Musketeers took their first lead on a Maurice McAfee three-pointer with 4:21 remaining. It went back and forth for the rest of regulation.

        XU never led by more than two.

        Its best chance to extend that came with 1:54 left in the second OT. With a 75-74 lead, Price went to the foul line for two shots, but missed them both.

        UMass took the lead back on two free throws by Chris Kirkland.

        “Neither team was going to quit,” Brown said. “Everybody kept coming with punches. Every time we made a run, they made a run. We made a basket, they made a basket. That's the way it went for 50 minutes.”

        Massachusetts (12-14, 8-6) ended a two-game losing streak and kept alive its NIT chances.

        Kirkland, coming off a career-high 26 points Wednesday at George Washington, led the Minutemen with 25 points and a career-high 13 rebounds.

        Mack had 21 points and 10 rebounds, and Ketner added 20 points and 12 rebounds in one of his best games of the season.

        It was the first time since Feb. 28, 1996 that UMass had three players collect double-doubles, and the first time since Jan. 20, 1996 that three players scored 20 or more points.

        The Minutemen held XU to 36.7-percent shooting and had a season-high 11 blocks.

        “That's how I thought we would be all year,” UMass coach Bruiser Flint said.

        “If we played like that all season, we wouldn't be in the position we're in now.”

        Said Prosser: “I didn't think we played that poorly, they just played better.

        “It was more what they did than what we didn't do.”

XU NOTEBOOK


 XAVIER (77)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            40   3-9   2-2   7-9  1  4    8
Posey           49  6-13   7-7  2-12  2  4   19
Butler           5   0-3   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
L Brown         47  9-28   3-4   0-4  0  2   23
Lumpkin         37   2-6   1-2   0-0  1  2    5
Mcafee          18   1-4   1-2   0-1  1  1    4
Harris          22   2-4   0-0   4-6  0  1    4
Price           32  6-12   2-4   5-9  1  3   14
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         250 29-79 16-21 18-41  6 18   77
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.367, FT-.762. 3-Point Goals:
3-11, .273 (Posey 0-1, L Brown 2-7, Mcafee 1-2,
Price 0-1). Team rebounds: 7. Blocked shots: 4
(Posey 2, Harris 2). Turnovers: 11 (Harris 3,
Posey 3, Frey 2, L Brown, Lumpkin, Mcafee).
Steals: 10 (L Brown 3, Price 3, Posey 2, Frey,
Lumpkin).


MASSACHUSETTS (78)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Kirkland        48  9-12  7-11  6-13  3  2   25
Babul           43   1-4   0-0   1-3  5  5    3
Ketner          48  8-17   4-4  4-12  1  2   20
Clarke          43   3-7   0-0   0-1  6  3    8
M Mack          50  9-24   2-2  2-10  0  1   21
Cruz             6   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Smith           10   0-1   1-3   0-2  0  2    1
Rhymer           2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         250 30-66 14-20 13-41 15 16   78
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.455, FT-.700. 3-Point Goals:
4-15, .267 (Babul 1-1, Clarke 2-5, M Mack 1-9).
Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 11 (Kirkland 3,
Ketner 3, Babul 2, M Mack 2, Rhymer). Turnovers:
15 (Clarke 4, Smith 4, Babul 2, M Mack 2, Cruz,
Ketner, Kirkland). Steals: 4 (Ketner 2, Kirkland,
M Mack).
____________________________________________
Xavier             27   36    7    7  -   77
Massachusetts      31   32    7    8  -   78
____________________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 6,311. Officials:
Larry Lembo, Joe Demayo, Bryan Kersey.

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