Thursday, March 11, 1999

NIT: XAVIER 86, TOLEDO 84


Angry Musketeers 'take a stand'

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

posey
Toledo's Robert Kizer gets the upper hand on James Posey in a scramble for a loose ball.
| ZOOM |
        TOLEDO — Xavier lives to play another day. Barely.

        The Musketeers watched a 12-point lead all but disappear in the final five minutes Wednesday night before holding on for an 86-84 victory over Toledo in the first round of the National Invitation Tournament.

        Xavier (22-10) will play Wake Forest (17-13) on Monday or Tuesday. The date and site have not been announced. The Demon Deacons defeated Alabama 73-57 on Wednesday night.

        Toledo, which beat XU 74-67 in December and is scheduled to play next season at the Cincinnati Gardens, finishes 19-9 after a 10-0 start. Suspended freshman Justin Hall (11 ppg) did not play.

        “It was one of those things where it's time to take a stand,” XU senior Gary Lumpkin said. “If you're disappointed and ticked off, I think that's only going to make you play that much harder.

        “We didn't play as well as we wanted to, but we still have another game to improve.”

        Xavier played angry most of the night.

        Angry that it didn't get into the NCAA Tournament. Angry that it lost to Toledo three months earlier.

        It was a high-intensity affair. There was plenty of physical play and trash-talking, especially early. The Musketeers were diving all over for loose balls, including right over the top of some Toledo players.

        They were even pushing and shouting at each other.

        “I think Pose set the tone,” senior guard Lenny Brown said of teammate James Posey. “He played excellent. Everybody fed off him.”

        Toledo was ahead 37-36 at halftime, and there were 15 lead changes in the second half. Neither team led by more than three points until the final 81/2 minutes.

        That's when Xavier broke it open.

        The Musketeers were ahead by two. Aaron Turner grabbed a ball that Lloyd Price lost and dunked it. Posey nailed back-to-back threes over Greg Stempin. Then Posey dove on the floor, got a steal passed it to Brown. XU beat Toledo down court in transition, and Price got a dunk.

        It was 73-63 with 6:51 remaining.

        “Probably if he doesn't hit those, we lose,” Brown said of Posey's threes. “They don't get bigger than that.”

        Toledo rallied to within 79-75, but Posey tossed in another three over Stempin right in front of the Xavier bench to make it 82-75 with 1:04 left.

        “I was calling for the ball,” Posey said. “We needed a bucket.”

        After a timeout, Art Norman nailed a three-pointer to cut it four again with 50 seconds to play.

        Xavier turned the ball over in the backcourt, then Norman got a layup to make it 82-80.

        The Musketeers got off a full-court pass to freshman Kevin Frey, who dunked it.

        Brett Fedak's baseline layup pulled Toledo to within 84-82, then the Rockets fouled Maurice McAfee. The sophomore point guard hit just 1 of 2 free throws.

        Stempin tipped in a missed three-point try by Norman, and it was 85-84 Xavier with 2.4 seconds remaining.

        Again McAfee was fouled and again he hit 1-of-2 free throws.

        Toledo threw a full-court pass that Posey nabbed to seal the victory.

        “I had total confidence that we'd pull through at the end,” McAfee said.

        “Since Sunday night — rightly or wrongly — our kids have been in a state of mourning,” coach Skip Prosser said. “I talked to a million coaches about how to get them out of that. ... I think the guys ultimately wanted to keep playing.”

        Posey was 4-of-4 from three- point range and led Xavier with 20 points, but was held to a season-low six rebounds.

        Brown added 15 points and McAfee came off the bench for 13. Frey also scored 13 points — 11 in the first half — and had his first double-digit scoring game since his career-high 14 against George Washington Jan. 17.

        The Musketeers went outside in the first half, then tried to work it inside in the second half. Turner finished with a career-high 12 points and seemed to thrive on the contact. He also had a team-high seven rebounds.

        “We don't want to lose any game no matter what,” Frey said. “We can still go out on a winning note.”

        The atmosphere at Toledo's Savage Hall was much different than it was three months ago.

        On Dec. 9, students were lined up outside the arena waiting for the doors to open, and fireworks were shot off inside the building before a crowd of 7,002.

        Wednesday night, there were no fireworks, the students were on spring break and only 3,000 fans attended the game — many from Xavier. Most of the upper arena was empty.

        “We didn't want to lose up here twice,” Brown said. “We just came out and weren't going to let that happen. We got the last laugh. We ended their season.”


XAVIER (86)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Posey           33  7-11   2-2   1-6  2  4   20
Turner          26   5-5   2-6   4-7  0  3   12
Frey            27   4-8   4-5   1-2  0  4   13
L Brown         32  5-11   3-4   1-5  2  2   15
Lumpkin         30   2-7   4-4   0-5  6  4    9
Mcafee          29   4-9   2-4   0-1  3  0   13
Harris           2   0-0   0-0   1-1  0  0    0
Price           21   2-5   0-0   3-4  0  0    4
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 29-56 17-25 11-31 13 17   86
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.518, FT-.680. 3-Point Goals: 11-24, .458 (Posey 4-4, Frey 1-3, L Brown 2-7, Lumpkin 1-5, Mcafee 3-5). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 4 (Price 2, Posey, Harris). Turnovers: 14 (Lumpkin 4, Posey 3, L Brown 2, Turner 2, Frey, Mcafee, Price). Steals: 9 (Posey 3, Frey 2, L Brown 2, Price, Turner).

TOLEDO (84) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Kizer 26 1-5 0-0 3-5 1 3 2 Stempin 38 9-14 7-8 5-10 2 1 25 Fedak 34 10-12 2-3 1-5 5 4 23 Kamstra 37 3-15 1-2 2-4 5 4 10 Norman 32 7-10 0-0 1-2 4 3 17 Scott 14 0-1 1-2 0-2 2 1 1 Cullars 10 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 2 0 Wilson 9 1-4 4-4 0-0 0 2 6 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 31-63 15-19 12-28 19 20 84 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.492, FT-.789. 3-Point Goals: 7-21, .333 (Kizer 0-1, Stempin 0-2, Fedak 1-1, Kamstra 3-11, Norman 3-5, Cullars 0-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 2 (Stempin 2). Turnovers: 13 (Fedak 4, Norman 4, Cullars, Kamstra, Kizer, Scott, Stempin). Steals: 7 (Stempin 3, Cullars 2, Kamstra, Scott). __________________________________ Xavier 36 50 - 86 Toledo 37 47 - 84 __________________________________ Technical fouls: Xavier 1 (Frey). Toledo 1 (Wilson). A: 3,000. Officials: Tim Mcaleer, Bob Madigan, Pat Driscoll.

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