Monday, November 29, 1999

XU learned lessons in Alaska


3 games reveal promise and weaknesses

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ANCHORAGE, Alaska — Xavier ran the gamut during its first Great Alaska Adventure.

        The Musketeers (3-1) had their highs (edging Louisville 81-79, bouncing Washington 81-65) and lows (Kansas 111-70, 'nuf said).

        They beat the Cardinals with point guard Maurice McAfee going 1-of-5 from 3-point range with one assist and five turnovers. They beat the Huskies with Darnell Williams going just 3-of-12 from the field with eight points.

        What else stands out after a third-place finish in Anchorage?

        • XU's balanced scoring attack. Five players are averaging in double figures, led by Williams (14.5 ppg) and Lloyd Price (14.0), who was picked to the Great Alaska Shootout All-Tournament team after a career-high 21 points Saturday night. And that does not include Aaron Turner (7.0 ppg, 8.5 rpg).

        • Freshman David West, named co-rookie of the week in the Atlantic 10 Conference on Sunday, is averaging 10.5 points and 8.8 rebounds. If you discount the Kansas game in which he suffered a mild asth ma attack and played just 18 minutes, West has averaged 13 points and 10.7 boards. He shows no fear of any opponent, has a knack for getting his hands on rebound opportunities and has proven he can score inside in a variety of ways.

        • Alvin Brown is averaging 10.5 points off the bench and has done so with consistency, scoring 13, 8, 11 and 10. He also has 11 assists and eight turnovers.

        • Brandon McIntosh played well when called upon. In Alaska, he was 4-of-7 from the field with eight points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals and no turnovers in 25 minutes.

        “We feel pretty good, I think,” McAfee said. “I think we took a step forward. We got a lot of different people to step up and do a lot of positive things.”

        While Xavier played poorly in the second half against the Jayhawks, Kansas has to be given credit for playing as well as it did in the 41-point victory.

        And the Musketeers responded with a dominating performance against Washington, showing they learned from some of the mistakes of the previous night. It was especially evident in how Xavier ran its offense against the Huskies after failing to do so against Kansas.

        “We weren't patient, we rushed things and look where it got us,” McAfee said. “Anybody with sense would know that if that didn't work you've got to try what coach is telling you. The game plan they put together, you've got to stick with it.”

        Xavier returned to Cincinnati on Sunday afternoon after taking an overnight flight out of Anchorage via Seattle. The Musketeers are off today before starting to get ready for East Tennessee State on Saturday.

        Playing three teams that went to the NCAA Tournament last year in three days gave the Musketeers their best dose of early season competition in a few years.

        “Maybe we learned some lessons from (the Kansas game),” coach Skip Prosser said. “Obviously our weaknesses were exposed to a tremendous extent. We have a million things to work on.

        “We have to guard much better, we have to rebound much better, we've got to take care of the basketball. You name the part of the basketball game and we need to improve on it.”

       



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