Tuesday, February 15, 2000

Xavier gets chance to pay back Duquesne

Dukes' last win was against Muskies

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Before Xavier and Duquesne played exactly one month ago, Dukes coach Darelle Porter showed his team clips of the Musketeers' victory over No.1-ranked Cincinnati.

        He pointed out Xavier's intensity and emotion. He told his players they would have to match that for 40 minutes to beat XU.

        They did. And they won.

        The Musketeers will try to pay back the Dukes for that 85-78 loss tonight at the Cincinnati Gardens (7:30 p.m., WB64).

        “They play with about as much emotion as any team in the country,” Porter said of Xavier. “When they bring their intensity, sometimes if you don't match it, they can overpower you.”

        Duquesne has not won since that night in Pittsburgh. The Dukes were the second-place team in the Atlantic 10 West Division after beating XU, but bring a seven-game losing streak into this rematch.

        They have not played a league game since Feb. 6 and are coming off a non-conference loss to Hampton (71-64).

        “We haven't been shooting the basketball particularly well,” Porter said. “When you do that, you put yourself in a bad situation. Defensively, we've been giving up some transition baskets because of bad offense and we're not good enough to play that way.”

        Four players scored in doubles figures. The Duquesne bench outscored Xavier's 42-15.

        “We need to guard them,” Xavier coach Skip Prosser said. “They really dominated us on the offensive end of the floor. We had no answer for Wayne Smith (20 points), no answer for Courtney Wallace (21 points). Watching the tape, they scored over us, around us, through us.

        “If we don't guard better, then the result could be similar.”

        Xavier does not consider itself out of the running for an NCAA Tournament bid despite a 3-5 record in January.

        The Musketeers have won four out of five. They are tied with George Washington for the all-important second place in the West and a chance for a first-round bye in the Atlantic 10 tournament.

        Still, nothing comes easily for Xavier (15-8, 5-5). And Prosser said the Musketeers can't afford to worry about the long-range picture.

        “Every game is very, very important to us,” Prosser said. “We'd like to get to 16 wins and get over .500 in the league, so I think the revenge factor (tonight) may take a back seat to that.”


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