Sunday, February 04, 2001

Xavier 71, George Washington 63


Muskies, West show mettle in OT win

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

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David West had the best game of his young career.
(Ernest Coleman photos)
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        It has been a long, hard climb. The last rung on Xavier's ladder back to the Top 25 was the slipperiest.

        Twenty-six months after last holding a national ranking, the Musketeers might have clinched a return trip with their thrilling 71-63 overtime victory Saturday over George Washington.

        It marked XU's sixth consecutive victory and 12th in the past 13 games, the best stretch since XU won 13 of 14 to end the regular season in 1994-95. XU has won all four games this season that went down to the final seconds — Cincinnati, Toledo and GW twice — after going just 5-4 in such situations last season.

        “The core of this team has matured,” XU sophomore center David West said. “Last year, we would have lost this game.”

        In the finest game of West's career, he totaled career highs in rebounds (21) and blocks (six), and among his 26 points was a critical basket that saved XU in regulation.

        XU (17-3, 8-1 Atlantic 10) shut out the Colonials in OT, making eight free throws — including four by West — to win the game.

        “He's a good player, and he's playing well,” XU coach Skip Prosser said. “Our guys recognize that and are finding him.”

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Kevin Frey wins a scramble for the ball.
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        West drove for a bank shot with 10 seconds left in regulation, which put XU ahead 63-62. GW's Patrick Ngongba, fouled fighting for a loose ball with a second left, made the second of two foul shots to force OT.

        XU held GW to 0-for-9 shooting in the extra period and to 30 percent shooting on the night, XU's best defensive field-goal percentage of the season.

        “We played good defense, and we knew in overtime we needed stops,” XU freshman Romain Sato said.

        West's rebound total was an A-10 sophomore record and tied for the third-most ever by an A-10 player. XU hadn't had a player total 20 rebounds — or for that matter, both 20 points and 20 rebounds — since Tyrone Hill had 38 points and 20 rebounds and Derek Strong had 24 points and 24 rebounds in a victory against Loyola Marymount 11 seasons ago.

        As wild as the finish was, much of the night was forgettable.

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Lloyd Price wrestles burly Antxon Iturbe for a rebound.
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        GW's three starting guards - Chris Monroe, SirValiant Brown and Bernard Barrow — were a combined 9-of-44 from the field. XU shot just 28-of-48 (.583) from the foul line, its second-worst night of the season. XU shot 18.8 percent on 3-pointers and GW 19.2 percent from that range. XU had 20 turnovers, tied for second most of the season.

        XU made just four of 13 foul shots in the last 5:12 of regulation, missing a chance to put away the game. But it made its first eight free throws in OT.

        The lead changed hands several times, leading to a 60-60 tie with 1:30 left in regulation.

        West made one of two foul shots with 1:22 left: XU, 61-60. Monroe drove the lane and made a leaning 5-footer with 58 seconds left, GW led 62-61.

        West got the ball and was fouled with 35 seconds left but missed both free throws. GW's Mike King missed the front end of a one-and-one with 31 seconds left. Price got the rebound and XU called time out, setting up West's go-ahead basket.

        “Since I had missed those free throws, that (basket) was payback,” West said.

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Frey had 17 points and 12 boards.
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        There was no doubt West was the go-to player on that possession. XU spread the floor so GW (9-12, 3-5 A-10) couldn't collapse on him.

        “You know how much confidence we have in Dave when we give him the last shot,” XU senior captain Maurice McAfee said.

        XU junior forward Kevin Frey added 17 points and 12 rebounds. He was XU's only other double-figure scorer; it marked the first of XU's 17 victories in which it had fewer than three double-figure scorers.

        XU has won its past five home games against GW.

        The Musketeers embark on a tough three-game stretch: at St.Joseph's (17-4, 7-1), vs. Temple (12-10, 6-2) and at Massachusetts (10-10, 8-1).

Longtime friends momentary foes
A-10's next school battles for berth


GEO WASHINGTON (63)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Iturbe          21   2-4   1-2   3-5  0  1    5
Cosby           10   1-4   0-2   2-4  0  5    2
Monroe          24  3-12   0-0   3-5  2  4    7
Barrow          42  1-11   2-3   0-4  5  4    5
Brown           37  5-21   2-3   2-7  1  3   13
Roma            19   1-1   0-0   1-5  0  5    2
King            32  5-12   2-3   2-6  2  2   13
Smith           19   4-9   0-2   3-5  0  5    8
Collucci         5   0-2   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Ngongba         16   2-4   3-6   3-5  0  4    8
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         225 24-80 10-21 19-46 10 34   63
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.300, FT-.476. 3-Point Goals:
5-26, .192 (Cosby 0-1, Monroe 1-3, Barrow 1-9,
Brown 1-4, King 1-4, Smith 0-2, Collucci 0-1,
Ngongba 1-2). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 6
(Smith 3, Cosby 2, Iturbe). Turnovers: 12 (Monroe
3, Roma 3, Collucci 2, Cosby 2, Barrow, Brown).
Steals: 11 (Barrow 4, King 3, Brown 2, Collucci,
Iturbe).


XAVIER (71)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            37  6-11  5-12  2-12  0  4   17
Price           38  2-11   2-4   2-7  1  3    6
West            43  8-14 10-17  8-21  3  3   26
Sato            33   1-4   4-6   1-7  1  3    7
Mcafee          41   1-5   5-6   0-2  3  3    8
Chalmers        20   2-4   2-2   0-1  3  1    7
Young            2   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  1    0
Mcintosh         1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Butler          10   0-2   0-1   1-1  0  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         225 20-51 28-48 14-52 11 19   71
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.392, FT-.583. 3-Point Goals:
3-16, .188 (Frey 0-2, Price 0-4, Sato 1-3, Mcafee
1-5, Chalmers 1-2). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked
shots: 7 (West 6, Price). Turnovers: 20 (Mcafee
5, West 4, Chalmers 3, Frey 2, Price 2, Young 2,
Sato). Steals: 2 (Chalmers, Price).
_______________________________________
Geo Washington     28   35    0  -   63
Xavier             29   34    8  -   71
_______________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 10,250. Officials:
Larry Lembo, Buddy Mayborg, Bernard Clinton.


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