Thursday, February 08, 2001

St. Joseph's 79, Xavier 76




By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PHILADELPHIA — Xavier doesn't traffic in moral victories. The fact it now has lost one of its five last-second games still seems one too many.

        “I can't think of a (silver lining) right now,” XU coach Skip Prosser said after a 79-76 loss Wednesday at St. Joseph's. “We had gutted these games out before, but we weren't able to tonight. We missed a golden opportunity.”

        The 24th-ranked Musketeers lost the Atlantic 10 lead and perhaps their national ranking. They rallied from numerous deficits, including scoring seven points in the last 28 seconds, but came up shy when Frank Wilkins tipped Lloyd Price's potential game-tying 3-pointer with two seconds left.

        “This one hurts the most (of four losses), because it was a fight for first place,” XU sophomore center David West said. “Now we really have to play hard to stay in the hunt.”

        St. Joe's (18-4, 8-1 Atlantic 10) trailed with two minutes left but used a back-breaking 8-0 run to seize control. But down 79-73 with 10 seconds left, XU (17-4, 8-2) got a 3-point basket from Lionel Chalmers, then got the ball back when St. Joe's lost it on an inbounds pass.

        With nine seconds left but no time outs, Prosser yelled quick instructions from the bench. The play was designed to free up either Maurice McAfee or Lionel Chalmers for a 3-point shot - Prosser wouldn't say whom - but Price couldn't get an open passing lane.

        Price let fly from 22 feet as Wilkins made contact with him, but no foul was called and the St. Joe's crowd stormed the court.

        “It's a joke that Xavier will probably fall out of the Top 25,” St. Joe's coach Phil Martelli said. “That team will be playing weekends in March.”

        The Hawks, unsung in preseason when picked sixth in the A-10, are off to their best start in 15 years. They're 8-0 at home.

        The Musketeers saw an end to their seven-game winning streak away from home, the fourth-longest in the nation and the team's longest in 13 seasons. XU also owned a six-game winning streak prior to Wednesday.

        McAfee led XU with 21 points and seven assists. Price and Romain Sato each added 14 points.

        West totaled 13 points but had his streak of eight consecutive double-doubles end with only seven rebounds.

        “We played hard, but not well enough to get the job done,” McAfee said. “They made enough plays to win.”

        Price scored two baskets and blocked a shot in a run that gave XU a 69-68 lead with two minutes left.

        Sato fouled Marvin O'Connor, who made two free throws. Price missed a shot, and O'Connor scored on the other end when Kevin Frey goaltended his shot. O'Connor led all scorers with 29 points.

        Alexandre Sazonov blocked a West shot, and Jameer Nelson extended the lead with a 5-foot jumper at the other end. McAfee missed a 3-pointer, and Nelson made two free throws to make it 76-69 with 38 seconds left.

        St.Joe's took care of the ball (19 assists, nine turnovers), was active on defense (10 blocks) and was successful at the foul line (21-for-25).

        “It came down to a few possessions,” Prosser said. “We didn't get to the line as much (12-for-14) as we usually do. We played well in spots and had the lead a couple times in the second half. It's disappointing we didn't close it out.”

        With Temple (13-10, 7-2 A-10) and Massachusetts (10-11, 8-2) up next, XU must be careful not to let one loss lead to another.

        “I know we can still win the league,” senior Reggie Butler said. “There's a lot of good teams, and a lot of them can knock anyone off. We'll have to get some help from some other teams now.”

West takes blame for loss


XAVIER (76)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            35   2-7   0-0   2-8  2  0    4
Price           25  4-14   4-4   2-5  2  4   14
West            32  5-13   3-3   1-7  2  4   13
Mcafee          39  9-14   0-1   1-6  7  1   21
Sato            35   4-8   4-4   3-7  3  4   14
Chalmers        17   3-7   1-2   0-1  0  2   10
Mcintosh         4   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  2    0
Brown            1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Butler          12   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  3    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 27-64 12-14  9-34 16 20   76
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.422, FT-.857. 3-Point Goals:
10-23, .435 (Frey 0-1, Price 2-5, Mcafee 3-6,
Sato 2-5, Chalmers 3-6). Team rebounds: 4.
Blocked shots: 2 (Price, West). Turnovers: 13
(West 4, Frey 3, Mcafee 3, Chalmers, Price,
Sato). Steals: 4 (Chalmers, Frey, Mcafee, Sato).


ST JOSEPHS PA (79)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Wilkins         19   1-3   0-0   0-2  1  1    2
Phillips        34  5-11   2-5   1-3  4  2   13
Reid            20   1-3   4-5   2-5  1  5    6
Nelson          37  5-12   2-2   1-7  8  1   15
Oconnor         31  9-18   9-9   0-6  1  1   29
Barley           3   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Crenshaw        27   1-4   0-0   0-3  4  0    2
Woods            9   2-4   2-2   1-2  0  1    6
Sazonov         20   2-5   2-2   1-4  0  4    6
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 26-60 21-25  6-32 19 16   79
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.433, FT-.840. 3-Point Goals:
6-22, .273 (Wilkins 0-1, Phillips 1-3, Nelson
3-6, Oconnor 2-8, Crenshaw 0-3, Woods 0-1). Team
rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 10 (Sazonov 3,
Wilkins 3, Phillips 3, Reid). Turnovers: 9
(Phillips 3, Reid 2, Sazonov 2, Crenshaw,
Oconnor). Steals: 3 (Nelson, Oconnor, Phillips).
__________________________________
Xavier             39   37  -   76
St Josephs Pa      35   44  -   79
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 3,200. Officials: Jim
Burr, Joe Demayo, Jack Sweeney.


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