Sunday, February 11, 2001

Xavier 78, Temple 71

McAfee answers critics with 12 assists

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Maurice McAfee ducks as Temple's Kevin Lyde goes up for a shot.
(Ernest Coleman photos)
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        The naked eye, scanning the box score, might think Xavier's Maurice McAfee lost the battle of point guards Saturday to Temple's Lynn Greer. Scoring is popular, and the fact McAfee is doing less of it is why one Web site rated him the nation's most disappointing player. But the 24th-ranked Musketeers won 78-71 Saturday, and McAfee was the story behind the statistics.

        Forget Greer scoring 30 points and McAfee just 12. McAfee tied a career-high with 12 assists and carved Temple's matchup zone like Thanksgiving turkey.

        “We had always counted on him to lose the ball against us,” Temple coach John Chaney said. “Today he settled down. It was amazing he handled the traffic as well as he did.”

        McAfee continues to thrive in a season of mistaken identity. Labeled by some as an underachieving scorer (9.7 ppg) because he led XU with a 15.1-point average last season, the senior captain has gradually grown into a savvy floor general.

        His scoring average ranks fourth on his team, the reason slammed him in its midseason “report card,” but he is more than twice as efficient in assist-turnover ratio than last season.

Lloyd Price scores even though surrounded by Owls.
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        XU coach Skip Prosser, calling the Web site “tragically misinformed,” quoted a more obvious stat: XU's record.

        “We're not 18-4 without Maurice,” he said. “One of the reasons we've had success is, he is unselfish. He's trying to give us more of what we need.”

        What he gave Saturday, with just two turnovers, helped lift XU into sole possession of second place in the Atlantic 10 at 9-2. St. Joseph's (9-1) is a half-game ahead.

        Massachusetts (8-2), which XU visits Wednesday, is third. Temple (8-3) dropped to fourth.

        The Owls (14-11 overall) were a good gauge for McAfee's improvement, as he said he had never played well against them.

        He totaled just three points (1-for-10 shooting) and one assist with four turnovers in a loss at Temple last season.

        So seeing the printout didn't dim his smile.

        “I don't care,” he said. “They don't know me. My emphasis is on leadership. We've got a lot of players that can score, and I need to get them the ball.”

Kevin Frey dunks.
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        The key judgment of point guards is assist-to-turnover ratio. McAfee is at 1.71-to-1 this season, including 2.21-to-1 in league play. That A-10 mark ranks second to Greer (2.64-to-1), though Greer had three assists and four turnovers Saturday.

        Last season, McAfee's ratio was 1.12-to-1.

        “Maybe something made him reconcile (his best utilization), like, "The light has come on in my head,'” Chaney said. “He's always been a good defensive player, but he was also an especially smart player today.”

        With XU's lead having shrunk from 15 to three with 10 minutes left, McAfee fed Romain Sato in the right corner for a 3-pointer.

        Two possessions later, he found Lionel Chalmers in the left corner for another 3. With 8:11 left, McAfee had already tied his high for assists.

        He wasn't shooting well, standing 1-for-8 at one point. But he scored 10 of his 12 points in the last 6:04 to help XU hang on.

Lionel Chalmers is blocked by Lyde.
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        “That's crazy that people dis him,” said Chalmers, a sophomore who totaled 18 points and three assists. “He works the hardest of anybody. He comes out of every game hurting because he gives up his body. There's a lot more to it than scoring.”

        McAfee's ballhandling helped XU shoot 50 percent, its third-best performance of the season. Not bad against a team that leads the league in every defensive category.

        XU made 11 3-pointers and scored 15 fast-break points.

        “They did an excellent job controlling the pace of the game,” Chaney said. “They took the (fast) breaks when the breaks were there. And they moved the ball around even under the pressure we put on them until they got the stand-up jump shots.”

SULLIVAN: XU's Sato aims to please
Muskies: We needed that

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Wesby           23  5-10   1-1   1-2  1  4   12
Lyde            40   2-6   0-3   5-7  0  3    4
Rollerson       21   3-7   0-0  8-12  0  2    6
Greer           40 10-18   4-6   1-3  3  4   30
Wadley          35  4-14   3-5   1-6  2  4   13
Jefferson        6   0-0   0-0   0-2  0  2    0
Hawkins         35  2-10   1-2   1-3  3  3    6
TOTALS         200 26-65  9-17 17-35  9 22   71

Percentages: FG-.400, FT-.529. 3-Point Goals:
10-26, .385 (Wesby 1-6, Greer 6-11, Wadley 2-7,
Hawkins 1-2). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots:
None. Turnovers: 11 (Greer 4, Lyde 2, Wadley 2,
Wesby 2, Rollerson). Steals: 8 (Greer 3, Wesby 2,
Hawkins, Rollerson, Wadley).

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            29   3-6   2-2   0-0  0  3    9
Price           15   3-5   0-0   2-4  1  4    6
West            39   5-6   1-4  2-15  2  2   11
Sato            37  6-10   1-2   2-5  1  1   19
Mcafee          36  3-11   5-6   0-3 12  1   12
Chalmers        28   3-9 10-10   0-2  3  1   18
Young            4   1-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    3
Butler          12   0-0   0-0   1-3  0  2    0
TOTALS         200 24-48 19-24  7-32 19 14   78

Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.792. 3-Point Goals:
11-28, .393 (Frey 1-3, Price 0-2, Sato 6-10,
Mcafee 1-6, Chalmers 2-6, Young 1-1). Team
rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 8 (West 5, Frey,
Mcafee, Butler). Turnovers: 16 (West 5, Butler 3,
Mcafee 2, Price 2, Sato 2, Chalmers, Frey).
Steals: 2 (Butler, Sato).
Temple             26   45  -   71
Xavier             37   41  -   78
Technical fouls: None.  A: 10,250. Officials:
Larry Lembo, Bryan Kersey, Joe Mingle.

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- Xavier 78, Temple 71
SULLIVAN: XU's Sato aims to please
Muskies: We needed that

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