Monday, February 26, 2001

Xavier 79, LaSalle 55


Musketeers at their best on national TV

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PHILADELPHIA — They've got the hip black jerseys. They've got 21 victories. Today they might again own a national ranking. The Xavier Musketeers insist they're ready for prime time.

        Sunday, two weeks before the NCAA Tournament field is announced, they sent that missive through the ESPN2 cameras. Their 79-55 victory at La Salle makes them 5-0 this season on national TV.

        “We sure pointed that out to the kids: "There's a lot of people who make the March decisions who'll be watching. Give 'em something positive to think about,' ” XU coach Skip Prosser said.

        There's plenty positive to think about XU's NCAA chances.

        By all counts, the Musketeers (21-5, 12-3 Atlantic 10) appear a lock if they win next Sunday in their regular-season finale at Dayton (16-11, 7-7 A-10). Even with a loss, they might need to win only their first A-10 Tournament game to put themselves in safe range.

        “It ain't over yet,” sopho more center David West said. “We're taking Dayton as a must-win (game) in our minds.”

        The past three were must-wins. And the Musketeers won. This last week, they have been as focused as at any point in the season.

        “It's crunch time,” junior forward Kevin Frey said. “You've gotta bear down and win these games.”

        It was a dangerous scenario. Losing to a team rated 173rd in the RPI could have been a mortal wound. So XU eliminated any suspense in the first three minutes.

        The Musketeers were ahead 10-0 after four possessions, then up 19-4, then 33-11. They led by as many as 33 points.

        “It was one of those days we put it all together,” Prosser said.

        It tied the worst margin of defeat this season for La Salle (10-15, 4-10 A-10). XU's 48-29 rebounding advantage was its largest of the season. The Musketeers shot 50.8 percent and totaled 20 assists.

        But the story was defense. XU held La Salle to 34.4-percent shooting — 26.9 percent in the first half — and forced 18 turnovers. XU had 11 steals and eight blocks. West's seven blocks tied the single-game school record held by Aaron Williams and Dave Payton.

        “When we get out in the passing lanes, front the post and pressure the ball, we're a very good basketball team,” XU assistant Dino Gaudio said.

        Rasual Butler, the A-10's leading scorer (22.3 ppg), was scoreless at halftime. Victor Thomas (20.0), who ranks third in the A-10, had only two free throws at that point.

        “That's incredible,” Prosser said.

        Butler finished 4-for-15 and Thomas 3-for-11. Lloyd Price was the primary defender on Butler and Romain Sato was the main man on Thomas.

        Price played perhaps his finest all-around game of the season, totaling 14 points on 6-for-7 shooting and taking two charges on defense. XU's other junior forward, Frey, had 13 points and 11 rebounds.

        “I've said before, Lloyd and Kevin are often the barometers for our team,” Prosser said. “And they've been going well lately.”

        West totaled his 18th double-double of the season, producing another eye-popping line: 22 points, 13 rebounds, seven blocks, three assists and two steals. He went 11-for-15, making all seven second-half field-goal tries.

        “I was getting good looks, and (Maurice McAfee) was getting me the ball,” West said. “We just didn't want to let them back in it.”

        For the second consecutive game, XU abandoned its methodical half-court offense in favor of the running game it favored in seasons past. Prosser's message to the players to chase a postseason bid aggressively has been reflected in their play.

        “We know we can win playing some different styles, but it feels good to get out and run,” Frey said. “That's Xavier basketball.”

Frey clutch at crunch time
Xavier women 93, St. Bonaventure 82


XAVIER (79)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            29  4-11   4-6  6-11  3  3   13
Price           26   6-7   1-1   2-5  1  5   14
West            34 11-15   0-0  3-13  3  0   22
Sato            29   2-4   4-4   0-1  2  1   10
Mcafee          32   1-5   0-0   0-1  8  2    2
Chalmers        18   2-8   0-0   0-1  1  1    4
Young            9   2-2   0-2   1-3  1  0    6
Mcintosh         3   1-1   0-0   0-0  1  0    2
Johnson          2   0-2   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Brown            3   1-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    2
Mason            3   1-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    2
Baronas          2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Butler          10   1-6   0-0   6-9  0  0    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 32-63  9-13 18-44 20 12   79
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.508, FT-.692. 3-Point Goals:
6-13, .462 (Frey 1-2, Price 1-1, Sato 2-3, Mcafee
0-1, Chalmers 0-4, Young 2-2). Team rebounds: 4.
Blocked shots: 8 (West 7, Sato). Turnovers: 19
(Frey 5, Butler 4, Mcafee 3, Chalmers 2, Price 2,
Johnson, West, Young). Steals: 11 (Mcafee 2, Sato
2, West 2, Butler, Chalmers, Frey, Johnson,
Price).


LA SALLE (55)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Wilson          20   3-4   0-0   5-7  0  4    6
Thomas          37  3-11   2-2   2-3  2  0    8
Bragg           24   2-6   0-1   1-3  1  0    4
Butler          33  4-15   2-2   1-5  1  3   11
Blanks          37  5-12   0-0   1-2  5  3   11
Quadri          15   1-6   3-4   1-2  1  1    5
Jones            9   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Wright           3   3-4   0-0   0-0  0  0    8
Clark            3   1-2   0-0   1-1  1  0    2
Jordan          19   0-3   0-2   1-1  1  2    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 22-64  7-11 13-24 12 14   55
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.344, FT-.636. 3-Point Goals:
4-20, .200 (Thomas 0-3, Butler 1-5, Blanks 1-5,
Quadri 0-2, Jones 0-1, Wright 2-3, Clark 0-1).
Team rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 7 (Wilson 3,
Thomas, Bragg, Blanks, Butler). Turnovers: 18
(Blanks 4, Butler 4, Thomas 4, Jones 2, Jordan 2,
Bragg, Wilson). Steals: 9 (Blanks 4, Thomas 2,
Jordan, Quadri, Wilson).
__________________________________
Xavier             41   38  -   79
La Salle           17   38  -   55
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 3,533. Officials:
Robert Donato, Frank Scagliotta, Gary Bova.


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- Xavier 79, LaSalle 55
Frey clutch at crunch time
Xavier women 93, St. Bonaventure 82

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