Friday, March 09, 2001

Xavier Notebook

Muskies fail to get it to West

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PHILADELPHIA — Xavier's players and coaches spent the week talking about the importance of getting the ball to David West. Then they again failed to do so when it mattered.

        Mirroring their late-game meltdown Sunday at Dayton, when West touched the ball just once in the final 7:23, the Musketeers couldn't get their sophomore center the ball late in their loss Thursday to George Washington.

        West, who had 17 first-half points, scored just three points in the second half Thursday — none in the final 14:50. His last scoring opportunity was a missed free throw with 7:06 remaining.

        “We tried to get him the ball,” senior point guard Maurice McAfee said. “It may look to outsiders like we didn't. But we just couldn't.”

        West drew several double- and triple-teams, and the Colonials rotated five post players on him. But though that left other Musketeers open, they couldn't convert on their opportunities.

        “They collapsed on him, and we couldn't hit the big shots to loosen the defense,” XU coach Skip Prosser said.

        RELAX AND FOCUS: GW seemed to benefit from playing with nothing to lose. The Musketeers were evidently uptight, and their offense subsequently bogged down in the critical junctures.

        “It shouldn't matter if we were (uptight),” McAfee said. “We wanted to win this game just like every other one this year. We just didn't.”

        GW coach Tom Penders said his team gained confidence from two prior narrow defeats against XU.

        “We have all the respect in the world for Xavier, but we had confidence we could beat them,” he said. “I thought our kids played to win tonight.”

        STAT OF THE DAY: West has become just the sixth player in XU history to total 300 or more rebounds in a two-season span.


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