Saturday, November 10, 2001

West leads Xavier past Marathon Oil

'When we give him the ball, it goes in the basket'

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        On the matter of David West, it didn't take long for Thad Matta to hear from Xavier fans. In the opening minutes of the Musketeer Madness intrasquad scrimmage last month, one already was yelling, “Get the ball to West!”

Xavier University's Kevin Frey battles Marathon's Sherman Carstensen.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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        Friday, the new coach continued deliberations on how best to balance his star center's gifts. West got 14 shots and made 10 for 23 points in an 88-66 exhibition victory over Marathon Oil.

        With an unselfish leader who's arguably the team's best passer — West totaled more assists last season (58) than did sixth man/point guard Lionel Chalmers (55) — Matta thus far is leaving West to decide his own shot total.

        “I trust his decision-making, because he's such a good passer,” Matta said. “I haven't been counting his shots.”

        The previous coaching staff drew criticism when it couldn't get West the ball enough in an 0-3 March meltdown. The Atlantic 10 player of the year averaged just 10.9 shots per game last season, just 19 percent of XU's attempts. By comparison, Saint Joseph's Marvin O'Connor took 27.4 percent of his team's shots. West's career high in attempts is 17.

        West averaged 15 attempts in these two exhibitions, leading to averages of 21.5 points and 11.5 rebounds. The Musketeers appeared Friday to be making extra efforts to locate West, who took over the game midway through the first half and had 15 points and 10 rebounds at halftime.

        “It speaks for itself: When we give him the ball, it goes in the basket,” senior forward Kevin Frey said.

        XU rebounded and defended better Friday than in its first exhibition, posting a 46-29 rebounding edge. It scored 20 straight points early to take a 20-2 lead and show this wouldn't be a game.

        The Musketeers shot 50 percent from the field, and the bench looked sharper — combining for 18 points on 7-of-12 shooting with 10 rebounds. Keith Jackson (eight points) and Alvin Brown (six) each were 3-of-3.

        In the first exhibition, the backups totaled seven points on 3-of-10 shooting with six rebounds.

        “We're getting our rotation down, and (the reserves) are getting more comfortable,” Frey said.

        Romain Sato looked aggressive in totaling 14 points and nine rebounds, with seven of his 11 shots coming from inside the 3-point line. Last year, 71 percent of his shots were from behind the arc.

        XU made just one of its first eight 3-point tries but hit its last four to finish strong at 42 percent from that distance.

        XU opens its season Nov. 17 at home against Coastal Carolina.

        Xavier — Frey 4-11 2-4 11, Young 4-9 0-0 9, West 10-14 3-4 23, Chalmers 5-13 2-2 13, Sato 5-11 2-3 14, Williams 1-4 0-0 2, Brown 3-3 0-0 6, Jackson 3-4 2-5 8, Caldwell 0-0 2-2 2. Totals: 35-70 13-30 88.

        Marathon — J. Carstensen 3-6 2-2 9, S. Carstensen 4-6 0-0 11, Allenspack 1-6 2-2 4, Ferguson 5-11 2-3 13, Miller 4-6 0-0 9, Larue 0-2 2-2 2, Blackmon 3-10 0-0 6, Dantzler 6-10 0-1 12. Totals: 26-61 8-10 66.

        Halftime-Xavier 44, Marathon 29. 3-point goals: X Frey 1-2, Young 1-2, Chalmers 1-4, Sato 2-4. M J.Carstensen 1-3, S.Carstensen 3-5, Ferguson 1-3, Miller 1-1. Assists: X 14 (Chalmers 6), M 14 (Ferguson 6). Rebounds: X 46 (West 11), M 29 (Miller 5). A-5,996.

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