Sunday, November 25, 2001

Missouri 72, Xavier 60


No. 5 Tigers pull away with late spurt

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        INDIANAPOLIS — Xavier played 37 strong minutes Saturday night. Most nights, that might spell victory. Not against Missouri, which is ranked No.5 and probably will climb to No.3 this week. A three-minute spurt lifted the Tigers to their 72-60 victory over XU in the Wooden Tradition at Conseco Fieldhouse.

[img]
Lionel Chalmers, guarding Wesley Stokes, had a career-high 23 points.
(AP photos)
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        “I thought there were stretches we lapsed mentally,” XU junior center David West said. “When we're able to play a game 38, 39 minutes, we'll be good. But I think that (three-minute) stretch killed us.”

        Weathering Missouri's hot shooting all night, XU was within two points at 54-52 with 8:11 left. But the Tigers went on a 12-0 run, and the Musketeers made mistakes as they tried to rush a comeback.

        In the aftermath, there were numerous positives to savor. XU outrebounded Missouri 40-35. The Tigers talked about having played their best basketball — shooting 49.2 percent, and totaling 19 assists with just seven turnovers — and yet couldn't put away XU.

        “We learned some things about our team tonight ... That I think we can play with anyone in the country,” XU coach Thad Matta said.

        Missouri (5-0) was 9-of-18 on 3-pointers, making five in the second half. All-American Kareem Rush totaled 24 points on 11-for-21 shooting and added 12 rebounds.

        “Today we put the offense together and Kareem, he put his show together,” Missouri coach Quin Snyder said. “But I think Xavier's going to have a great year. They play great defense.”

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David West tries to block Clarence Gilbert's shot.
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        The loss overshadowed a brilliant outing by XU junior point guard Lionel Chalmers, who totaled a career-high 23 points. He made nine of his first 10 shots and repeatedly drove through the heart of the Tiger defense.

        XU (1-1) shot 38.6 percent, including just 29 percent in the second half. Kevin Frey, who was 2-of-14 in the season opener against Coastal Carolina, had another tough night: 1-of-9.

        Chalmers had 13 points at halftime, keeping XU close at 36-34. But the Tigers made their first four 3-point tries of the second half, including a pair by Wesley Stokes, to keep ahold of the lead.

        On the critical charge, Missouri turned first to Rush. He sank a 19-foot shot despite Alvin Brown closely guarding him.

        Rickey Paulding then sank a 3-pointer for the Tigers. XU started rushing, and Dave Young misfired badly on a 3-point try. The Tigers got a hook shot from Arthur Johnson on the other end. Chalmers tried to force his way inside but turned the ball over, and Rush converted on a 15-footer on the other end.

        The run ended with Gilbert sinking a 3-pointer. It was 66-52 Missouri with five minutes left.

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Kareem Rush had 24 points and 12 rebounds.
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        West finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds, committing five turnovers.

        “We have some things with our offense we need to get better on,” Matta said. “When David catches the ball in the post, we need to keep moving and give him some other options.”

        Said Snyder: “Our whole team did a great job on David West. We had two or three guys on him every time he caught the ball.”

        Perhaps the key to Missouri's offense was its 14 points from Stokes, including 4-of-5 3-point shooting.

        “He caught me sleeping a couple of times,” Chalmers said of Stokes. “I wanted to help out down low, and when I'd lay off, he'd hit the shots.”

        XU used Chalmers' quicksilver drives and some timely outside shooting to hang in during the first half, after which it trailed just 36-34. The Musketeers twice led by three points, the latter time coming at 21-18, and were tied before Rush sank a 19-footer with 46 seconds left to provide Missouri its halftime advantage.

 
MISSOURI (72)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Rush            38 11-21   0-0  2-12  3  1   24
Echols          25   2-5   0-0   1-5  1  3    4
A Johnson       28   4-7   0-2   2-4  2  3    8
Stokes          33   5-8   0-0   2-2  5  2   14
Gilbert         32  4-11   0-0   0-2  6  4   10
Bryant          16   1-2   0-0   2-3  0  3    2
D John           2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Paulding        21   4-8   1-1   3-4  2  1   10
Ferguson         5   0-1   0-0   1-2  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 31-63   1-3 13-34 19 17   72
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.492, FT-.333. 3-Point Goals:
9-18, .500 (Rush 2-4, Stokes 4-5, Gilbert 2-6,
Paulding 1-3). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 5
(A Johnson 3, Rush, Paulding). Turnovers: 7 (A
Johnson 2, Stokes 2, Ferguson, Gilbert, Rush).
Steals: 7 (Gilbert 4, A Johnson 2, Paulding).


XAVIER (60)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            32   1-9   0-2   1-7  1  1    2
Young           30   2-9   3-4   1-4  0  2    8
West            39  5-12   2-5  5-13  1  0   13
Chalmers        36  9-12   3-3   0-1  4  2   23
Sato            35  4-13   3-3   6-8  0  3   12
Williams         4   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Coleman          1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Brown            9   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Jackson         14   1-2   0-0   1-1  0  0    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 22-57 11-17 14-34  6  9   60
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.386, FT-.647. 3-Point Goals:
5-13, .385 (Frey 0-3, Young 1-2, West 1-1,
Chalmers 2-3, Sato 1-4). Team rebounds: 6.
Blocked shots: 3 (West 2, Sato). Turnovers: 12
(West 5, Chalmers 2, Frey 2, Sato, Young).
Steals: 6 (Brown, Chalmers, Frey, Sato, West,
Young).
__________________________________
Missouri           36   36  -   72
Xavier             34   26  -   60
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 12,887. Officials: Ted
Valentine, Ed Corbett, Joe Lindsay.
John Higgins.


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