Sunday, January 27, 2002

Muskies push winning streak to 10 games


Balance key in 75-59 win over UD

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[img]
Lionel Chalmers.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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        Xavier's known quantities at season's start were its three returning starters: David West, Kevin Frey and Romain Sato. They were the top three scorers and rebounders on the team last season.

        But it's becoming apparent this isn't the Three Musketeers. Those three struggled with their shots Saturday, yet Xavier still beat a good Dayton team 75-59.

        Say hello to a balanced bunch. One professing to be as tight-knit as the Brady Bunch.

        “We're more of a family this year, more of a team,” junior forward Dave Young said. “There were a lot of cliques last year. But we're a unit right now. We're on a mission.”

        XU (15-3, 7-0 Atlantic 10) recorded its 10th consecutive victory, its first double-digit streak since the 1998-99 season. It hasn't had a longer run since winning 11 in a row seven seasons ago. This matches its best A-10 start, set previously in '98-99.

        XU's winning streak is the third-longest in the nation, behind Cincinnati (19) and Utah (11).

        This was one of XU's most impressive efforts because of the way it won. West and Frey were both in foul trouble, and XU played a few minutes in the first half without either of its post players — a first this season, excluding garbage time.

        West made just one first-half basket and finished 4-of-11. Frey played just 26 minutes and failed to make a basket for the first time since November 1999. Sato made just one of his first seven shots and finished 4-of-14.

        But the rest of the team shot 64 percent (16-of-25).

        Junior point guard Lionel Chalmers scored 19 points and committed just two turnovers in 40 minutes. Young played a career-high 36 minutes, totaling 14 points and six rebounds. Freshman Keith Jackson tied a career high with eight points coming off the bench.

        In short, there was no panic.

        “When (West and Frey) went out, guys just stepped it up,” Young said. “We just reach down deep, defend and play hard no matter what. That's been our focus all year. We just get it done any way we can.”

[img]
Romain Sato.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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        XU shot 47.1 percent and held UD (12-5, 4-2) to 34.4 percent. The Musketeers had a season-low nine turnovers, a giant step forward from a three-game stretch in which they totaled 59.

        Coach Thad Matta credited the winning streak to his team's maturation.

        “Guys are starting to understand the offense a little better,” he said. “They're starting to understand guarding different positions. It's a constant with them of continuing to teach.

        “I think back to the Missouri game (Nov.24), and ... I remember we struggled getting calls in (from the bench). I just see the process. Guys are understanding a little bit better. And we're understanding our players a little bit better as well.”

        The notion that West is usually XU's leading scorer is a fallacy; he has been only six times in 18 games. XU had four double-figure scorers Saturday and seemingly has developed more confidence in Young and Jackson as viable options on offense.

        “We rely on Dave West to do a lot, but he's not the whole team,” Jackson said. “On any given day, our opponents don't know who to stop.”

        When West sat down with his second foul with 6:39 left in the first half, the game was tied 17-17. XU went on a 12-4 run without him, and without Frey as well for a couple of minutes, to close the half.

        XU has a two-game lead in the West Division race.

        “I don't know if this was a matter of proving it to Dayton or not, but this helped get them off our back,” Chalmers said.

        UP NEXT:

        XU plays host to Duquesne at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. The Dukes were 5-12 (0-6 Atlantic 10) entering their game Saturday at Richmond.


Box Score


DAYTON (59)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Hall            29  5-14   0-0   5-7  1  3   12
Waleskowski     29   2-8   2-3   0-5  1  4    6
Finn            16   1-4   0-0   2-3  0  2    2
Marshall        36   5-9   0-2   1-1  0  2   12
Morris          33   3-7   5-6   2-3  7  1   12
Stelly          14   2-8   2-2   3-3  0  3    7
Green           16   0-3   0-0   1-5  0  3    0
Kohls            0   0-0   0-0   0-0  1  0    0
Jones            7   2-3   2-2   0-2  1  2    6
Holland         18   1-5   0-0   0-2  0  3    2
Smith            2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 21-61 11-15 14-31 11 23   59
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.344, FT-.733. 3-Point Goals:
6-20, .300 (Hall 2-6, Waleskowski 0-1, Marshall
2-5, Morris 1-4, Stelly 1-3, Jones 0-1). Team
rebounds: 5. Blocked shots: 4 (Finn 2,
Waleskowski, Holland). Turnovers: 12 (Hall 3,
Holland 3, Waleskowski 2, Finn, Green, Marshall,
Morris). Steals: 3 (Waleskowski 2, Jones).


XAVIER (75)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            26   0-1   5-6   0-2  0  4    5
Young           36   4-7   4-4   3-6  0  3   14
West            33  4-11   7-8   1-9  1  3   15
Chalmers        40  8-12   3-3   1-2  3  3   19
Sato            39  4-14   5-9   2-7  2  1   14
Coleman          2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Brown            2   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Jackson         22   4-5   0-0   1-3  0  1    8
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 24-51 24-30  8-29  6 16   75
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.471, FT-.800. 3-Point Goals:
3-11, .273 (Young 2-2, West 0-1, Chalmers 0-1,
Sato 1-6, Brown 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked
shots: 5 (Sato 3, West 2). Turnovers: 9 (West 4,
Chalmers 2, Frey, Jackson, Sato). Steals: 8 (West
3, Chalmers, Frey, Jackson, Sato, Young).
__________________________________
Dayton             21   38  -   59
Xavier             29   46  -   75
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 10,250. Officials:
David Day, Richard San Fillipo, Jeff Clark.




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