Sunday, January 27, 2002

XU notebook

Chalmers elevates his game

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Xavier coach Thad Matta identified Lionel Chalmers as the player his staff has spent the most time this season trying to develop. Though he says the junior point guard still has a way to go, he looked Saturday like a finished product.

        Chalmers totaled 19 points, three assists and a steal and committed just two turnovers in 40 minutes, earning game MVP honors in the 75-59 victory over Dayton.

        “Lionel was very sharp,” Matta said. “He controlled the tempo of the game better than he had.”

        Chalmers is a scoring point guard, and his penetration moves were on full display Saturday. He continually beat UD senior David Morris off the dribble.

        But it's the decision-making Matta most lauded.

        “He was doing such a great job running the team,” Matta said. “We've had to get him to have a true understanding of what we're looking for. He has to know his position, and he's got to know the other four, too.”

        Matta said he began with fundamentals in preparing Chalmers for his first season as a starter.

        “The dialogue he and I have during a game has changed dramatically,” Matta said. “I wouldn't trade him for anybody.”


        XU lowered its defensive numbers a bit further Saturday.

        Its scoring defense (60.6 ppg) is the lowest since XU allowed 55.5 in the 1949-50 season. Its field goal percentage defense (37.8 percent) is the lowest on record since the Musketeers allowed 36.1 percent in the 1952-53 season. Its 3-point defense (27.4 percent) is on pace to break the school record of 30.3 percent, set last season.

        “That's our trademark: staying gritty and tough on the defensive end,” junior forward Dave Young said.

        RUDE HOSTS:

        This was XU's 17th consecutive home victory over the Flyers. The last time UD won in Cincinnati, Jan.10, 1981, Jimmy Carter was president and five current Flyers hadn't been born. XU has won 15 of the last 21 meetings in the series.

        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.


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