Thursday, February 21, 2002

XU's Temple of gloom


Surging Owls deal Muskies convincing defeat

By Neil Schmidt
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        PHILADELPHIA — Xavier's coaches hadn't seen this particular defense from Temple. And no one had yet seen this urgency.

        The Owls are somehow a sub-.500 team and yet also the Atlantic 10's hottest group, and they saved their finest effort for the league leaders. Their 67-56 victory Wednesday over XU was a matter of muscle and moxie, as they clamped down on David West and Romain Sato and played with previously unseen abandon.

        “We usually do what we want to do, (impose) our will on teams, and we didn't do that tonight,” West said. “They dictated the tempo and forced us into doing some things we just weren't comfortable with.”

        Temple (12-13, 9-4 A-10) won its sixth game in the last seven and played like a ranked team, which it was in preseason. XU (19-5, 11-2) didn't look like one, though it is 24th this week in the ESPN/USA Today coaches poll.

        This will go down as XU's worst loss of the season, since Temple stood 100th Wednesday in the RPI, but the Owls were actually two-point favorites.

        “We really have had our feet in quicksand all year (because of various starters missing time),” Temple coach John Chaney said. “I think this is what we expected of them earlier this year. They haven't been together enough to get better.”

        A new form of Temple's traditional zone helped it shut down the league's top two shooters, West (55.3 percent) and Sato (47.9). It both kept West bottled up inside in a 5-for-14 shooting effort and prevented the sharpshooting Sato from getting looks outside in an 0-of-7 night.

        Sato, named Sports Illustrated's national player of the week and averaging 20.5 points in A-10 play, was held scoreless for the first time in his career.

        “That was the game plan coming in: Just try not to let those two guys get off,” Temple forward Kevin Lyde said. “We tried to find where they were and stick with them at all times.”

        The Owls streaked to a 13-point first-half lead, let XU creep within seven, and then stretched the lead to 22 points with 10 minutes left in the game. XU made just three of its first 15 second-half shots and finished 29 percent for the half, 37.7 percent for the game.

        XU got within 12 points with 3 1/2 minutes to go and 11 points with 1:42 left but couldn't convert despite Temple missing the front end of one-and-one bonus situations on its next three possessions.

        The Owls made defensive switches nearly every time XU screened, something XU coach Thad Matta said he hadn't seen them previously do this season.

        “Our recognition on offense was not very good tonight,” he said. “But I give them credit. It's hard to simulate their defense ... (Temple) is a great basketball team.”

        Matta said Sato could never get in the flow offensively, in part because Temple had 6-foot-4 and 6-6 guards defending him. Sato said he was double-teamed whenever he roamed the baseline.

        “It's hard to face that kind of defense,” Sato said. “I'm trying, but everything isn't working. They played great, and we didn't play good.”

        Temple shot 49 percent, the best XU has allowed since Cincinnati shot 53.4 percent Dec.14.

        “For whatever reason, I thought we came out a little bit timid, especially on the defensive end,” Matta said. “We weren't quite aggressive enough about guarding.”

        XU was prevented from clinching at least a share of the A-10 West Division title, its first since 1998.




XAVIER (56)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            36   3-8   2-2   4-7  1  1    8
Young           31  4-10   2-2   1-3  2  2   12
West            39  5-14   2-3  3-11  3  2   12
Chalmers        31  5-10   2-4   1-4  3  4   15
Sato            37   0-7   0-2   0-3  3  4    0
Williams        10   2-3   2-2   1-1  0  1    6
Brown            6   1-1   0-0   0-1  0  0    3
Jackson         10   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 20-53 10-15 10-30 12 15   56
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.377, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals:
6-19, .316 (Frey 0-1, Young 2-5, West 0-2,
Chalmers 3-6, Sato 0-4, Brown 1-1). Team
rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 2 (West, Sato).
Turnovers: 10 (Chalmers 4, Frey 2, Jackson, Sato,
West, Young). Steals: 1 (Chalmers).


TEMPLE (67)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Wesby           35  7-12   2-2   0-4  1  3   18
Rollerson       22   3-3   0-0   2-3  0  4    6
Lyde            30   4-7   1-2   2-7  4  5    9
Greer           40  6-16   6-7   2-3  3  1   20
Hawkins         40  4-10   2-4   0-6  2  1   11
Polk            13   1-2   0-0   0-1  0  0    3
Elliot           1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Murry           19   0-1   0-0   0-3  2  2    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 25-51 11-15  6-27 12 16   67
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.490, FT-.733. 3-Point Goals:
6-15, .400 (Wesby 2-4, Greer 2-5, Hawkins 1-3,
Polk 1-2, Murry 0-1). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked
shots: 6 (Rollerson 3, Lyde 2, Wesby). Turnovers:
9 (Greer 2, Murry 2, Hawkins, Lyde, Rollerson,
Wesby). Steals: 4 (Wesby 2, Hawkins, Lyde).
__________________________________
Xavier             26   30  -   56
Temple             35   32  -   67
__________________________________
Technical fouls: Xavier 1 (Sato).  A: 6,051.
Officials: Jim Burr, William Bush, Gene Monje.
       

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