Sunday, December 8, 2002

Xavier 50, UC 44

West answers slights with 23 points, 10 rebounds

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Even Jason Maxiell, the University of Cincinnati forward who derided David West's toughness earlier in the week, had to concede the obvious.

West, Xavier University's All-American forward, was the difference Saturday in a grind-it-out Crosstown Shootout that more resembled the basketball played decades ago in short pants and high-top canvas sneakers than the high-tech, up-and-down-the-floor version UC and XU favor in the 21st century.

19 Shootout photos
West scored 23 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the 16th-ranked Musketeers to a 50-44 victory over the Bearcats before a sellout crowd of 13,176 at Shoemaker Center.

The total of 94 points was the lowest for a UC-XU game since the Bearcats' 53-39 victory in the 1945-46 season.

On a day when neither team could establish any offensive rhythm, West was undeterred by the pace of the game and the myriad defensive strategies UC employed to try to stop him.

"He was (the difference)," Maxiell said. "He made tough shots to put them up."

After the game, West walked into the interview room humming a happy tune. He smiled as he answered questions about his third win in four tries against the Bearcats.

He declined to take the bait when asked about Maxiell's assessment of him.

"We won," West said. "That's all I can say. We won."

UC led 6-4 on a Field Williams 3-pointer four minutes into the game before Romain Sato's trey sparked a run of 13 straight points that gave the Musketeers a 17-6 lead with 9:46 remaining in the first half. The Bearcats went 6:38 without scoring during that span.

From that point, UC (3-2) faced an uphill climb it was never able to complete, thanks to its woeful 30 percent shooting.

"We can't score," Bearcats coach Bob Huggins said. "I'm trying to find ways to score the ball."

XU (4-1) wasn't much better. The Musketeers made only 38.9 percent of their shots, and without West they shot 31.4 percent.

"I thought it was going to be a great defensive ballgame," XU coach Thad Matta said. "I think they're a great defensive team, and I think we're a good defensive team. I thought we were going to have to defend to win and we did."

. The Bearcats shot air balls, missed follow shots and generally flung the ball toward the goal with a hope and a prayer.

"I don't know how you win when you score 44 points," Huggins said. "I thought Field got good looks, and I don't know that we can get Max better shots than he got."

Williams was 4-for-16 from the field. Maxiell, who had 13 rebounds, was 4-for-10. Point guard Taron Barker was 0-for-6 and failed to score. Senior Leonard Stokes was 6-for-12, but scored just three points in the first half.

"We don't work on our shots as much as we should in practice," Maxiell said. "We work on defense. We need to get in the gym and work on our shots."

Stokes, UC's leading scorer at 15.8 points a game, was stymied in the first half by XU's big men and Romain Sato.

When UC freshman Armein Kirkland entered the game in the second half and forced the Musketeers to spread their defense to account for him, Stokes was able to maneuver for more shots. He finished with a team-high 13 points.

"Stokes is a good player," Sato said. "You have to do whatever it takes to limit his touches. All my teammates helped me guard him.''

Kirkland's presence in the second half and his flurry of shots at key junctures, indicated how desperate Huggins was to find a way to get the ball into the basket. The freshman had played only 13 minutes in UC's first four games.

He hit his first shot against the Musketeers with 14:50 left that started a UC comeback from a 33-22 deficit, but missed nine of his next 10.

UC went on to cut the lead to three with 2:03 remaining, but Xavier held on for the win.

It wasn't much to look at, but it was enough to put that big smile on West's face.

"I looked up at the score and I didn't realize the score was so little," West said. "Both teams were playing pretty good defense. We just continued to dig it out and grind it out. After the first five or six minutes of the game, we knew it was going to be a grind-it-out battle."



                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
R Sato              40  5-15   0-0   1-9   1   3   12
D West              34 10-19   2-2  0-10   2   3   23
A Myles             26   3-6   0-1   5-8   2   0    6
L Chalmers          40   2-7   0-0   1-2   4   3    5
D Finn              26   1-3   2-2   0-1   1   0    4
D Young             10   0-3   0-2   0-0   0   1    0
A Coleman            4   0-0   0-0   0-0   0   1    0
K Jackson            5   0-1   0-0   0-1   0   0    0
W Caudle            15   0-0   0-0   1-2   0   2    0
TOTALS             200 21-54  4-7   8-33  10  13   50

Percentages: FG-.389, FT-.571. 3-Point Goals:
4-23, .174 (R Sato 2-9, D West 1-4, L 
Chalmers 1-5, D Finn 0-2, D Young 0-3). Team 
Rebounds: 4. Blocked Shots: 3 (R Sato, D 
West, A Myles). Turnovers: 10 (A Myles 3, L 
Chalmers 2, R Sato 2, D West 2, W Caudle). 
Steals: 3 (D West 2, L Chalmers).


                          fg    ft    rb             
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t   a  pf   tp
L Stokes            40  6-12   1-2   2-3   0   2   13
J Maxiell           39  4-10   0-0  4-13   0   1    8
K Johnson           15   1-2   0-0   1-2   0   1    2
F Williams          35  4-16   0-1   1-2   0   4   12
T Barker            40   0-6   0-0   0-5   2   2    0
E Land               1   0-1   0-0   0-0   0   0    0
E Hicks              5   0-0   0-0   1-2   0   1    0
T Bobbitt            6   0-2   3-3   0-1   0   1    3
R Flowers            6   1-2   0-0   1-2   0   0    2
A Kirkland          13   2-9   0-0   2-5   3   3    4
TOTALS             200 18-60  4-6  12-35   5  15   44

Percentages: FG-.300, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals:
4-22, .182 (L Stokes 0-3, F Williams 4-13, T 
Barker 0-2, T Bobbitt 0-1, A Kirkland 0-3). 
Team Rebounds: 2. Blocked Shots: 1 (A 
Kirkland). Turnovers: 9 (J Maxiell 4, L 
Stokes, F Williams, K Johnson, T Bobbitt, T 
Barker). Steals: 3 (F Williams 2, T Barker).

XAVIER               25  25   -  50
CINCINNATI           20  24   -  44

Technical fouls: None. A: N/A. Officials: Donnie 
Gray, Frank Scagliotta, Jackie Sanders

No. 16 Xavier 50, Cincinnati 44
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