Tuesday, December 10, 2002

Xavier 68, Miami 58

West gets 49th career double-double

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Xavier coach Thad Matta yells to his team.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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Without a handshake controversy or pregame hypefest, Xavier defeated another rival Monday night in a defense-dominated contest.

Two days after beating crosstown rival Cincinnati, the 13th-ranked Musketeers weathered a stingy Miami defense and played enough defense of their own to win 68-58 at sold-out Cintas Center.

Xavier (5-1) now has four days off before playing No. 24 Mississippi State on Saturday in New York. In a stretch of four games that began Dec. 3 against Purdue and ends Saturday, the Musketeers are 3-0 so far. With Monday's win, Xavier moved to 5-1 on the season.

"We need the rest," said David West, Xavier's All-American forward. "I need it."

West, who had 23 points and 10 rebounds against UC, recorded his 49th career double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds against Miami, including 8-11 from the free throw line. As a team, Xavier made 23 of 30 foul shots, but West said the Musketeers should have gotten a lot more attempts.

Xavier's Keith Jackson misses the second of two back-to-back slam dunk misses by Xavier players in the second half.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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"We shot 30. We should have shot 60," West said. "I was getting hit on every shot. I just had to stay aggressive and take the fouls."

Miami coach Charlie Coles said part of the plan was to make it hard for West to get shots off.

"Yeah, I guess we were (fouling him)," Coles said. "Does West want to be an All-American? You have to work for everything, David. And I think he did work for everything he got."

Miami, known for its slow-paced style and long possessions this season, trimmed a 13-point Xavier halftime lead to 54-53 with 5:07 left in the game when the RedHawks' Chet Mason tipped in an offensive rebound for two of his game-high 19 points. But Xavier didn't let Miami score for the next seven possessions, and the Musketeers increased their lead by making foul shots during the same period.

Xavier's Will Caudle is fouled by Miami's Josh Hausfeld.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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Miami's defense, which had held teams to 54.8 points per game, stopped Xavier for a four-minute stretch midway through the second half that allowed the RedHawks back into the game. Xavier shooting guard Lionel Chalmers, who finished with 18 points, said it might have been Miami's offense that had more to do with slowing Xavier.

"It was a little bit tough to get a rhythm going," Chalmers said. The RedHawks held the ball on offense, sometimes working the 35-second shot clock to the end.

"I know our guys don't like to play defense that much," Matta said.

Xavier players admitted they didn't give Miami enough respect after Xavier went on a 15-0 run to take a 17-7 first-half lead. Chalmers said Xavier never lost control of the game, but he wasn't happy that the Musketeers let Miami back into the game in the second half.

"When we opened up the lead, we let our guard down," Chalmers said. "We didn't respect them enough and underestimated them. We just had to regroup and get it right."

David West comes down with an offensive rebound with Miami's Chet Mason battling him.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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Keith Jackson gave XU a 61-53 lead after a jumper from the elbow with 2:06 left. But the Musketeers could have put the game out of reach a lot sooner had they converted their dunks. West and Jackson missed dunks on consecutive possessions with six minutes left in the game and Xavier leading 54-51.

"The bad thing is, I'm not capable of working with those guys on that shot," Matta joked.

Romain Sato scored 11 points, five from the foul line. After scoring 23 points in the season opener against St. Peters, Sato has scored 10, 12 and 11 in Xavier's last three games, dropping his average to 14.5.

West moved into the 10th spot on Xavier's all-time scoring list with 1,606 career points. He needs 36 points to tie Bob Quick for ninth place.


Team rebounds: 6

Team rebounds: 3

Attendance-10,250. 3-point goals-Miami 7-18 (Reed 0-1, Horace 1-4, Mason 1-3, Johnson 2-3, Seals 1-2, Schenke 2-5); Xavier 1-7 (Sato 0-2, Chalmers 0-3, Finn 1-2). Technical fouls-None. Officials-Roberts, Mayborg, LaRocca.

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