Saturday, December 21, 2002

Xavier 87, Ball State 58

West rides bench, runs roughshod

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Xavier's David West has a little fun on the bench in the final minutes of the game against Ball State.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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Perhaps Xavier All-American David West might want to sit for 15 minutes in the first half of every game. "Naw, I ain't doing that," West said after scoring 20 second-half points Friday night as No. 21 Xavier defeated Ball State 87-58 at a sold-out Cintas Center.

An emotionally charged West played almost perfectly and scored the first 12 Xavier points in the second half after sitting much of the first half because of two quick fouls, the second of which was an offensive charge drawn by Ball State's Kevin Cates.

West knew he was going to the bench after the foul was called, and appeared upset that it went against him.

"Usually when you get a charge, the guy is right in front of you," West said. "He was kind of to my side, and I guess my shoulder hit him."

West didn't seem bothered by foul trouble at all in the second half, as Xavier players looked for him nearly every possession that he was in the game. West's efforts led to Xavier shooting 67 percent in the second half.

Xavier's Dedrick Finn tangles with Ball State's Chris Williams in the first half.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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"You've got to get (the ball) to him to get him going," said Lionel Chalmers who scored 10 points and had nine assists. Several of those assists were to West, who finished with 24 points on 10-of-11 shooting and 4-of-4 from the foul line. His only miss came in the first half.

"I don't think I've sat that much since my freshman year," West said. "It's all about rhythm. And I was fresh. I barely broke a sweat in the first half. And I came out fresh in the second half."

Xavier coach Thad Matta said he walked into the locker room at halftime and saw West exercising with a jump rope to get energized.

With West on the bench in the first half, Ball State scored six straight points and took an 11-8 lead. But Xavier (6-2) maintained its composure and eventually pulled ahead at the half, 31-27.

Xavier center Anthony Myles also picked up two first-half fouls, forcing Matta to put in seldom-used freshman Angelo Smith for 13 first-half minutes. Smith grabbed five rebounds in the half, four of them offensive boards.

"I had been looking to put Angelo in earlier," Matta said. "He's done a tremendous job in practice."

Backup center Will Caudle also stepped up and scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting.

"He did a good job of being in the right place at the right time," Matta said. "He was able to finish tonight."

Xavier looked to junior Romain Sato for offense while West was out of the game, but Sato remained in a shooting slump that has hampered him for the last five games. Friday he scored eight points but shot 2-of-15 from the field.

"He had some great looks," Matta said. "I know once he knocks one down, he's going to take off."

Dave Young, who has gone from starter to a role player off the bench, scored seven first-half points for XU, four on transition layups. His two layups marked both ends of a 5:10 period when Xavier went without a field goal. Young finished with nine points.

Xavier coach Thad Matta has a talk with Keith Jackson after Jackson's flubbed showboat attempt at dunking off the backboard.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
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Xavier coasted to the win late in the second half, and sophomore guard Keith Jackson attempted to dunk the ball on a fast break by bouncing it off the backboard first. He missed, but the move was not well received by the Ball State (5-4) bench.

In the final seconds, freshman Dedrick Finn poked the ball away from BSU's Chris Williams and went in for a layup only to be tackled by Williams, who led Ball State with 24 points.

"I don't know if I've ever seen someone try to steal the ball with .6 seconds left," said Ball State coach Tim Buckley.

Xavier coach Thad Matta said Finn probably should have just let the clock run out, but that the incident might have occurred because of the intense play throughout the game.

Eiser honored

Xavier sports information director Tom Eiser, in his 17th season at that position, worked his 500th consecutive game Friday.

Before the game, local media presented Eiser with a plaque in the media room. He later received a plaque from Xavier athletics director Mike Bobinski during a first-half timeout.

"I don't know if you could find a person more committed to an institution than Tom is to Xavier," Bobinski said. "I hope there's 500 more. That's a long time, and I'm very much appreciative of him."

By contrast, Bobinski has been at Xavier since 1998, a span of 138 games.

Eiser, a 1984 XU graduate, has worked for three coaches, Pete Gillen, Skip Prosser and Thad Matta. Gillen coached 277 games at Xavier from 1985-94, the most of any Xavier coach.

Game Stats

Team rebounds: 1

Team rebounds: 2.

Ball State2731-58
Attendance-10,250. 3-point goals-Ball State 2-13 (McCollom 0-4, Williams 2-7, Owens 0-1, Farris 0-1); Xavier 3-14 (Sato 0-7, Chalmers 1-2, Finn 1-2, Young 1-3). Technical fouls-Ball State bench (1). Officials-Bush, Kitts, Donato.

Next for Xavier

XU at Siena

When: 7 p.m. Monday.

TV: None.

Radio: WLW-AM (700).

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