Wednesday, December 10, 1997
Swoon over Miami
Szczerbiak, RedHawks bounce No. 7 Xavier

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

miami
Miami's Wally Szczerbiak, who scored 29 points, whoops it up after fouling out in the final minute.
(AP photo)
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OXFORD - Miami played exactly the way Xavier wanted to play Tuesday night.

The RedHawks had a bounce in their step, patience, confidence and came up with an answer for everything.

They also came away with an 80-72 upset victory over the seventh-ranked Musketeers before 9,183 fans at Millett Hall. It was Miami's second victory ever over a top-10 team; the other was over No. 6 North Carolina in 1973.

The Musketeers trailed by 16 with 5:32 to play and battled to within 71-65 after an 11-1 run. The big shot down the stretch came when Miami ran down the shot clock to seven seconds and got a jumper from Wally Szczerbiak to make it 73-65 with 1:49 remaining.

Xavier could not get closer than six.

''I played Xavier nine times in my (playing) career at Miami,'' coach Charlie Coles said. ''It don't get no bigger than this.''

The celebrating began with 20.9 seconds left when Refiloe Lethunya went to the foul line. Szczerbiak started waving a white towel on the Miami bench. Coles was smiling.

The fans started chanting ''over-rated.''

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Szczerbiak shoots over Xavier's T.J. Johnson.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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When the final buzzer sounded, students swarmed the floor while the XU players, mostly looking away, walked quickly to their locker room. It was the second Miami victory over Xavier in three years, both at Millett Hall.

''It was pretty much the same (as two years ago),'' XU junior Lenny Brown said. ''They took us out of everything we tried to run.''

''Nothing is worse than everybody saying you're not as good as you think you are,'' XU guard Gary Lumpkin said. ''That hurts. It's also motivation.''

Xavier wanted Miami - specifically its leading scorers Szczerbiak (29.4 ppg) and Damon Frierson (23.8 ppg) - to work for every shot. But it was the RedHawks (5-1) who allowed nothing easily. Xavier (5-1) had to battle for each layup, each rebound, each loose ball. Often, it lost.

''I don't care what they're ranked, they're coming into our house where we've won (22) in a row,'' Szczerbiak said.

Szczerbiak fouled out with 42.2 seconds to go and left to a standing ovation after scoring 29 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Frierson finished with 23, and junior John Estick added 14 points and eight rebounds.

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Skip Prosser and the Xavier bench ponder their fate.
(AP photo)
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''We waited too long to match their intensity level,'' XU senior T.J. Johnson said. ''It's kind of an empty feeling. I don't think it puts a dent in our confidence level though.''

Brown led Xavier with 19 points and Lumpkin had 15, but the two guards were a combined 13-of-36 from the field. James Posey came off the bench for 17 points, 11 rebounds and four steals. XU hit just 40.6 from the field but had 24 offensive rebounds.

''We had the shots, we just didn't make them,'' junior Darnell Williams said.

Xavier, which had won its first five games by an average of 33.4 points while averaging 98.2 points, was held to 26 first-half points as the RedHawks built a 16-point lead.

''Miami played great; we didn't,'' Xavier coach Skip Prosser said. ''. . . We looked like we were running around like Bambi on ice when we stole the ball. We missed some shots we normally make and gave them the confidence early, and they never backed away from that.''

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John Estick celebrates a basket next to a dejected Darnell Williams.
(Steven M. Herppich photo)
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Xavier had concentrated in practice on contesting every shot by Szczerbiak, then watched as he shot one open jumper after another early. He had 18 points in the first half.

''Everybody tried a little of everything on him,'' Brown said.

With Frierson penetrating and Estick scoring down low, the RedHawks had a triple-threat that XU couldn't stop.

''They got all the loose balls, and most of the time when you get all the loose balls that means you're outscrapping the other team,'' Johnson said.

XU was turning the ball over, missing short jumpers and tips and unable to force many turnovers with its full-court pressure. The Musketeers shot just 38.5 percent in the first half, were outrebounded 18-14 and had 12 turnovers.

Then what hurt the Musketeers most: Opening the second half with four missed shots and a turnover.

''We can't let one game destroy our whole season,'' Brown said. ''We'd like to win every game, but it doesn't happen. Now we've just got to win the rest.''

Xavier not quite No. 1 Tim Sullivan column
Miami notes: Injured Mestas may red-shirt
Xavier notes: Lumpkin can't find range
AP voter sticks with Xavier

XAVIER (72)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
L Brown         39  8-21   1-1   4-4  4  2   19
Lumpkin         39  5-15   3-4   2-2  2  4   15
Johnson         29   2-3   2-4   1-3  0  4    6
Williams        31  4-11   0-1   4-5  4  5    8
Braggs          29   3-6   1-2  5-10  1  4    7
Kelsey           1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Mcafee           1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Payne            1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Posey           30  6-13   4-4  7-11  1  4   17
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 28-69 11-16 23-35 12 24   72
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.406, FT-.688. 3-Point Goals: 5-20, .250 (L Brown 2-6, Lumpkin 2-9, Williams 0-1, Posey 1-4). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 2 (Williams, L Brown). Turnovers: 19 (Braggs 5, L Brown 4, Posey 3, Williams 3, Johnson 2, Lumpkin 2). Steals: 10 (Posey 4, Johnson 2, Kelsey, L Brown, Lumpkin, Williams).

MIAMI (80) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Taylor 40 2-6 1-2 1-3 1 3 5 Lethunya 13 0-0 5-6 0-3 1 2 5 Frierson 37 5-12 10-14 0-1 3 2 23 Estick 37 6-9 2-3 6-8 2 3 14 Szczerbiak 32 11-15 4-5 0-4 2 5 29 Alexander 5 0-1 0-0 0-0 1 0 0 Locklier 3 0-0 0-0 1-1 0 2 0 Ensminger 33 1-4 2-2 0-6 0 2 4 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 25-47 24-32 8-26 10 19 80 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.532, FT-.750. 3-Point Goals: 6-9, .667 (Frierson 3-4, Szczerbiak 3-5). Team rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 1 (Ensminger). Turnovers: 19 (Taylor 5, Estick 4, Szczerbiak 4, Frierson 3, Lethunya 2, Alexander). Steals: 9 (Szczerbiak 5, Taylor 2, Ensminger, Frierson). __________________________________ Xavier 26 46 - 72 Miami 42 38 - 80 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. A: 9,183. Officials: Dan Fouser, Bernie Jenkins, Glenn Mayborg.