Wednesday, February 4, 2004

Xavier shocks UC

Chalmers knocks down shot, knocks out UC

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

More than any other Xavier University player, Lionel Chalmers has taken the heat for the Musketeers' supbar season.

XU fans said he dribbled too much, that he took bad shots with the game on the line.


18 Photos of the Shootout
But Tuesday night, the 6-foot senior guard from Albany, N.Y., finally might have dribbled his way into the hearts of the Musketeer faithful when he hit the game-winning shot with 27 seconds left to give the Musketeers a 71-69 victory over the University of Cincinnati in the 71st Crosstown Shootout before 10,250 fans at Cintas Center.

"If that doesn't do it, I don't know what will," Chalmers said.

The win was the fourth in the last five games in this rivalry for XU (11-9) and its sixth in the last eight vs. UC. It also ended a three-game losing streak for the Musketeers, who beat a top-10 team for the first time in five tries under head coach Thad Matta.

"Emotionally, this is a big win for this team," Matta said. "I know for myself it will be a little easier for the next 365 days."

Tenth-ranked UC (15-3) lost for the third time in five games since beginning the season with 13 straight wins. UC coach Bob Huggins is now 7-8 vs. Xavier.

"People have a hard time handling success," Huggins said. "We have not handled it very well."

The Musketeers trailed 69-68 after a pair of Jason Maxiell free throws with 56.5 seconds left.

Chalmers took control of the ball and did the one thing he's most criticized for: He dribbled.

But this time, he dribbled his way into enough of an opening to launch an 18-foot fadeaway jump shot that went in and gave XU the lead for good at 70-69.

"We came out of a timeout and ran one-flat," Chalmers said. "Usually, I have the option to drive if it's there. If it's not, I look for the guy rolling up, which was (Romain) Sato this time. He's usually open on that, but I saw a guy on him. I had an opportunity. I created some space and knocked it down."

Chalmers led XU with 20 points. Sato had 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Musketeers.

Tony Bobbitt scored 17 points to lead UC. Maxiell had 15 points and seven rebounds. Forward Eric Hicks scored 10 points, pulled down nine rebounds and blocked a career-high eight shots.

UC had a chance to pull the game out in the closing seconds. Huggins called a timeout with 18.5 seconds to go, and the Bearcats looked for Maxiell down low.

But XU's Anthony Myles had Maxiell bottled up, forcing him away from the basket.

With nowhere to go, UC point guard Nick Williams tried to throw a pass to Armein Kirkland on the right wing but threw the ball over Kirkland's head and out of bounds with 4.9 seconds left.

Williams, who scored 14 points, declined to be interviewed.

A Sato free throw with 2.2 seconds left on an intentional foul by Kirkland accounted for the final score and prevented UC from gaining another possession.

"I knew they wanted to go to Maxiell," Myles said of UC's final possession. "I forced him high. The more I forced him high, the more they didn't want to give it to him. When they didn't throw it to him, they didn't know what to do."

UC led by 11 with 7:43 left in the first half, but when Maxiell went to the bench with his second foul, XU rallied to take a 37-32 halftime lead.

UC offered only token full-court pressure for most of the game, trapping the Muskies only after they passed mid-court. But Huggins said that wasn't by design.

"I didn't call it off," Huggins said. "They did. I kept asking the same thing."

The Bearcats came back early in the second half to take the lead, going up by four on a Bobbitt trey with 15:42 to go, and led by five with 4:15 left, but were unable to close the deal.

"It's kind of disappointing when you know you've got it and let it slip away when you fall asleep," Bobbitt said.



F. Williams23140020233
N. Williams335800132314
Team rebounds - 3.

Team rebounds - 3.

Cincinnati3237- 69
Xavier3734- 71
3-pointers - Cincinnati 10-19 (White 0-1, F. Williams 1-3, N. Williams 4-6, Bobbitt 5-9), Xavier 6-18 (Doellman 1-6, Chalmers 3-6, Sato 1-3, Finn 1-3). Technicals - None. Officials - Jim Burr, Bob Donato, Frank Scagliotta. Attendance - 10,250.

Xavier shocks UC
18 Photos of the Shootout
Daugherty: Chalmers delivers in the clutch
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Hicks' effort not enough
Musketeers come through this time
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