BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
Xavier's first preseason exhibition game Wednesday night had few surprises.
Senior James Posey looked every bit as good as he has all fall. Freshman Lloyd Price had a solid debut. And Xavier's defense was at times in disarray, which was somewhat to be expected with so many new and inexperienced players.
The game was not what you would call competitive. XU defeated BC Danone Honved of Hungary 88-62, but it wasn't close most of the way.
And the score really wasn't the point. The Musketeers needed to play another team.
"I think we were just happy to see some new faces and bang with some new bodies," Posey said. "A lot of guys were anxious and nervous, so we were rushing things early."
Xavier has offensive talent. Five players scored in double figures, which is often the norm for the Musketeers.
But Hungary beat XU down the court in transition numerous times for easy shots. Sometimes it was poor reaction. Sometimes newer players simply weren't in the right places in the press.
"They had too many layups," Posey said. "That's just something we have to get better at. You've got to learn coach's system, and if you don't then you won't play."
Posey had 13 of his team-high 21 points in the first half. He was 10-of-17 from the field, and also finished with nine rebounds and four steals.
Posey hit a wide-open three-pointer with 14 seconds to go in the first half, then Price stole the ball and went in for a layup with 2.6 seconds left.
It was 51-27 at intermission.
"Posey was exceptional," ailing coach Skip Prosser said.
Price was just a couple notches behind that. He had 13 points, five steals, five rebounds and four assists. He was 5-of-6 from the field in the first half and showed off his array of talents.
He scored on a short bank shot within 23 seconds of entering the game. Within the next two minutes, he stole the ball and went in for a dunk and went up high and dunked in a missed shot coming off the basket.
Before the half was over, the highly touted freshman had blocked two shots, collected four steals and scored 10 points. He saved one loose rebound by chasing it down and throwing it off an opponent as he fell out of bounds and jumped the chain in front of the seats.
"I was thinking defense turns into offense," he said of when he entered the game. "I shied away from my (jumper) a lot ... I tried to play defense. I didn't use that much. I'll bring the other parts of my game next time."
The surprise performance of the night probably came from redshirt freshman Alvin Brown, who sat out last year with a broken left wrist. Brown played 28 minutes, largely because starting shooting guard Lenny Brown injured his left foot early in the game.
Alvin Brown scored nine points in the first half and finished with 15.
Brown has shot the ball pretty well most of the preseason. It is
his defense that could limit his playing time.
"I was expecting to be able to come into the game and give a spark to the team regardless (of Lenny Brown's injury)," Alvin said.
"I work on my shot every day, before or after practice or in individual instruction. It feels good. It was a confidence builder. I still forced a couple of shots, and in the press I need to work a little bit harder."
"I thought he played well," Prosser said. "He needs to guard people and he needs to rebound a little."
Freshman Kevin Frey came off the bench for 12 points, five rebounds, two steals and a blocked shot. He also had two turnovers. Senior Gary Lumpkin had 10 points, seven assists and only two turnovers, but he was 0-of-5 from three-point range.
Xavier started Lumpkin, Lenny Brown, Posey, Butler and junior Desmond Walker. Eight players played at least 16 minutes, and seven played more than 20.
"Part of playing a game like this is to play a lot of people, then watch the tape and evaluate," Prosser said.
"(There are) a lot of things that need work, but most of them are correctible. Our halfcourt defense has got to get a lot better and our decision-making in the press has to get better."