PITTSBURGH 94, XU 76
Muskies outpsyched, outgunned

Friday, November 27, 1998

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[mcafee]
Maurice McAfee hounds Pitt's Jarret Lockhart.
(AP photo)

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SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - James Posey noticed it as soon as he laid eyes on the University of Pittsburgh players. They were loose. They looked confident.

"We saw their energy as soon as they walked in the building, and we never matched it," the Xavier senior said. "They were looking us in the eye, and they had us beat right there. Then they came out and gave it to us."

And how.

Pitt walloped the 13th-ranked Musketeers 94-76 in the first round of the Puerto Rico Shootout on Thursday.

The Panthers (5-0) hit XU with a combination of inside strength and athleticism and a lethal outside threat. XU's last lead was at 35-34, and Pitt finished the first half with a 13-3 run for a nine-point lead.

"The main thing is they were just more aggressive than we were," XU senior Lenny Brown said. "They just had a lot of fire. They came out and made a lot of shots, and we couldn't get anything going with our offense."

[frey]
Two Pitt defenders close in on Kevin Frey.
(AP photo)

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Said senior Gary Lumpkin: "It's not that I worry about rankings, but if we're the 10th-ranked team (by USA Today coaches' poll) in the country, why shouldn't we come out playing with enthusiasm and playing like we're emotional?

"I was trying to get the team pumped up and it just wasn't happening. I don't know what to attribute that to."

Pittsburgh showed no fear. Not of Xavier's full-court press. Not of the inside defense. Not of the perimeter attack.

Forward Attila Cosby, who sprained his ankle three minutes into Monday night's game against Texas Pan-Am and could barely walk Tuesday, went for a career-high 25 points and 12 rebounds. Center Isaac Hawkins added 19 points and 12 rebounds, and point guard Vonteego Cummings scored 24.

XU tried using everyone in defending Cummings. Posey. Lumpkin. Brown. Maurice McAfee. Lloyd Price. Nothing worked.

"He controlled the game," XU coach Skip Prosser said. "He played the way a senior veteran point guard is to play.

"Obviously they cleaned our clock inside. Their post guys annihilated us. I'm not going to make any excuses. We're less experienced in the post than they are. But give them credit; they made the plays."

XU vs. COLORADO
  • When: 4 p.m. today
  • Where: American U. of Puerto Rico (2,500)
  • Records: XU 3-1,
  • Colorado 4-1
  • TV: None
  • Radio: WLW-AM (700)
  • BY THE NUMBERS
  • 2-for-28: Colorado's three-point shooting Thursday against Kentucky
  • 5-for-28: Xavier's three-point shooting Thursday against Pittsburgh
  • 1-for-18: Gary Lumpkin's season three-point shooting
  • The Panthers kept pouring it on in the second half. No let-up. Xavier (3-1) couldn't get closer than eight. It had chances, but every time the Musketeers made a defensive stop, they either threw the ball away, missed a jump shot or got fouled and missed free throws. XU couldn't hit layups, putbacks or from long range.

    Brown was 2-of-13 from the field. Lumpkin was 7-of-18 but just 1-of-7 from three-point range. He scored a team-high 17. Posey, who came into the game perfect from the foul line, missed five free throws in the second half.

    "I feel terrible," Posey said. "I didn't step up like I was supposed to. I let my team down. I've just got to bounce back and make sure it doesn't happen again."

    It was XU's worst loss in three years, since Ohio University won 103-72 easily in the 1995-96 season.

    Posey and Price each scored 15 points. Posey had a team-high eight rebounds. As a team, Xavier shot 7 percent from three-point range in the second half and was outrebounded 48-37.

    "We work on these things in practice, the little things like boxing out, locating shooters, transition," Posey said. "We beat ourselves. It hurts real bad. We've just got to go back to practice and work on it and carry it over to the games.

    "They're a damn good team. They've got great players all around. They took us out of the things we wanted to do."

    The Musketeers were not surprised at how well Pitt played. What is surprising is that a team with three veteran seniors would allow another team to show more intensity and not battle back.

    XU's experienced players did not make the big plays Thursday. "You've got to fight fire with fire," Prosser said. "We have a lot of work to do. Yeah, it is frustrating, but that's why we're here. We've got to get better. A lot better."

    Instead of a date today with No. 4 Kentucky, the Musketeers will face Colorado at 4 p.m.

    "You take a risk when you come to something like this and play against good teams," Prosser said. "But at the time I thought it was a risk worth taking. And we found out some things tonight that we have to improve on in 24 hours."

    Said Lumpkin: "The good thing about this tournament is you get the next day to revive yourself."

    Notebook: UK? Que sera sera
    Season in stories

    
    PITTSBURGH (94)
                          fg    ft    rb
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
    Cosby           32  8-13  7-10  3-12  0  3   23
    Hawkins         34  7-11   5-7  2-12  1  5   19
    Cummings        35 11-16   0-2   2-7  4  3   24
    Taylor          19   2-2   1-2   0-3  1  4    6
    Greer           28   1-5   2-5   2-3  1  4    4
    Lockhart        26   4-7   4-6   1-5  1  3   15
    Seabrooks        8   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
    Primus          13   1-3   0-0   0-1  1  1    3
    Holmes           4   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
    Flores           1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
    _______________________________________________
    TOTALS         200 34-59 19-32 10-43  9 25   94
    _______________________________________________
    
    
    Percentages: FG-.576, FT-.594. 3-Point Goals:
    7-12, .583 (Cummings 2-3, Taylor 1-1, Lockhart
    3-5, Primus 1-3). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked
    shots: 5 (Greer 2, Cosby, Hawkins, Cummings).
    Turnovers: 22 (Cummings 5, Lockhart 4, Hawkins 3,
    Taylor 3, Greer 2, Holmes 2, Seabrooks 2,
    Primus). Steals: 15 (Cosby 3, Greer 3, Cummings
    2, Hawkins 2, Lockhart 2, Taylor 2, Primus).
    
    
    XAVIER (76)
                          fg    ft    rb
                   min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
    Posey           35   3-8  5-10   3-8  1  3   13
    Butler          13   3-3   2-3   2-5  0  3    8
    L Brown         33  2-13   0-0   0-2  0  5    5
    Lumpkin         37  7-18   2-5   0-0  3  3   17
    Price           32  5-10   7-9   2-3  3  4   17
    Walker          24   1-4   5-7   1-5  1  2    7
    Mcafee          13   2-7   0-0   0-0  0  3    5
    Frey             8   1-1   0-0   0-1  0  2    2
    A Brown          5   1-4   0-0   1-1  0  1    2
    _______________________________________________
    TOTALS         200 25-68 21-34  9-25  8 26   76
    _______________________________________________
    
    
    Percentages: FG-.368, FT-.618. 3-Point Goals:
    5-28, .179 (Posey 2-4, L Brown 1-6, Lumpkin 1-7,
    Price 0-3, Walker 0-2, Mcafee 1-4, A Brown 0-2).
    Team rebounds: 12. Blocked shots: 4 (Price 2,
    Posey, Walker). Turnovers: 21 (Butler 4, L Brown
    3, Mcafee 3, Posey 3, Price 3, A Brown, Frey,
    Lumpkin, Walker). Steals: 10 (Price 3, Lumpkin 2,
    Posey 2, Butler, L Brown, Mcafee).
    __________________________________
    Pittsburgh         47   47  -   94
    Xavier             38   38  -   76
    __________________________________