Monday, January 04, 1999

XAVIER 87, RHODE ISLAND 83


Little men have big day

BY MICHAEL PERRY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[brown and mcafee]
Lenny Brown (front) and Maurice McAfee celebrate a Brown three-pointer.
(Michael E/ Keating photo)

| ZOOM |
        Xavier's backcourt won the game Sunday. It had to.

        Rhode Island dominated the Musketeers close to the basket, which was exactly what the XU coaches feared.

        But senior guard Lenny Brown came through with a career-high 31 points, and sophomore reserve guard Maurice McAfee added 18 points and a career-high 10 assists to help the Musketeers rally from an 11-point second-half deficit.

        It ended Xavier 87, Rhode Island 83, even though the Rams finished with a 43-29 rebounding advantage and their starting front line outscored XU's 45-18.

        At 6-foot-10, Obi Harris and Reggie Butler are the tallest Musketeers; they totaled four rebounds in a combined 29 minutes.

        “I'm concerned about it, but there's probably not a whole heck of a lot I can do about it right now,” Xavier coach Skip Prosser said. “We can't sit here and cry and make excuses. Somehow we found a way to win, and I'll take it.”

[brown]
Brown scored 16 of Xavier's 17 points during one stretch.
(Michael E/ Keating photo)

| ZOOM |
        The Musketeers (9-4) won their fourth in a row and started Atlantic 10 Conference play 1-0.

        Rhode Island (7-7, 0-1) was ahead 58-48 with 12:44 left, then went almost 81/2 minutes without a field goal. During that span, the Musketeers went on a 26-7 run — mostly with senior James Posey on the bench with four fouls.

        It was Brown who took over. In a span of 2:20, he made four three-pointers, including three in a row. He scored 16 of Xavier's 17 points during one stretch and single-handedly shot the Musketeers back into the game.

        “I was thinking about how much time we had left and the hill we had to climb, and I knew if we waited any longer, the hole would've been too deep,” Brown said.

        “I was like, "Let's go at it one hard time. If I shoot it every time, fine. If not, let me get a steal. Anything. For maybe two or three minutes, let's get a spurt and see if the game changes.' That's what I tried to do.”

        Said Prosser: “I think that's what the great ones do, and I implore him to do it often. The other kids see it, too. When he does that, that permeates throughout the whole team ... He really gives us courage.”

[posey]
James Posey starts the game with a breakway dunk.
(Michael E/ Keating photo)

| ZOOM |
        Xavier had a season-high 11 three-pointers — one shy of the school record.

        Brown finished with his highest scoring total in almost three years. He was 7-of-8 from the field in the second half and totaled five three-pointers for the third time this season.

        “He's playing out of his mind right now,” teammate Gary Lumpkin said. “I hope he doesn't come out of it.”

        “Everybody in the arena knew he was hot,” Posey said. “He was our horse, and we were on his back.”

        “He was knocking down the shots, and that just opened everything else up,” McAfee said.

        He should know. It was McAfee's three-pointer — his fourth of the day — with 9:48 to go that put the Musketeers ahead 61-60. They would not trail again.

        Preston Murphy hit one of two free throws to tie it, then XU scored seven consecutive points to make it 68-61 with 7:19 remaining. McAfee scored nine points in the final 10 minutes.

[mcafee]
McAfee guards Antonio Reynolds-Dean.
(AP photo)

| ZOOM |
        He also played excellent defense against Murphy, URI's point guard and a fellow Saginaw, Mich., native, and had perhaps his best overall game at Xavier. In 25 minutes, McAfee had no turnovers.

        “I had it going today, and I'm thankful,” McAfee said. “Defense gets me going. If I can get in and disrupt the point guard in any kind of way ...”

        “He was magnificent,” Rhode Island coach Jim Harrick said.

        “If he wasn't, then we don't win the game,” Prosser said.

        Posey added 13 points and seven rebounds, and Lumpkin had 11 points.

        Xavier had only 12 turnovers and forced 20. Prosser used one lineup with two centers (Harris and Butler) and one with three guards (Brown, Lumpkin and McAfee).

        “Rabbits out of the hat trying to get us the W.” Prosser said. “We were a veritable potpourri because of foul trouble and because of the pace of the game.”

[bench]
Bench celebrates in the closing moments.
(Michael E. Keating photo)

| ZOOM |
        Xavier had won three in a row by 30, 45 and 23 points, but was eager to see what it would do against a better opponent.

        “I knew we hadn't played the Lakers, the Knicks and the Bulls,” Prosser said. “We knew it was a whole different deal.”

        Rhode Island, which has been on the road since Dec. 26, had six players score in double figures, led by Luther Clay with 16 points and Lamar Odom with 15.

        “That was a great show, huh?” Prosser said. “I wish I could've watched that in the comfort of my living room.”

       XU NOTEBOOK


RHODE ISLAND (83)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Odom            38  6-12   3-3  3-11  5  4   15
Reynolds-dean   36   5-9   4-4   2-7  5  3   14
Clay            35  6-14   4-6   2-6  0  3   16
Bell            16   6-6   2-2   4-5  1  5   14
Murphy          39  4-10   1-4   0-2  9  1   10
Jefferson       12   1-2   0-0   0-2  1  5    3
Brown           19   4-9   3-6   4-7  0  0   11
Vinson           5   0-1   0-0   0-0  1  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 32-63 17-25 15-40 22 22   83
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.508, FT-.680. 3-Point Goals:
2-11, .182 (Odom 0-1, Reynolds-dean 0-2, Murphy
1-6, Jefferson 1-1, Vinson 0-1). Team rebounds:
3. Blocked shots: 5 (Reynolds-dean 2, Clay 2,
Brown). Turnovers: 20 (Bell 5, Odom 4, Murphy 3,
Reynolds-dean 3, Brown 2, Jefferson 2, Clay).
Steals: 6 (Odom 2, Clay, Murphy, Reynolds-dean,
Vinson).


XAVIER (87)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Frey            23   1-2   3-4   2-3  0  4    5
Posey           33  5-13   3-4   3-7  2  4   13
Harris          15   0-1   0-0   0-1  2  3    0
L Brown         38  9-16   8-8   1-5  2  4   31
Lumpkin         33   3-9   3-4   0-2  2  1   11
Mcafee          25  6-10   2-2   0-1 10  3   18
Price           19  4-12   1-2   3-5  1  3    9
Butler          14   0-1   0-0   0-3  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 28-64 20-24  9-27 19 22   87
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.438, FT-.833. 3-Point Goals:
11-25, .440 (Posey 0-1, L Brown 5-10, Lumpkin
2-6, Mcafee 4-6, Price 0-2). Team rebounds: 2.
Blocked shots: 2 (Frey, Harris). Turnovers: 12 (L
Brown 3, Lumpkin 3, Harris 2, Price 2, Frey,
Posey). Steals: 9 (Price 5, L Brown 3, Posey).
__________________________________
Rhode Island       39   44  -   83
Xavier             37   50  -   87
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 10,100. Officials:
Mike Sanzere, Tim Higgins, John Cahill.

REDS NOTEBOOK
Young slims down, hopes to power up
UC, Marquette take a snow day
Win or lose, this story has happy ending
FREDERICTON 3, MIGHTY DUCKS 2
HOCKEY NOTES
No. 1 for the taking
SPORTS ON TV-RADIO

SEASON IN STORIES