By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
STARKVILLE, Miss. - Xavier has only itself to blame today after losing its third game in four outings Saturday night.
The Musketeers (4-3) found yet another way to lose on the road against a major conference team. This time, the opponent was Mississippi State, but the result was no different than usual in an 82-70 loss in front of 6,643 at Humphrey Coliseum. The Musketeers haven't beaten a Southeastern Conference team since 1997 and haven't won on the road against a major conference team since 1999.
Xavier guard Dedrick Finn, center, gets trapped between Mississippi State defenders Lincoln Smith, left, and Gary Ervin in the second half.
Xavier played well enough to stay in the game until the final four minutes thanks to a 43.3 percent shooting performance. But turnovers cost the Musketeers, who were careless with the ball on the perimeter. Xavier committed 20 turnovers and recorded only 10 assists. The Musketeers now have 90 turnovers for the season and 77 assists.
Starting guards Lionel Chalmers and Dedrick Finn combined for 10 of the team's turnovers, which led to 24 Mississippi State points in all.
"Unfortunately, we didn't take care of the basketball," Xavier coach Thad Matta said. "When you look at (Timmy) Bowers and (Winsome) Frazier, they make some of the most incredible steals that you've ever seen. We weren't strong enough in running the leads we needed to get into our offense. Especially early on in the second half."
Xavier committed three turnovers in its first four second-half possessions, two throw-aways by Finn, and fell behind 47-36.
Mississippi State's Lawrence Roberts (4) drives to the basket around Xavier forward Justin Doellman.
Xavier shot itself back into the game, and trailed 60-57 with 6:46 left, but Mississippi State (7-0) scored 11 of the next 13 points and led 71-59 when Bowers stole a pass at midcourt and raced in for a layup with 3:53 to go.
"When we defend and play as hard as we played out there, it makes the offense come easy for you sometimes," said Mississippi State coach Rick Stansbury. "You get so many easy baskets off of transition."
Xavier scored 12 points off turnovers, half as many as Mississippi State got. The Bulldogs scored 15 fast-break points to Xavier's two.
Instead, the Musketeers relied on their 3-point shooting to stay in the game.
Xavier shot a season-high 28 3-pointers, and made 10 of them, also a season-high. It wasn't Xavier's game plan coming in to shoot so many 3s, but Matta said it had a lot to do with Mississippi State's size advantage inside.
Chalmers led Xavier with 24 points on 4-of-8 3s, and Finn made 4-of-12 3s and finished with 20 points.
But All-American candidate Romain Satohit just one 3-pointer and scored seven points.
"We need for Romain to score for us and to look for his shots," Matta said. "I want him to shoot the ball. We've got to get him out of this. When he starts playing, we're a better basketball team."
Team rebounds - 3
Team rebounds - 0.
3-pointers - XU 10-28 (Chalmers 4-8, Sato 1-4, Finn 4-12, Cage 0-2, Doellman 1-2), MS 6-15 (Roberts 0-1, Bowers 3-6, Frazier 1-3, Ervin 0-1, Power 2-4). Officials - Lopes, Poole, Jones. Attendance - 6,643.
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