Sunday, January 4, 2004

Myles' best weapon is experience

Senior center dominates Alabama's big men in post

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Xavier center Anthony Myles watched Alabama's big men on tape this week. He saw they were long, athletic and as quick as anybody he'd played against this season.

Myles also knew this could be his game to control, because as talented as Alabama's big men are, they're also young and predictable.

So Myles, a senior, used that to his advantage Saturday in Xavier's 68-47 win over Alabama at Cintas Center. He hustled on defense, he hit jumpers on offense, and he even showed some athleticism of his own with a crafty spin move and layup that drew the loudest cheers of the afternoon from the sold-out crowd of 10,250.

Myles finished with a career-high 19 points, eight rebounds and two blocks.

Most important, Myles forced Alabama forward Chuck Davis out of his game. Davis came into the contest averaging nearly 12 points a game but finished with eight against Myles, who continually pushed him under the basket, where he was unable to score.

"The first time he scored on me, I wasn't playing (Davis) like I was supposed to," Myles said. "Once I stopped him from going baseline, he couldn't score."

Myles was an offensive rebounding specialist last season playing next to David West, but he had struggled to keep pace with quicker big men this season. Saturday's game was the first time he has outplayed his competition.

"This is what I thought Anthony was going to be," Xavier coach Thad Matta said, "as I thought about the team in the offseason."

TIME OFF: Saturday's win was important for Xavier, because the Musketeers did not want to wait eight days between games after a loss. Xavier doesn't play again until Jan. 11 in its Atlantic 10 Conference opener at Rhode Island.

Twice this season, Xavier has had layoffs of a week or more coming off losses. Xavier lost to Indiana on Nov. 29, then beat Miami Dec. 9. After losing at Mississippi State on Dec. 13, the Musketeers beat Louisiana-Lafayette Dec. 20.

"Honestly, for these next eight days, this leaves a lot better taste in your mouth than had you lost a game," Matta said.

CHALMERS MAKING PLAYS: Senior guard Lionel Chalmers is beginning to play with more restraint.

In Xavier's last two games, Chalmers has recorded 11 assists with just one turnover and now has more assists (39) than turnovers (31).



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