By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer
As the final buzzer sounded Saturday at Cintas Center, giving Saint Joseph's an 81-73 victory against Xavier University, a smattering of XU fans booed the Musketeers as they walked off the court.
The fans were upset that Xavier (9-6) gave up a 71-70 lead to the No. 6 team in the nation in the final three minutes of the game.
"The fans here should be embarrassed," Saint Joseph's coach Phil Martelli said. "To boo that team, after the maximum effort that those kids gave; that's unconscionable to be honest with you. To leave and not honor those two teams with an ovation at the end of the game: unconscionable. They should really be ashamed, and it's adults."
Martelli characterized the game as one of the toughest of the season for Saint Joseph's, which improved to 15-0. Because of the competitiveness of the game, he wasn't the only one upset with the boos.
"I thought it was absurd," XU athletic director Mike Bobinskisaid, adding it was only a small fraction of the fans booing. "It was an unbelievable college basketball game. Two individual performances by the Saint Joe's guys playing at the absolute highest level possible. ... We probably aren't going to win every one of them. To me, it's very disappointing. If they truly support the program, you support us at all times, not just when the going is good."
XU coach Thad Matta did not hear the boos, and neither did the players, Lionel Chalmers said.
RECORDS SET AND MISSED: Saint Joseph's guard Delonte West made all 12 of his field goal attempts, which set an Atlantic 10 record for consecutive field goals made in a game. His 33 points were also a career high.
"Coming into the game, it was a long night in the hotel," West said. "Because my last game here at Xavier, I had some big turnovers at the end of the game. ... So I just wanted to come out and play hard. At the end of the game, I didn't even notice that I actually shot that well."
XU senior Romain Sato entered the game having tied a school record with 31 consecutive free throws but missed his first and only free throw of the game.
NEXT UP: Xavier has 400 unclaimed tickets available for Wednesday's game against La Salle at Cintas Center. They are $19 and can be purchased at Ticketmaster or the Xavier ticket office.
The road ahead
Saturday's game against Saint Joseph's began a critical stretch for Xavier that ends with the Crosstown Shootout against Cincinnati Feb. 3. At 9-6 and 1-2 in the Atlantic 10, the Musketeers are in need of notable wins to compete for an NCAA Tournament at-large bid.
Here's a look at what's to come for Xavier, which on Friday was rated No. 82 in the ratings percentage index according to www.CollegeRPI.com
|Date|| Team|| Record|| RPI|
|Wed.|| vs. La Salle|| 7-9|| 185|
|Jan. 25|| vs. Richmond|| 9-8|| 59|
|Jan. 28|| at George Washington|| 10-6|| 84|
|Jan. 31|| at Dayton|| 14-3|| 54|
|Feb. 3|| vs. Cincinnati|| 13-0|| 10|
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