Sunday, March 14, 2004

Finn's role this day is hero


Starter-turned-sub comes up with key shots in title game

By Dustin Dow
The Cincinnati Enquirer

DAYTON, Ohio - Xavier guard Dedrick Finn has gone from starter to role player during the second half of the season, but he made two of Xavier's biggest shots Saturday night.

[img]
Xavier guard Dedrick Finn hushes the crowd at Dayton's UD Arena.
(Craig Ruttle photo)
In Xavier's 58-49 Atlantic 10 championship win against Dayton, Finn gave Xavier its first and final lead in the second half with a gutsy step-back jumper in the lane. With the shot clock winding down, Finn penetrated, jump-stopped and released the shot over Dayton's big men, Sean Finn and Keith Waleskowski. It fell through and put Xavier up for good 49-47 with 3:34 left.

"The shot clock got low," Finn said, "and I just wanted to go in there and make something happen."

Dayton coach Brian Gregory sensed the shot's importance because the score had been tied for a couple minutes.

"That was a big basket he made, and he's made some big baskets over his career," Gregory said. "I thought we forced him into a tough shot, but what ends up happening, though, is that you put so much pressure on your defense to keep getting stops. Eventually what ended up happening was they hit a shot before we did."

Finn's other crucial basket came at the end of the first half. Waleskowski put back an offensive rebound with 10 seconds left that gave Dayton a 27-25 lead. Finn raced to the other end of the court and threw up a fade away jumper from the baseline at the buzzer, tying the score at 27-27.

WE'VE GOT SPIRIT, HOW ABOUT YOU? The matchup of two regional rivals produced a sellout crowd of 13,133 at UD Arena.

Most of them were Dayton fans, but several thousand were Xavier fans, which created a raucous atmosphere after every basket.

"Their fans are tremendous and knowledgeable of the game," Xavier coach Thad Matta said of UD's fans. "They love their Flyers. And I'm also grateful for our fans, our people did a tremendous job as well tonight."

The average attendance of 10,661 for the six sessions set an Atlantic 10 record.

IN OR OUT? Gregory said that despite the loss, he feels confident Dayton will receive an at-large NCAA Tournament bid today.

"I would think that we're in," Gregory said. "Nothing's for sure, but at 24-8 and winning the (A-10) West when all four teams in the semifinals were from the West. We were 8-2 in the West, and Xavier just won the league."

Atlantic 10 Tournament

At University of Dayton Arena

SATURDAY'S RESULT

Championship game

Xavier 58, Dayton 49

SATURDAY REPLAY

Top performers

• Dedrick Finn, XU: Finished with 11 points off the bench.

• Anthony Myles, XU: Went 6-for-8 with 13 points.

• Romain Sato, XU: Scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds; also made six of seven foul shots.

• Ramod Marshall, UD: Scored 17 points with three 3-pointers.

• Sean Finn, UD: Scored 13 points with eight rebounds.

QUOTE OF THE DAY

"If I didn't make a statement by this, I don't know what would have made a statement."

Lionel Chalmers, after being named Tournament MVP four days after making third-team all-conference

ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM

Anthony Myles, Xavier

Romain Sato, Xavier

Lionel Chalmers, Xavier

Keith Waleskowski, Dayton

Sean Finn, Dayton

Most Valuable Player: Lionel Chalmers, Xavier

NOTEWORTHY

The first half lasted less than 45 minutes. ... Only 11 fouls were called and three free throws attempted. All three were missed. ... Xavier shot 21 free throws in the second half. ... Dayton outshot Xavier 46.2 percent to 38.7 percent in the first half, but the Flyers committed seven turnovers, which Xavier turned into six points. ... Dayton outrebounded Xavier 38-32. ... Neither team led by more than five points in the first half, and there were seven lead changes and eight ties. ---

E-mail ddow@enquirer.com




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