Men's Basketball Downs Xavier, 75-64
Jan. 9, 2001
By JOE KAY
CINCINNATI - Monty Mack scored 26 points and Massachusetts used its bigger front line to control the boards and hold off Xavier 75-64 Tuesday night.
The Minutemen (4-9, 2-0 Atlantic 10) have pulled out of thier worst season start in 18 years by winning a pair of conference games convincingly. Massachusetts used a big second half to beat George Washington by 16 points on Saturday.
Xavier (11-3, 2-1) cut a 16-point second-half deficit to six in the closing minutes before fading. The poor-shooting Musketeers lost for the time in seven games and suffered their first defeat at the new Cintas Center, where they were 7-0.
Mack, who scored a season-high 28 points in the 76-60 over George Washington, went 8-of-19 from the field and hit the biggest baskets whenever Xavier made a run in the second half.
He sank a pair of free throws after Maurice McAfee's free throw cut the lead to 68-62 with 1:13 left, ending Xavier's final surge.
Xavier got only 15 points out of its three main guards, who provided little help for David West. The center scored a career-high 28 points and had 11 rebounds, but no one else reached double figures or had more than three rebounds for Xavier.
Mack has scored at least 20 points in each of the last four games.
While teammates on the bench jumped and pumped their fists after each score, the Minutemen set crisp screens for open shots and worked the ball inside for layups as they pulled ahead 25-12 and set the tone.
Xavier switched from a man-to-man to a zone and a full-court press, but
couldn't find a defense that worked. The Musketeers never found their shooting
Xavier shot only 23 percent in the first half, its worst of the season, and got most of its points - 13 of 24 - off free throws. West had a three-point play and three more free throws as Xavier cut the lead to 30-24 at halftime.
Xavier got the lead down to four points twice early in the second half before Mack took control. He turned to the crowd and pumped his fist after hitting an open 3-pointer that pushed the lead back to double digits, then hit a soft pull-up jumper that gave Massachusetts a 52-38 advantage.
The Musketeers shot 33 percent from the field and made only five of 23 3-point attempts.
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