Xavier Edges Men's Basketball In Overtime, 65-59
March 7, 2002
By JONATHAN POET
PHILADELPHIA - Romain Sato scored 21 points, and No. 24 Xavier overcame a stunning tying shot at the end of regulation to pull out a 65-59 victory over Massachusetts in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 tournament Thursday.
Eric Williams, a backup power forward for UMass, heaved in an improbable 3-pointer from 24 feet away with 0.7 seconds left in regulation to tie it at 52. Williams tracked down a rebound in front of Massachusetts' bench and, twisting toward the basket, tossed the awkward shot in to force OT.
But Xavier (23-5) outscored Massachusetts 13-7 in the extra period to advance to the semifinals, where the Musketeers will play the winner of Saint Joseph's vs. Dayton.
Xavier, probably the only A-10 team with an NCAA tournament berth locked up, had trouble getting some of its best players involved on offense. Massachusetts (14-16) used changing defenses, including a triangle-and-two and a box-and-one, to keep the ball out of the hands of David West, the conference player of the year.
The Musketeers hit only 14 field goals the entire game, but made 33 of 43 at the free-throw line.
West was held to 14 points, eight in overtime, on 3-for-6 shooting. Lionel Chalmers, Xavier's third leading scorer who averages 13.1 points a game, was held to three points. Kevin Frey scored 15, though.
West, held in check most of the game, hit an 8-footer in traffic as the shot clock expired with 2:47 to go to give Xavier a 50-48 lead.
Crooks hit one of two free throws with 16.7 seconds left to cut the lead to
one. Chalmers hit two free throws - his first points of the game - to give
Xavier a 52-49 lead, before Williams' 3-pointer.
Xavier overcame its lowest-scoring first half of the season and Massachusetts' slow pace throughout to advance to the semifinals for the first time since 1999.
An early second-half spurt gave Xavier a 36-33 lead with 14:55 to go, but Massachusetts scored 10 straight points - six by Brand - to take a 43-36 lead with 10:36 left.
But Xavier came back again, and Sato tied the game at 48 with two free throws with 3:48 to go.
Xavier struggled from the field early, hitting only two of its first 20 shots and 4-of-23 overall in the first half. The Musketeers stayed in the game at the free-throw line, though, going 12-of-15 in the half.
UMass had early success taking the ball to the basket and held a 28-21 lead at halftime on 11-of-22 shooting from the field.