Colonials Downed By Xavier
March 12, 2004
By RUSTY MILLER
DAYTON, Ohio (AP) - Xavier's tank isn't empty yet.
Lionel Chalmers matched his career high with 26 points - including 10 during a 22-6 first-half run - to lead Xavier to a 70-47 win over George Washington in an Atlantic-10 semifinal on Friday night.
Xavier (22-10) wasn't as dominating from start to finish as it was in a stunning 87-67 rout of No. 1-ranked Saint Joseph's in the quarterfinals, but the Musketeers still showed flashes of that form.
Romain Sato added 18 points and 11 rebounds and Justin Doellman had all but two of his 14 points in the first half for Xavier, which has won 12 of its last 13 games.
The Musketeers, who will meet either Richmond or Dayton in the championship game, didn't come close to the 71.1 percent they shot from the field against Saint Joseph's but still had more than enough (making 46 percent) for the Colonials (18-11).
Chalmers hit 6 of 9 3-pointers and his team was 11 of 28.
Ahead 10-8 midway through the first half, the Musketeers went on a 22-6 run fueled by their distance shooting.
Doellman, a freshman averaging 7 points a game, got it started with a
3-pointer and then had a three-point play off an assist from Chalmers. On
consecutive possessions, Chalmers hit a 3, Sato hit one and then Chalmers hit
another to push the lead to 25-10. After turning the ball over the next time
they had it, the Musketeers again scored on three straight possessions -
Chalmers slashing through the lane for a fastbreak layup, Dedrick Finn making a
3 from the right wing and Chalmers scoring again on another layup in transition
for a 32-14 lead.
The Musketeers hit 8 of 9 shots from the field during the surge, including all four of their attempts behind the arc.
The Colonials countered with a 7-0 spurt but got no closer than 14 the rest of the half.
Chalmers missed his first 3-pointer but hit the next four as Xavier took a 42-28 lead at the break.
It was similar to the Musketeers' domination against Saint Joseph's in the first 20 minutes of their quarterfinal matchup. Xavier led 43-21 at the break in that game.
Chalmers steadied the Musketeers even after they built the big lead. Pops Mensah-Bonsu scored on a rebound follow and Carl Elliott hit a fastbreak layup to cut Xavier's lead to 48-35 with 14:17 left, prompting coach Thad Matta to call for a timeout.
The Musketeers came out of the huddle and patiently cycled the ball before Chalmers hit a 3-pointer from the left side.
Leading by as many as 25 points, they ran the shot clock down before shooting on almost every trip down the floor in the final 12 minutes.