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X marks the spot
Xavier hits 13 3-pointers to eliminate Wake Forest
Posted: Monday March 15, 1999 11:32 PM
CINCINNATI (AP) -- The National Invitation Tournament is helping Xavier get beyond the frustration of not making that other tournament.
Lenny Brown scored 19 points Monday night and triggered a 3-point barrage that carried Xavier to an 87-76 victory over Wake Forest in the second round of the NIT.
Xavier (23-10) hit a school-record 13 3-pointers out of 24 attempts to advance to a quarterfinal game against Princeton (22-7) at Cincinnati Gardens on Wednesday.
The Musketeers were crushed when they failed to get an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. Watching the first- and second-round games over the weekend just made matters worse.
"We're still disappointed," Brown said. "All the games were televised this weekend. You see some of those games and you say, 'Hey, we could have done better than that.' But there's nothing we can do about it.
"We've just taken the attitude that since were in [the NIT], we might as well try to win it."
Brown, who holds Xavier's career and season records for 3-pointers, hit 5-of-8 from long range as the Musketeers remained unbeaten in 14 home games this season.
Wake Forest (17-14) packed in its zone defense to try to slow the fast-paced Musketeers, but wound up losing in the second round of the NIT for the second straight year.
Xavier wasn't at its best -- its defense allowed Wake Forest to shoot 51 percent for the game and Robert O'Kelley had a career-high 36 points. But it made quite an impression in its first-ever game against Wake Forest.
"I didn't have the opportunity to see [tape of] every game they played, but I can't imagine them playing a better game than they did tonight," coach Dave Odom said. "If they did, they definitely deserved to be in the NCAA Tournament."
James Posey led Xavier with 23 points, 11 of them from the foul line. Brown moved into third place on Xavier's career scoring list with 1,823 points, trailing only Byron Larkin and Tyrone Hill.
Posey hit a 3-pointer to open the second half, which began tied at 32, and Brown followed with a pullup jumper and a pair of 3's to put Xavier ahead to stay. Brown's 3-pointer pushed the lead to 54-46 with 12 minutes left, and Wake Forest never got closer than three points the rest of the way.
"We just couldn't deliver a knockout blow," Posey said. "Every time we got a spurt, we'd have a breakdown and send them to the line or they'd get a shot. Finally, we were able to hold them off."
"They press the whole game. We're not used to that," O'Kelley said. "Maybe we got a little fatigue."
Lloyd Price hit a 3-pointer and a pullup 15-foot jumper on a fastbreak during a seven-point run that pushed the lead to 76-65 with 3:19 left.
Xavier was forced to shoot from outside because it couldn't budge the Demon Deacons' defense. Twenty-one of Xavier's 32 first-half points came on 3s.
The Musketeers hit five of their first six 3-pointers to go up by nine points, but O'Kelley steadied the Demon Deacons and scored six points in a 13-4 spurt that drew them even.
O'Kelley repeatedly beat Xavier downcourt on fast breaks and drove for layups as he scored 23 in the second half, keeping Wake Forest in the game.
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