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St. Peter's at Xavier (OH)
Posted: Monday November 18, 2002 11:34 AM
St. Peter's
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Xavier (OH)
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CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- David West and No. 11 Xavier open a season that is full of high expectations on Monday night when they host unheralded St. Peter's in the first round of the Preseason NIT.

Xavier (0-0) had a solid season last year, going 26-6 and losing in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to eventual West Region champion Oklahoma. The Musketeers return four starters and West, who has won two straight Atlantic 10 Player of the Year awards.

West is a first team All-America selection and averaged 18.3 points and 9.8 rebounds last season. He came close to entering the NBA draft but made a surprising announcement to return at a team banquet at the end of last season.

The Musketeers also have explosive guard Romain Sato, who averaged 16.1 points per game. His backcourt mate, Lionel Chalmers, chipped in 12 points per game and led the team in assists at 4.2 per game.

Xavier has recorded six straight 20-win seasons and is 26-2 at home entering its third year at the Cintas Center. The Musketeers are making their second appearance in the preseason NIT, splitting two games in 1988.

St. Peter's (0-0) is located in Jersey City, New Jersey and hails from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and has gone 4-24 in each of the last two seasons. The Peacocks' leading returning scorer is forward Corien John, who averaged 12.4 points per game.

John and newcomers Ivan Bojovic and Keydren Clark figure to be the cogs of St. Peter's lineup. Bojovic is from Yugoslavia and Clark is a top recruit from New York City who scored 21 points in an exhibition game for the Peacocks.

St. Peter's coach Bob Leckie played in the postseason NIT three times with the Peacocks and took part in what is considered to be the greatest victory in school history in 1968, a 100-71 thrashing of Atlantic Coast Conference champion Duke.

The winner will meet Stanford or Boston University in the second round on Wednesday.