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COLLEGE BASKETBALL / NCAA TOURNAMENT | MIDWEST ROUNDUP

Xavier's a Blur to Vanderbilt

March 14, 1997|TIM KAWAKAMI | TIMES STAFF WRITER

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — A pair of sophomore guards with soft jump shots, fast hands and desperado mentalities sped Xavier past Vanderbilt in the NCAA Midwest Regional here Thursday night, 80-68, and into a second-round matchup of speed demons with UCLA.

The Bruins like to go fast? Xavier, the sixth-highest scoring team in the nation, went at light-speed against the Commodores, who were simply not capable of keeping up.

From the outset, leading off No. 7-seeded Xavier's 94-foot man-to-man pressure defense, Lenny Brown and Gary Lumpkin threw the 10th-seeded Commodores into turmoil on offense.

In 30 games before the tournament, Vanderbilt (19-12) committed an average of 15.4 turnovers--with a Southeastern Conference schedule against the likes of Kentucky and Georgia. The Commodores had 12 turnovers by halftime, and 21 overall.

Xavier (23-5) was led by forward James Posey, who had 22 points and had eight rebounds. A third sophomore guard, Darnell Williams, had 16 points while Lumpkin had 16 and Brown 13.

Austin Bates led Vanderbilt with 21 points and seven rebounds, but forward Pax Whitehead struggled with two-for-11 shooting and leading scorer Drew Maddux was only six for 15.

Cincinnati 86, Butler 69--Danny Fortson banged the boards and Darnell Burton banged in the three-point shots for the No. 3-seeded Bearcats and the No. 14 Bulldogs of the Midwestern Collegiate Conference never had a chance after falling behind by as much as 39-17 in the first half.

Against a Butler team obviously worn down by the physical play and pressure defense, Fortson scored 24 points, all from inside, and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead Cincinnati (26-7). Burton made five of nine three-point shots on his way to 19 points.

Butler (23-10) shot only 33.9%--with leading scorer Jon Neuhouser making only five of 14 shots in scoring 15 points--and was outrebounded, 50-36.

Iowa State 69, Illinois State 57--With his teammates struggling against the defense-minded No. 11-seeded Redbirds, Kelvin Cato--an athletic senior center--carried the No. 6 Cyclones (21-8) to an intriguing second-round matchup with Cincinnati on Saturday.

Cato scored 20 of his 29 points in the second half, swatted away everything near him, and scored seven consecutive points in a Cyclone run that finally broke open the game after Missouri Valley Conference champion Illinois State (24-6) had fought to a late 53-53 tie.

Cato, who climaxed the one-man run with a three-point play on a flying put-back slam, blocked eight shots and had 12 rebounds.

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