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Xavier opens with a win but still lacks an identity

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Published November 16, 2003

CINCINNATI - Romain Sato scored 24 points and Xavier took a shaky first step without David West, relying on its guards and its defense to beat Coppin State 62-37 Saturday in the Black Coaches Association Classic.

In its first game without the 2003 national player of the year, Xavier (1-0) looked like a team trying to find an identity - and a front line.

Xavier's three primary guards - Sato, Lionel Chalmers and Dedrick Finn - accounted for 45 points. Chalmers added 12 and Finn had nine.

The Musketeers' man-to-man defense held Coppin State to 25.4 percent shooting. The 37 points were the fewest allowed by Xavier since a 75-37 victory over Kenyon on Nov. 28, 1983.

Xavier got outrebounded for most of the game and had trouble getting off shots against Coppin State, a Mid-Eastern Athletic team coming off an 11-17 season.

Sato scored 12 consecutive points midway through the second half, including a pair of 3-pointers that made him Xavier's career leader with 237 3s.

In the first 10 minutes, Xavier's front line combined for five rebounds and no points. Everything came from the guards, who got the Musketeers ahead early and kept them there.

OAKLAND 93, SAN DIEGO 68: Mike Helms set a tournament record with 31 points for the Golden Grizzlies in the Black Coaches Association Classic.

The senior guard, the nation's top returning scorer, surpassed the 30 by Purdue's Roy Hairston against Memphis in 1995 with 5:11 left and was removed.

Helms scored 23 points in the first half, 15 on five 3-pointers, as the Golden Grizzlies opened up leads of 20 three times.

San Diego played without junior forward Corey Belser, the only starter returning from last season's West Coast Conference tournament championship team. Belser sustained a season-ending right knee injury in the second exhibition game.

MERCER 67, OHIO 64: James Odoms' desperation 3-pointer with seven-tenths of a second left gave Mercer a victory in the Black Coaches Association Classic.

There were 15 lead changes and 10 ties, the last at 64 after Thomas Stephens hit a 3-pointer for Ohio with 14 seconds left.

After a timeout the Bears got the ball to Odoms for his game-high fourth 3-pointer in seven tries.

Mercer guard Delmar Wilson, a starter last season, is suspended for the first seven games for violating team rules.

ILLINOIS-CHICAGO 77, UC IRVINE 65: Cedric Banks scored 25 and had a driving layup during a 13-point run for Illinois-Chicago in the Black Coaches Association Classic.

Illinois-Chicago used its speed to force 23 turnovers, setting up its comeback after trailing most of the first half.

Aaron Carr added 17 points for Illinois-Chicago, picked to win the Horizon League with a lineup that has every starter back.

Stanislav Zuzak was 6-for-7 on 3-pointers and scored 29 for UC Irvine, which returns three starters from a team that went 20-9 and was second in the Big West.


NO. 9 LSU 63, VILLANOVA 56: Seimone Augustus scored 19 as the Tigers advanced to the championship game of the Women's Sports Foundation Classic in Eugene, Ore.

Augustus, the national freshman of the year last season, scored 14 in the second half as LSU erased a 12-point deficit.

NO. 18 UC SANTA BARBARA 82, SAN DIEGO 44: Kristen Mann had 15 points and eight rebounds for the host Gauchos in the opening round of the preseason NIT.

UC Santa Barbara extended its home winning streak to 24, the second-longest active streak behind top-ranked UConn.

UCSB forward Kate Bauman left with seven minutes to go in the first half after she sprained her right ankle. Forward Brandy Richardson suffered a concussion during pregame warmups when she collided with another player and didn't play.

NO. 22 AUBURN 84, ODU 49: Natasha Brackett scored 19 points and Mandisa Stevenson had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the consolation game of the WBCA Classic in Boulder, Colo.

Old Dominion missed its first seven shots and hit 21 percent in the first half.

NORTHERN MICHIGAN 80, SAINT LEO 74: Guard September Harrison of Tampa had 27 points, 10 rebounds and six steals in Saint Leo's opener. Harrison was 8-of-13 from the floor and 10-of-12 on free throws. Forward Rosetta Little had 17 points, eight rebounds and four steals, but the rest of team scored only 30.

HALL OF FAME: North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell and three other active college coaches are among six who will be inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in June.

Hatchell will be joined by North Dakota State coach Amy Ruley, Oregon coach Bev Smith, Kansas coach Marian Washington, eight-time AAU All-American Lurlyne Greer Rogers and William L. "Bill" Wall, first executive director of USA Basketball.

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