|Xavier's Stanley Burrell living up to defensive reputation|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 22 February 2008 11:37|
The latest opponent to get up close and personal with the 6-foot-3 senior was Jimmy Baron of Rhode Island. Baron entered Monday night's game against the 10th-Musketeers averaging 15.3 points and was shooting better than 44 percent from 3-point range.
With Burrell seemingly attached to him by a Velcro strip, Baron went 0-for-7 from the field and finished with two points in Xavier's 81-77 victory.
Baron joined a list of players who have struggled against Burrell that includes Brian Roberts of Dayton, who had a season-low five points against the Musketeers, Eric Gordon of Indiana, who was 4-for-12 from the field, Chris Lofton of Tennessee, who was 3-of-12, and Sean Singletary of Virginia, who was 5-of-12.
``I'm coming out to try my best and throw a shutout every night,'' Burrell said of the Rhode Island game, sounding like a very confident defender. ``I might not do it, but I'm trying.
``I'll cover whoever's their main guy. Baron is shooting great. Not tonight. Not tonight.''
Xavier coach Sean Miller, who was a fair guard himself during his playing days at Pittsburgh, calls Burrell ``a great defender who has bought into that role.''
``If he is not one of the premier defensive players in the backcourt in college basketball, I've never seen one,'' Miller said. ``He has earned the right to be called that.''
Burrell came up big for the Musketeers another way in their 75-48 victory over Duquesne on Thursday night that stretched their winning streak to nine games.
With point guard Drew Lavender limited for a third straight game by a sprained ankle, Burrell moved over to run the offense and came up with a career-high 12 assists.
``When you've got guys like this that can finish and guys that can shoot on the wings like B.J. (Raymond), it should be no problem,'' Burrell said. ``With Drew going down, I had to step up and help at that point guard spot and give him a chance to get healthy.
``We're a total team. When one guy goes down, somebody else has to step up.''
TRASH TALKING: Even players having a bad season can get carried away with trash talking.
Oregon State has yet to win a Pac-10 game and are 6-20 overall in a season that has seen coach Jay John fired. Beavers senior Marcel Jones and freshman Sean Carter were kept out of the 84-49 loss to No. 6 UCLA on Thursday after they were involved in verbal taunting toward Washington players after a practice last weekend. The Huskies won the game the next day 97-59.
``I heard a comment that winners talk after games, and losers talk before they lose. That sums it up in a nutshell,'' interim coach Kevin Mouton said.
Oregon State has lost a school-record 16 straight games.
TAKING CHARGE: In the Pac-10 this season, charge calls have seemed to be hit and miss. One defensive player will step in at the last minute, not quite be set, and still draw the whistle for an offensive foul. Or, vice versa, and a player who does have his feet square and body sturdy in one spot won't get the right call.
California coach Ben Braun is still asking his players to go for it at every opportunity, and the Golden Bears took three charges in their 76-73 victory at Arizona State on Feb. 16.
``A lot of them are no calls,'' said Cal sophomore forward Ryan Anderson, who leads the team in scoring and rebounding and is drawing regular attention from NBA scouts. ``The Pac-10 is iffy with charges. You've just got to try to get position and hope they call it.''
One of the Bears' top defenders, Theo Robertson, recently opted to redshirt his junior season after his surgically repaired hip didn't recover as quickly as he'd hoped. Braun challenges his players to consider the fact Robertson would be taking charges if he was on the court - so they have to make up the difference without him.
``By trying to take the charge, it's a win-win,'' Braun said. ``You're stopping the ball and it tells the other team, 'We're not letting you get to the basket easily.'''
WHAT STREAK?: Bentley headed into the weekend one victory from breaking a 63-year-old Division II record but that won't change a thing for Falcons.
``That doesn't mean anything, honestly,'' Bentley coach Jay Lawson said of the 52-game regular-season winning streak that tied the Division II record set by Langston University in 1945. ``In the end, athletes and coaches want to win championships and this doesn't have anything to do with trying to do that. In fact, it will get in the way if we think it's something important.''
If Bentley, the top-ranked team in Division II, beats St. Michael's on Saturday, it would be a second straight undefeated regular season for the Falcons, whose last loss was to Winona State the in quarterfinals of the NCAA tournament.
Senior Nate Fritsch is one of four players averaging double figures for the Falcons (25-0), who don't have a player over 6-foot-7.
Fritsch said the team hasn't gotten caught up in its success. It's hard to when crowds average 723 fans a game.
``It's Division II basketball,'' Fritsch said. ``It's not like we're dealing with national notoriety. It's not like we're watching ourselves on TV.''
Lawson concedes the streak is going to be a nice thing to talk about, eventually.
``I do think it will be a wonderful memory for these guys to say, 'Wow, I was part of something that broke a 50-year record,''' Lawson said. ``Or whatever it is.''
EXTRA EFFORT: Lafayette and Wagner are going that extra five minutes - and sometimes more - this season.
Lafayette lost 77-75 in overtime to Bucknell on Wednesday to fall to 6-1 this season in overtime games. The six wins tied the Division I record for overtime victories in a season set by Chattanooga (6-0) in 1988-89 and Wake Forest (6-1) in 1983-84.
Wagner needed two overtimes to beat St. Francis, Pa. 80-72 on Thursday to improve to 5-0 in overtime games this season. The Seahawks became the 16th team to record five or more overtime wins in a season. The last to do it were Western Kentucky (5-0) and Massachusetts (5-1) in 2004-05.
IMPRESSIVE COMPANY: North Carolina-Greensboro senior forward Kyle Hines joined an exclusive list last week when he became the sixth player in NCAA history to record 2,000 points, 1,000 rebounds and 300 blocked shots.
Hines, the 96th player to ever reach 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds, joined David Robinson of Navy, Pervis Ellison of Louisville, Alonzo Mourning of Georgetown, Tim Duncan of Wake Forest and Derrick Coleman of Syracuse on the points-rebounds-blocks list.
``It is a great accomplishment, but it comes under difficult circumstances,'' Hines said after reaching the marks in a 75-66 loss to Davidson. ``It means a lot. I guess I am glad it is over just because we don't have to keep talking about it. I just want us to get back to our team goals - try to win these last four games and get hot in time for the (Southern Conference) tournament and the NCAA tournament. We've won four in a row; we've won six in a row; we can put together a run again, I think.''
The Spartans started the streak Hines was hoping for with a 72-62 victory over Western Carolina on Thursday. He had 13 points and has scored in double figures in 76 consecutive games, the longest current streak in the nation.
Associated Press writers Janie McCauley in San Francisco and Jay Lindsay in Boston contributed to this report