Monday, December 14, 2009

Xavier 83 Cincinnati 79

In what was one of the most intense, hardly contested Crosstown Shootouts ever, the Xavier Musketeers had what it took down the stretch to beat the Cincinnati Bearcats in double overtime. This was definitely one of the best Shootouts since the Huggins era. Unfortunately, the Cats couldn't come up victorious and lost to Xavier for the 3rd year in a row. As always, there were some plusses, and there were some minuses. Do I smell a list? Yes, yes I do.
+ Lance Stephenson. #33 took this game over when the Bearcats trailed by 10 in the second half, and put in a career high 22. He was by the best player on the court tonight, with all due respect to Terrell Holloway. Lance scored 7 straight to give UC the lead after being down 6. The crossover lay up to tie the score was amazing. Lance then hit a jumper after another killer crossover to make it 65-61 in OT. And in his last display of awesome, he hit a reverse lay up, driving from the left baseline to under the basket. I wasn't a fan of the shot in OT, but he shook Holloway and it was a decent shot.
- Lance Stephenson. Barking at Chris Mack is stupid. Lance says he didn't remember that, but I tend to believe the coach. Also, and more importantly, Lance should not have given up the ball to Dion Dixon in OT 2. The ball had to be in his or Deonta Vaughn's hands, and he gave up it to Dixon. Dixon didn't take a horrible shot, but he sucks at shooting 3s.
+ Defense. Xavier made only 5-18 from 3 point land, and that was quite a statement. Xavier only shot 41% for the game. Jordan Crawford was 5-16 and clearly frustrated. Jason Love made the big lay up, but was only 3-9. 3 point ace Brad Redford didn't get off a shot. The 8 and a half minute lockdown on X was brilliant. The Cats forced Xavier deep into the shot clock while making up the difference in the second half.
- Offense. The shooting was putrid. 32-85 fgs, 5-23 from 3, 10-22 fts. That's horrible no matter how you slice it.
+ Mick Cronin. Mick made adjustments to the offense and it paid off in the second half. The team drove more to the basket. Larry Davis drove to the rim 3 times in the first half twice leading to points. He was the only one to get the message then, but the rest of the team came along the second half. It was a nice adjustment, and one that almost lead to victory.
- Mick Cronin. What in the bloody hell was Jaquon Parker doing in the game at the end of overtime? Ice cold off the bench, and you stick him on Holloway? It was a stupid foul, but not one that I put on Parker fully. He should never have been in that position. Earlier in the game, Holloway blew past Parker. I don't understand that substitution at all. Dion Dixon and I both had the same look after the foul. Mick took the blame for this loss, and he deserved it.
+ The pull aparts. Sportsmanship, schasmortzmanship. Nothing got the blood pumping like seeing all the Bearcats coming to support Lance Stephenson after Jason Love put him down with the intentional foul. It was nice to see the team sticking up for each other. Ibrahima Thomas was pushed by Terrell Holloway while walking back to the bench, that's why he was so pissed. Overall, it was good to see the players fired up.
-UC after the pull apart. The Bearcats became more concerned with talking shit than playing basketball. Xavier out bullied UC and worked it to their advantage.
The rest of these are negatives, since I can't think of any positives. Do I smell bullet points?

  • Deonta Vaughn, where have you gone? 6-19 from the field, and blowing the lay up down 3. Vaughn missed at least 2 more lay ups. Not the strongest game from 5. 9 boards is nice, but we need you to score
  • Yancy Gates stop taking jump shots. Start rebounding more. Jason Love pushed you around
  • I would single out someone for not guarding Terrell Holloway, but since no one did, I can't
  • Yancy Gates 2-6, Cashmere Wright 2-4, Lance Stephenson 2-4, Steve Toyloy 0-2. Practice free throws all week men.
  • Xavier got 11 offensive rebounds off 35 misses. 
  • 5 point lead with 55 seconds left. Got to finish. Mark Lyons and Holloway both penetrated to tie the score. Can't blow these. 
  • Seriously, why the fuck was Parker on Holloway? That is up there with Charles Williams losing the ball off his shoe in the pantheon of UC blowing it to X moments. 
I would be remiss if I didn't give credit to where credit is due. Xavier knew how important this game was, and they played like it. Terrell Holloway went for 26, and was 11-11 at the stripe. Every one of those turned out to be important. He played strong defense on Lance in overtime and the second ot. Jason Love hit the glass hard with 19 rebounds. Chris Mack has a good team. Congratulations Xavier.
The Enquirer/Ernest Coleman

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