The Xavier Musketeers crushed the Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday afternoon, 76-53. It was Xavier's largest margin of victory since the 1997-98 season, and their second largest margin of victory ever. If you are looking for talk about the fight or the suspensions, those have been covered in the linked posts and aren't going to be a part of this recap. Basketball only. Basketball wise, Cincinnati needed this game a lot. The Bearcats are 5-3. The only decent non-conference win is over KenPom 108 Georgia. The next best is over 178 Miami. There is a whole lot of nothing in the non-con portfolio. That's why this game was so important. This game was the only one that would boost the Bearcats chances of seeing the big dance. It's going to take no more falls along the way. Luckily for UC, they play no one interesting besides paper record 7-1 Oklahoma. Wright State is on the road and the second most dangerous game, but the Raiders aren't hot stuff. That's an article for Wednesday.
Let's go full recap, because even though we all watched the game, who actually remembers what happened?
UC won the tip and started things with a missed jumper by Dixon. Xavier went into the paint with Dezmine Wells cashing in a layup for the first bucket. The teams traded 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 missed 3 pointers before Dixon drew a foul on Kenny Frease, making both FTs. Following a miss, Sean Kilpatrick got to the line for a pair, making 1. Another miss by Travis Taylor led to a Dixon layup from Cash. Taylor got himself to the line next, making 1. After a Gates turnover, Andre Walker scored a layup from Lyons to tie. UC got it back with a Gates dunk from Kilpatrick. Gates followed with a jumper on the next possession. Lyons got a layup to pull X within 2. Following 2 Gates missed FTs, Frease tied the score on a short jumper. Xavier took the lead the next trip, getting a Brad Redford quick score off a rebound. A dead ball rebound for UC sent us to the under 12 at 11:25 with Xavier up 11-9.
The teams traded misses before a Justin Martin steal turned into a Lyons layup. UC got it back on a Kilpatrick layup in transition thanks to a Mbodj block. Xavier thought it was a goaltend and the bench was whistled for a technical. Dixon made both to tie the score. Lyons got to the line for 2 for X, JaQuon Parker made his first FG of the year for UC. Cash hit a jumper, Dez Wells got a fast break dunk. Gates a dunk back, Holloway FTs. Gates hit a jumper to put UC back up, Lyons hit a 3 to put X up, then Gates hit a pair of FTs to put UC back up. This is the point the game turned. 5:45 23-22 UC.
Tu turned the ball over, but Walker stripped Parker, passed to Lyons, who passed to Holloway for a 3. UC had a couple of misses and saw Lyons set up Frease for a bucket in the paint. A quick miss by Guyn turned into a fast break layup for Lyons. Lyons partially blocked a Guyn 3 into an airball out of bounds. Following a Gates miss, Lyons drilled a 3 from Tu. A UC turnover turned into a FT by Frease. A quick miss turned into another FT, this time by Jeff Robinson. Cheikh Mbodj finally scored for UC to get the lead to 34-25, the halftime spread.
Xavier started the second half quick. Wells missed a layup, but followed with a dunk tip. A steal by Walker turned into a 3 point play by Holloway. Dixon made a jumper, but Wells got it back with a bucket in the paint following a Walker offensive board. A Dixon miss led to another Xavier offensive rebound putback, this one by Frease. That made the score 43-27. UC trimmed 4 off quick, Gates slammed home an offensive rebound and Dixon made a jumper off a Gaines steal. UC missed 3 chances to get closer before Gates finally scored on a jumper. Lyons got it back quickly for Xavier with a 3. Holloway got a step on Kilpatrick coming up the floor and was able to take him all the way to the basket for a bucket and foul. The lead was back to 16. Dixon got to the line to make it 14 and a minute later got a steal and layup to make it 12. UC couldn't take advantage of a Kilpatrick steal, but Wells took advantage of the miss, scoring in transition. Kilpatrick got to the line the next trip, but only made 1. He missed a 3 which turned into a Frease bucket on the other end. A Cash turnover set up an X possession that ended in a Martin 3 from the corner. The lead was 18 with 9:20 left.
UC scored the next 4 on FTs by Killa and Gates, but Brad Redford used a nice ball fake to get a layup. A Martin steal turned into 2 FTs for Holloway to make it 18 again. Every UC score was met with a Xavier basket on the other end. Kilpatrick 3, Martin dunk. Parker FTs, Wells layup. Kilpatrick layup, Holloway layup. Cash FTs, Wells jumper. The last UC basket came on a Gates jumper with 3:33 left. Xavier got points from Lyons, Frease, Frease and Holloway before the fight ended things with 9 seconds to go.
20-15:28, 3 points, 13:42-9:42, 0 points, 6:31-0:55, 2 points, 11:57-7:34, 5 points are your scoring droughts of the day, with the number of free throw points UC scored in that time. Anything over 4 minutes, which constitues a segment, goes up. The biggest one of those was the one from the 6 minute mark on, because UC dug a hole they couldn't climb out of.
A large reason UC couldn't dig out of the hole was because they couldn't get a stop to save their life. Holloway especially went hard to the basket, and no one on the Bearcats could stay in front of him. The first half they couldn't stop Lyons, and the second they couldn't stop Holloway. Dixon did a nice job on him the first half, when Holloway looks to set everyone up, but was helpless against him in the second. That's what great players do to you.
I gave Sean Kilpatrick a lot of credit for his D in the Georgia game, so he has to come under fire for getting lit up by Wells. Wells did nearly all of his damage in the lane and was 7-10 in 22 minutes. When he was out, Justin Martin made a couple of big baskets for the Muskies. Martin can replace Wells somewhat while Wells is suspended. Wells is a dynamic player. He's going to be a star in 2 years when Lyons and Tu are gone.
Andre Walker was fantastic. He had 2 points, 9 rebounds, 4 offensive, 2 steals and 4 assists. UC had no answer for him. I thought Gates or Jackson or even 13 would be able to neutralize him, but they could not. Walker got the machine going.
The Bearcats also couldn't stop Kenny Frease, who went for 13-13 with 4 blocks.
Cheikh Mbodj and Justin Jackson had to give UC something if the Bearcats were going to win. Instead, they gave 25 minutes with 2 points on 1-4 shooting, 5 rebounds, 1 turnover, 1 block and 6 fouls. Horrible. Justin Jackson is playing some of the most uninspired basketball I have seen from a UC player in a while. He's been a gigantic negative the past 3 games. Now with the suspensions, he's your low post guy the next 6 games. Get your head out of your ass, JJ. I don't know if his girlfriend broke up with him, he's bummed he's not starting, he had a rough time studying for finals or what, but whatever it is has to change. What he's giving now is not good enough to get minutes.
Sean Kilpatrick had a rough day at the office. He was only 3-12, 1-8 from deep. His jump shot abandoned him. Not the best game for that. Especially when he said Tu Holloway wouldn't start for UC. He should have gone boring and PC and said that he loved his teammates and he would go to battle with them any day. Instead, he made a very unfortunate comment. He followed that up with a very unfortunate game. You could tell the missed shots were getting to him. There was one sequence he missed 2 open 3s and his hands went to his head.
That rough day extended to my best friend Dion Dixon. He got his 14 points on 4-16 shooting. He was 0-4 from deep. He got people involved on offense, 4 assists. He also took people out of the offense because some of his shots were bad ones. It has to be tough to see your shots not go down and your team fall behind. But, you have to take better shots instead of worse shots. Much easier said than done. That's why I'm here and not in the NBA. That and I'm 6 feet tall, slow and did I say 6 feet tall and slow? I'm also not an elite basketball player. That reason is not important though.
Adding to the brutal guard game, Cashmere Wright was 1-8, 0-3 from deep for 4 points, 2 assists, 2 turnovers, 5 rebounds and he fouled out. The guards took 52% of the shots and made 8 FGs. Add in Ge'Lawn Guyn and that's 59% of the shots and 8 points. Wright was brutal from the field. He missed a lot of layups, took bad shots and really didn't get the job done on defense. He was on Lyons the first half. He bit hard on a Redford fake as well.
Xavier couldn't really stop Yancy Gates. 18 points on 7-15, 12 rebounds, 4 offensive. Gates did all the of the rebounding by himself. 12 of 36 is 33%. He turned the ball over 3 times. Gates didn't shoot at a high percentage because he loves taking the long shots now. He needs to watch Danny Fortson tape while he's suspended and learn low post moves.
Liked what we saw of JaQuon Parker. He played some at the 3 and 4, but UC is gonna have to go zone if he's playing the 4. He had 4 points and 3 boards in 15 minutes. I liked the look he gave UC on the floor. He's going to get a ton of minutes and will probably start against Wright State. Welcome back, Park.
23 free throws, 18 makes. That's good. Keep that going. Would love to see more of that.
10 turnovers, 8 assists. 17 FGs, 8 assists. This team sucks when they aren't getting each other shots. Too bad they don't recognize it or just don't care.
A bad performance followed by a black eye for the program followed by harsh words by the coach followed by light suspensions that make people in the media say your coach is full of shit and watching his ass is enough to turn the page. Let's put this game to bed.
Photos from Cincinnati.com. Box scores from Go Bearcats.