It may be a day late, but there was no way in hell I wasn't writing about the Xavier game. It seems that something always happens every year for the Xavier game. One year my DVR cut the game off and I couldn't write about it until I saw the replay. That was the double OT game. One year my computer broke and I had to buy a new one. That was 2010. I think everything went swimmingly last year. But yesterday I was very busy and didn't have time to fully revel in the Cincinnati win over Xavier. That time is now, friends. Let the reveling begin.
That's the spirit.
Let's be honest, this game was a clunker. The offenses were absolutely abysmal. Xavier shot 37.7%. Cincinnati shot 32.8%. Both sides had negative assist to turnover ratios. Both sides were horrible from 3. Cincinnati was not good from the foul line, Xavier was plain putrid. It was not a well played basketball game on the offensive end. Cincinnati had no player with over 3 shot attempts make 50% of them. It was hard to watch at times. Especially in the first half for Cincinnati when they missed roughly 984 shots in a row.
Another damper on the game were the Xavier injuries. Xavier wasn't going to win that game. They couldn't hang with Cincinnati once the Bearcats started going at the rim. Let's throw that out there right this second. But for games like this, you want to see the 2 sides be equal and the injuries to Semaj Christon and Dee Davis were a damper.
Don't let Xavier fans try to convince you that was the rest they lost. Davis turned the ball over 5 times and ended up fouling out. Christon was 3-9 from the field, 0-4 at the foul line and he had turned it over 3 times. that was more than half of Xavier's turnovers between the two in 51 combined minutes. That is a lot of turnovers.
I don't agree with Mick Cronin that the game should be played at US Bank Arena every season. That said, the crowd was pretty hyped up and made for a nice atmosphere. There were a couple thousand empty seats, especially on the Xavier side. I don't really like US Bank Arena that much to want to see the game there every year.
Let's get on with the player talk. I'll sprinkle more random notes in here as well.
Justin Jackson did not attempt a field goal. The only real impact he had on the game came early on, when he assisted on back to back baskets. He had a steal before the second one. He spent the night in foul trouble. He finished with as many fouls, 5, as rebounds. Not really a memorable shootout for JJ.
Cheikh Mbodj gave some nice minutes on the defensive end. He blocked 4 shots. He altered a few more. He and everyone else in the front court had a hard time defending Travis Taylor in the first half. Taylor had 8-7 then, but finished with 12-10. That's not so bad. Mbodj is just not good offensively though. He had 3 points on 1-3. If he gets 2 offensive rebounds, he should have 4 points. He goes up so weak at times. He shouldn't have his shots easily blocked like he had one blocked Wednesday.
Cashmere Wright put a stamp on his final Shootout victory with a solid 15 point, 6 rebound, 4 assist, 2 steal performance. Cash hit 3-7 from 3, the only player in the game that made more than 2. Cash has been the main 3 point threat on the team this season. Wright hitting the dagger 3 with a couple minutes to go in Brad Redford's face made me a happy person. Cash was really good last season and he is even better this season. But he's not a top 50 point guard though.
You can't talk about Cash or that pictured layup without talking about the comments made by Dan Dakich. I tend to have no problem with Dakich on commentary. He does a solid job. Repeatedly telling Cash to "shut up," was borderline unprofessional. It's one thing to say, "He needs to stop trash talking." It's a complete other to say "SHUT UP!" the way he did during the game. I'm not exaggerating, that's how he said it. Cash said on twitter that he wasn't even talking. I hope Dakich sent him a direct message or something to apologize.
Sean Kilpatrick put his name on the 2012 Crosstown Shootout with a tremendous second half effort. He was 8-15 for 18 points and 6 rebounds. Overall, SK was 10-27 for 25 points and 7 rebounds. It seemed that SK was too content to settle for jumpers in the first half. In the second, he went to he basket at will. How do you think Dee Davis got those cramps? He couldn't keep up with Sean Kilpatrick. This guy has been incredibly special to watch this season. He can take over a game. He rebounds like a mad man. He plays hard defense. SK had a team high 4 steals. He's the heart and soul of the 2012-13 Cincinnati Bearcats. There are the 3 amigos, but 23 is the amigo that Cincinnati needs to play his best when it counts. He did just that Wednesday night. I am happy he's on our team.
I'm even happier that Sean Kilpatrick has decided to make awesome faces throughout the game.
Not gonna get tired of that one for a while.
JaQuon Parker had a bit of a seesaw performance offensively. He took some horrible shot attempts early on. Not horrible in the shot selection, but horrible in the execution. I'm pretty sure Parker had 7 attempts before the first media timeout. That's how it seemed. But Parker made up for a 2-10 game from the field with a 7-10 game from the free throw line. He had most of his 6 rebounds on one possession where he got 3 or 4 offensive rebounds. Parker was on Justin Martin a lot of the night and Justin Martin didn't score. Huge game for Parker.
Titus Rubles had a team high 9 rebounds Wednesday night. He had a block and a steal too. Justin Jackson was on the bench a lot and Rubles took advantage and played his ass off. On the flip side, Rubles was absolutely horrid offensively. He was 1-7. He was 0-4 from 3. Not a one of his 3s even looked close. I know Rubles can make that shot. I've seen him do it in a Cincinnati uniform. Granted, those games were in October. I say this in the nicest way I know how, please stop shooting 3s, Titus. You are shooting 5% from 3. There is a reason they left you open. The rest of your game is sharp right now. Let's just ignore the part that isn't for a while.
Rubles' only field goal was this.
Shaq Thomas had a fast break layup. That was about the only thing he did in his 10 minutes. He turned the ball over twice. Let's ignore that and move on.
Ge'Lawn Guyn, Jermaine Sanders and David Nyarsuk combined for 19 minutes. Guyn had 2 points, Sanders had a block and Nyarsuk had 2 rebounds and a block.
How wants some Chris Mack sad face?
You rub that losing eyebrow.
Gotta give some props to Dee Davis. He was clearly struggling with cramps or some other kind of leg injury. That didn't stop him from leaving it all on the floor. He played as hard as he could have. The steal, drive up the floor and runner on one leg was all heart.
Seriously Xavier training staff, mix in some oranges or some shit. Semaj Crampston, amiright?
Cincinnati beating Xavier is one of the best things in the world. Love it, enjoy it, taunt Xavier fans every day until next year.
All photos via Cincinnati.com