Sputtering Offense Holds Xavier Back in Loss to Cincinnati
The University of Cincinnati Bearcats welcomed Xavier to Fifth Third Arena yesterday. The welcome was far from warm as they were eager to avenge their sizable loss in the Crosstown Shootout in Cintas last season. While offense was the headline last season, this Shootout was highlighted by the Bearcats defense and Xavier's poor offensive effort. After the full 40 minutes had passed, Xavier was handed an ugly 62-47 loss with few positives to be taken from the rubble.
Despite only mustering up 22 points in the first half, the Musketeers were the beneficiaries of some untimely mistakes from the Bearcats side of the ball. The slow pace did not seem to benefit either team as it was an ugly, back and forth defensive-heavy affair that would make the hometown Cincinnati Bengals envious.
The second half saw Xavier allow some easy buckets on the front end that would stretch the Bearcat lead into double digits at the 12 minute mark and that lead would not shrink any smaller than that. The offense struggled to find rhythm and hero-ball became the norm as Quentin Goodin and others would find no success on isolation, off-the-dribble shots, evidenced by the 35% shooting clip from the field. The game plan for the Musketeers was visibly disrupted as Cincinnati took advantage of their front-line skill level.
-Look for offensive adjustments to be made from the coaches. Head Coach Travis Steele commented on the clear "lack of execution of the game plan" that shows the need for adjustments moving forward towards Big East play.
-Quentin Goodin, returning from illness, looked very rough but was still the leading scorer for the Musketeers. The success of the Muskies primary ball handler will be important as Paul Scruggs and Naji Marshall feed off of his success it seems.
-Xavier will look to bounce back against Eastern Kentucky in the welcoming confines of the Cintas Center this Saturday.