No. 21 Xavier Upset by Blue Demons at Cintas
Andy Mac Williams,
Sorry about the delay in comments about Xavier's 69-65 Cintas Center loss to DePaul, but I needed a couple beers!! Basketball is a game of runs or so the old bromide goes. This game defied all logic!! XU started slowly again for 7th straight game-taking bad shots-trailing 28-15 w/ 5:32 to go until the half(-13). Nothing would fall. Muskies went zone "D" and started attacking the bucket and cut the DU lead to 7 at the break(34-27) +6. 2nd half 1st 7 minutes reminded me of Creighton a week ago and that epic 29-2 XU run.
This time it was 14-2 Muskies with 0 DePaul FTs. XU forged ahead 41-36 w/ 13 minutes left( 26-8 X run +18). Colby Jones keyed the run w/ an incredible string of hustle play-deflections-attacking baskets-rebounds-diving efforts. Dwon Odom played ball hawking "D" and took it to the rim (8 points-5 assists-0 turnovers). The lead was short lived!
DU embarked on a 13-0 run to grab an 8 point lead at 49-41 w/ about 9 left. X kept battling back but a lot of basket trading ensued. Muskies could never climb the hill and lost the FT war down the stretch.
Give DePaul credit. They played hard and made some circus shots from mid-range off the dribble(David Jones-Jalen Terry).
Little used sub Courvosier McCaulkey ripped in 21(averages 2PPG IN BE) on 8-12 shooting. Down the stretch DU BIGS Nick Ongenda and Brandon Johnson drilled 5 of 5 pressure FTs while X bricked two front ends and split another pair of FTs.
Not to bitch, but B. Johnson fired an in-bounds pass at close range into Freemantle's midsection. He deserved an F1 fou l(two shots plus the ball). Ongemda is a great leaper. He should compete in the triple jump for Candad in the next Summer Olympics but he was over the back umteen times including a late stick back that resulted in a dagger 3 point play. The zebras let excessive contact in the post go all game. Hard to box out when DU guys use pogo sticks and judo chops to vault over people.
I'm bitter maybe? but DePaul coach Tony Stubblefield spent half the game ranting at mid court. I thought there was a coaching box? He didn't even get a warning!
Bad loss for Xavier in NET land(Quad 3). Muskies had been 12-0 in Quad 2-4 games. That 20 NET will take a tumble.
Travis Steele talks bluntly:
"DePaul played better than us. Our guys played hard but not smart. The guard play has to get better. We charted 8 bad shots in 1st half(that's a BIG number) We have to play 40 minutes-not 20. The goal is to create a great shot every trip for Xavier. We have to get this figured out."
"They hit some tough shots but we have to contest harder. We can't hope they miss. We have to make them miss. I have complete belief in my team but we need to grow from this and learn and get better. We will finish really strong."
X slips to 16-6, 6-5 BIG EAST-5th place-sort of in neutral (5-4 since Jan 1st w/ 3 home losses by a total of 11 points).
Around BU Saturday 2nd place Villanova waxed 4th place UConn 85-74. UConn is 6-4 so XU missed a chance to lead frog the Huskies. St Johns won at Butler 75-52. Sunday BIG EAST leader PC(9-1) plays at 0-9 Georgetown(Noon on FS1).
Muskies face a critical week at Seton Hall Wednesday(7 PM-FS1). SHU is 5-6 BE. X hosts UConn Friday( 7 PM-FS1). Both games are NET Quad 1.
It's getting serious w/ NCAA Tourney bids at stake and BET seedings on the line (Top 5 get a 1st Round BET bye at MSG