Xavier Knocks off Bearcats in Crosstown Shootout for Fourth Straight Season
By Andy Mac Williams, 12/10/2022

Xavier checked all the boxes Saturday winning the 90th edition of the Crosstown Shootout at UC 80-77. Muskies won their 1st true road game against a good team in a hostile sold-out arena. X won their 4th straight vs Bearcats for the 1st time ever in the series which dates back to 1929. Zach Freemantle became the 1st Muskie player to go 4-0 career vs Cincinnati and he did it w/ maximum impact and effort (14 points-12 rebounds-3 assists-2 steals). XU muscled thru several determined UC runs to win late after leading 41-24(+17) at the half. Adversity handled! Poise maintained and NET Quad 1 win in the book! XU is now 7-3 with one non-conference game left (Tuesday at Cintas vs Southern-7 PM on FS1). The 20 game BIG EAST meatgrinder schedule begins in 6 days-Friday Dec.16 at Georgetown-6:30 PM on FS1).

X smoked UC early-leading 13-1 3:20 in. The offense flowed. Buckets came easily after 3 of 4 passes. The Muskies smothered the Bearcats defensively. Their offense just stalled out. XU won in every stat category. UC shot just 26%FG-turned it over 9 times-got clobbered on the glass-just dominated. PG Souley Boum controlled the pace scoring 13 w/ 4 rebounds to boot. UC tried zone "D" and subbed a bunch but XU kept piling on.

Second half was a different story as UC cranked up the defensive pressure with David DeJulius hounding Boum and the Russian Bear Viktor Lahkin doing damage inside. Cincy closed quickly to 49-40 w/ a 16-8 run and it was game on.

Colby Jones saved Xavier's bacon w/ a stellar scrambling savvy 2nd half(12 points-4 boards-5 fouls drawn-4-5FG-4-6FTs an elbow in the face-a knee in the groin. Colby just kept on ticking! X kept extending the lead to double digits and UC kept clawing back. Cincy cut it to one possession(66-63) w 4:54 left. X rant it out to 74-63 w/ 3:42 to go. UC made it 76-73 on a DeJulius "3" with 34 ticks left.

Souley Boum made 1 of 2 FTS for a 77-73 X lead w/ 17 to go. DeJulius stuck a lean in "3" from the top of the key w/ 11 remaining-drew a foul and banged in the FT for a 77-77 tie. 1st lock-up since 0-0. It was a GREAT 4 point play even though he clearly travelled.

X then gave it to PG Boum and he drove hard to the rim. Fouled in the act. Time-out Sean Miller. Boum swishes the 1st FT(78-77 XU) then misses the 2nd on purpose.

Wes Miller calls a time-out when UC gains possession(0.9 seconds left). Wes had no time-outs left. Technical foul. Two XU FTS which Boum knocked down(80-77 X). Wes wanted time to plot a final heave figuring Sean would order the 2nd FT miss. UC's inbounds pass was deflected with Jack Nunge on the ball.

Xavier wins 80-77. Best closest Shootout since the Dee Davis Game(59-57 Muskie win at 5th-3rd) in 2015. As I wrote in my pregame scout, FTs would decide it if it got close. Boum made 3 of 4 to win it.

Sean Miller now 4-2 vs UC. Wes Miller 0-2 vs Xavier. Muskies closed it out with poise and an even keel. Home court was a factor but not THE FACTOR.

XU played a ton of two BIGS and Zach and Jack won the BIG Battle(32 points-15 rebounds-6 assists). Colby was the best player of the floor(my pick for MVP) but Boum was a close 2nd (21 points).

DeJulius was superb for Cincy(22 points). They should have used him more in 1st half. Lahkin dealt w/ foul trouble. He's a BEAST.

It's a building block win for XU. Bench guys Des Claude and Jerome Hunter showed well. Des(4 points +4 in 10 minutes. Jerome(2 points-3 rebounds-2 assists +8 in 12 minutes). More help is needed from Muskie subs with the BIG EAST looming. Kam Craft can help for sure. Cesare Edwards got 1st half time. He hopefully emerges as a viable BIG piece (6-9, 225-moves well-can shoot it).

Closer than I thought (My prediction 85-75 Xavier, but disaster averted. No overtime. A road win well earned and lessons learned!! We'll gladly take it.




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