What should I be doing instead of this?
February 3rd, 2012 By Brian Dill | Sports | Posted In: Basketball

Queen City Hoops

UC and X still have work to do

bildeXavier guard Tu Holloway hits the game-winning shot as George Washington forward Dwayne Smith defends late in the second half of the Musketeers' 59-58 win. - Photo: James Lang, US Presswire
Two weeks ago it was UC that was on top of their game; not so anymore. The Bearcats have lost three straight and struggled mightily in Piscataway last Saturday. The Bearcats had a less than impressive shooting night at a 35 percent clip. The only exceptions were Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates, who went a combined 13-21.

Perhaps the biggest reason for the loss was not an inability to make shots but a lack of second half defense. UC held Eli Carter — Rutgers' best player — in check in the first half, allowing only 2 points. In the second 20 minutes of play Carter exploded for 15 points and buried the Bearcats.

Saturday should be a welcome homecoming for the ‘Cats as they host DePaul (11-10, 2-7 Big East).

This is a must win for UC — any more bad losses will surely reflect poorly on Selection Sunday, and a few more quality wins should get UC in the NCAA tourney.

Xavier still doesn’t look like the same team that jumped out to an 8-0 start and a Top 10 ranking, but they will take all the wins they can get. They did just that this past week with wins over Charlotte and George Washington. Neither performance was dominating but the victories keep Xavier a half game back of first place in the A-10. Tu Holloway was key in both Xavier wins, dropping 17 points against Charlotte and 21 points against G.W. including the game-winning lay-up. Kenny Frease was the only other Musketeer to score double digits — 10 points — against G.W. Despite being on the right end of the results, Xavier must improve its perimeter defending to make any kind of tournament run. XU gave up 10 3-pointers to both opponents, allowing Charlotte’s Javarris Barnett to knock down 7-of-8 from behind the arc.

Xavier will need to tighten its defense before Saturday’s game at Memphis. The Tigers share an identical 15-7 record with Xavier and will be hoping to pad their tournament resume at the Muskies' expense. Xavier will be back at the Cintas Center on Wednesday as they host the Rhode Island Rams.

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