Cincinnati, OH – It was a whiteout and an electric atmosphere at Cintas Center, for the matchup of the two crosstown rivals, No. 21 Xavier vs. No.11 Cincinnati. The crowd was fired up from the opening tip and they were not disappointed, as Xavier jumped out to an 11-2 run just four minutes into the contest. Cincinnati’s full court pressure defense was no problem for the Musketeers as Xavier would roll to a coast to coast 89-76 victory over their rival.
Senior guard Trevon Bluiett got off to a fast start for the Musketeers as he was hot from beyond the arc hitting three treys early on. Bluiett has a quick release on his shot with good range. He is effective shooting the ball in many different situations; catch and shoot, or off of the dribble. The senior guard is a very crafty player with great footwork on the perimeter. He does an outstanding job of utilizing ball fakes, jab steps, and rip-through’s to create space. Bluiett opened the second half by scoring the first six points to increase Xavier’s 13 point halftime lead, which blew the game open. Bluiett led the Musketeers with 28 points on 7-of-14 shooting from the field and 5-of-10 from behind the arc.
Forward Kerem Kanter made great contributions for Xavier. The native of Turkey did a great job of finding holes in the bearcats defense. Kanter does a good job of moving without the ball and running out on the break for scoring opportunities. The lefty has great form on his shot and does a nice job of spreading the floor. He hit several big three point baskets throughout the game. Kanter also has the ability to put the ball on the floor if he needs to. He has good touch around the basket and also has a very solid post-up game as he can turn and shoot over his left or right shoulder. Kanter has footwork down low, with a nice soft touch on his shot. Kanter finished the game with 17 points, three rebounds and two blocks.
For Cincinnati guard Cane Broome was very effective throughout the game. The junior guard is pretty quick and he does a nice job of using his speed to get to the basket. Once he gets into the paint he is looking to score, he has a nice floater shot that he uses to score over bigs. He also did a really good job of getting to the free-throw line as well. Broome is shifty and agile and displayed some nice moves to get to the rim. Broome contributed 16 points, and five assists.
Senior Gary Clark played big for the Bearcats and helped them hang around by getting extra possessions for his team. Clark was very scrappy and active never quitting on plays and hustling for 50-50 balls. He played the game with great physicality and energy. Clark finished with 14 points, seven boards and two steals. Jacob Evans (23 points) caught fire late in the second half for the Bearcats to keep things interesting, however it wasn’t enough to overcome the deep hole that they were in.
With this win Xavier improves their record 6-1 and should move up in the polls after this impressive victory. The Musketeers will next take the court at home against Kent State on Wednesday December 6th. Cincinnati (7-1) suffered their first loss of the young season and will look to get back on track when they take the court next Saturday on the road at Florida.
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