Because my current living situation doesn't afford me the luxury of cable, there is a certain amount of games that I'm not able to see played. Thanks to the miracle of the internet, however, I can still access the box score and provide some less nuanced analysis of the game. The live gamecasts of cbssports.com, espn.com, and the Enquirer's Shannon Russell, as well as Ms. Russell's blog and post-game recaps, are invaluable resources in this kind of game reconstruction.
Apparently Coach Mack was no more pleased with Xavier's approach against UC that we here at the Examiner were, because X started the game at the post and built from there. Xavier got 11 of their first sixteen points on lay ups, dunks, or tips by forwards or Kenny. Jamel McLean in particular was unwilling to be denied; he got 19-12 on 7-12/0-0/5-6 shooting, with half his boards coming on the offensive end.
Tu Holloway bounced back nicely from his dissolution at UC with 21-7-4 on 6-11/2-5/7-8 shooting. His four turnovers were less than optimal, but - combined with Cheek's 8-4-3 on only 6 FGA - he provided the kind of guard play that Xavier is going to need to be a force in the conference season. Dante, on the other hand, continued to be stone cold. His 3-3-3 came on 1-6/1-5/0-0 shooting. He did manage to augment that line with two steals and only one turnover.
Either Xavier was playing smothering defense or URI was on a horrible shooting night. Chances are that it was a combination of both factors, but the Rams shot 14-57/3-27/14-20. A little quick math should tell you that this is horrible. Some more should tell you that they shot .247 from the floor, .111 from behind the arc, and a very respectable .700 from the line. It's probably a little unrealistic to expect Xavier to keep that level of defensive results, but having a team built around post presence and smothering defense should serve the Muskies well going forward.
Odds and ends:
-Xavier out rebounded Rhode Island 38-28. Delroy James had half of the Rams' boards.
-Xavier got 44 minutes off the bench, enough time for the reserves to score 12 points on 5-7/2-2/0-0 shooting with seven boards and only one turnover. Johnny Mazza led the charge with 3 points on 1-1 from behind the arc. Jeff Robinson contrived to foul out in 13 minutes.
-Kenny was outrebounded by Tu and outblocked by Cheek. This isn't particularly instructive, but it's mildly interesting.
-For the first time since the Albany game, Xavier had more assists than their opponents.
-Stay tuned for Brad's full recap, coming shortly.
Next game: v. UMass, 7pm Wednesday.