About Me

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I am a freelance writer. I've covered the Cincinnati Reds, Bengals and others since 1992. I have a background in sales as well. I've sold consumer electronics, advertising and consumer package goods for companies ranging from the now defunct Circuit City to Procter&Gamble. I have worked as a stats operator for Xavier University, the University of Cincinnati, the College of Mount St. Joe and Colerain High School.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Marty Brennaman Announces Retirement

Marty Brennaman will drop his mic after the final out of the 2019 Cincinnati Reds baseball season.

The 76-year old, a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame, will complete his 46th season in the Reds' broadcast booth.

Franchester Martin Brennaman, was born in Portsmouth, Virginia on July 28, 1942.  He attended Randolph-Macon College and graduated from the University of North Carolina with a degree in Communications in 1965.

Brennaman got his first job at WGHP-TV in High Point, North Carolina.  He moved on to work in Salisbury, NC and Norfolk, Virginia, calling games for the Virginia Squires of the American Basketball Association, whose star was Julius Erving.  He was the first broadcaster at Virginia Tech University to call both football and basketball.

In 1971, Brennaman broke into baseball with the Tidewater Tides, a New York Mets farm team.

He joined Joe Nuxhall in the broadcast booth at Riverfront Stadium replacing Al Michaels, who moved on to national prominence broadcasting Major League Baseball and National Football League games.

Always outspoken and known for "telling it like it is," Brennaman took pride in giving the Reds' fans an honest assessment of the game, often having run ins with Reds' management, players and MLB itself for critical comments when he felt them warranted.

Brennaman was called into Baseball Commissioner Bart Giamatti's office accused of inciting Reds' fans the night that manager Pete Rose shoved umpire Dave Pallone.

"I will miss the people," Brennaman said while announcing his retirement. "I've been thinking about it a long time.  I have my health and there are things I've wanted to do while I still have it.  I want to do some things, I couldn't do during the baseball season.  I know it will hit me full force next spring when everybody will be getting ready to go to spring training and I won to go to spring training and I won't be included."

Brennaman will still be affiliated with the Reds.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Xavier Comes From Behind For Second Straight Game To Best Butler

Naji Marshall made one of two free throws with three seconds left but it was enough to allow the Xavier Musketeers to escape with a 70-69 win over the Butler Bulldogs.

Kamar Baldwin continued his mastery of the Musketeers with 18 points. In six career games against the Musketeers, Baldwin has averaged 18 points-per-game.  It wasn’t enough as his last attempt was short at the buzzer.

Paul Scruggs put on a show for friends and family watching his Xavier Musketeers battle his hometown Butler Bulldogs at the snowed in Cintas Center. Scruggs, who was a 2016 candidate for Indiana Mr. Basketball at Southport High in Indianapolis, scored 23 points to lead the Musketeers. It is one short of his career-high.

It enabled the Musketeers to pull off a comeback win for the second time this week.  Xavier trailed Georgetown by 17 points but turned the game around on Wednesday for an 81-75 win.

"I'm proud of our guys fight," Xavier head coach Travis Steele said. "It start with belief.  I looked around in the huddle at the end of the game. When you get down by 10 points at the last media time out, I look around and I still felt like our guys believed.  You could tell in Paul Scruggs eyes, Naji Marshall's eyes, Tyrque Jones, who at the time had four fouls.  When we hit adversity, I really, really, really like the fight our team has.  We've done this a few times this year."

Xavier erased three 10-point deficits throughout the game.

Scruggs had to take the place of the injured Quentin Goodin who is still day-to-day with a sore knee. He played all 40 minutes.

"Paul has been keeping us together with Q out.  We have a lot of confidence in him," teammate Naji Marshall said.

"When you go from off the ball to on the ball, just being able to get the team in whatever we need them to be is big," Steele said.  "He has the ball a lot.  When you're dealing with a guy like Aaron Thompson, trying to pressure you, it is hard.  He's done a great job.  He had just two turnovers."

Scruggs led the Musketeers in scoring (23), rebounds (8) and assists (6).

The midwest rivals traded runs throughout the game. Butler used a 14-3 run over the last 3:27 to take a 31-26 halftime lead.

Butler scored the built an 11-point lead until Xavier head coach Travis Steele drew a technical foul at the 15:52 mark.  Xavier shaved seven points off the lead but went cold again as Butler rebuilt a 10-point lead.

Xavier made another run.Leading 66-64, Joey Brunk missed two free throws.  Then fouled Naji Marshall at the other end.  Marshall made both free throws to tie the game with 1:27 to go.

Baldwin was fouled by connecting on a jump shot to put Butler up by three but Scruggs assisted on Kyle Castlin's 3-pointer that tied the game again with 53 seconds.

"We missed a couple of offensive rebounds at the end.  Castlin made a big shot which he's capable of but we really didn't expect that.  I wish we had a couple plays back but we played pretty well," Butler's Paul Jorgensen said.

Butler has lost two consecutive road games by one point.  Seton Hall beat them 76-75 on Wednesday.

"It is a tough one to swallow," second-year Butler coach LaVall Jordan said.  "When your guys play with that much spirit and that much energy and don't come out with a victory, it's hard to swallow.  Give them credit for making up their minds in the second half, that they were going to rebound the ball. We had stops but we have to finish possessions. We believe in this group and what they are capable of. We have to continue to get better. Belief is a powerful thing."


Xavier guard Paul Scruggs and Butler big man, Joey Brunk were teammates at Indianapolis, Southport High School.  Southport won a sectional title with the pair in 2015-16.
Xavier head coach Travis Steele graduated from Butler in 2004.  Butler head coach LaVall Jordan graduated from Butler in 2001.  He is in his second year as head coach at his alma mater.


Butler will visit DePaul on Wednesday January 16 at 8:30 eastern time.  DePaul defeated St. Johns 79-71 on Saturday to improve its record to 10-6 overall and 2-2 in the Big East.
Xavier will travel to Philadelphia to meet Big East leader Villanova on Friday January 18 at 8:30 eastern time.  Villanova is 12-4 overall and 3-0 in the Big East pending a later game at Creighton on Sunday.

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Xavier Comeback Dumps Hoyas

Zach Hankins and Tyrique Jones combined for 42 points and 20 rebounds as the Xavier Musketeers erased a 17-point deficit to eclipse the Georgetown Hoyas, 81-75.

Trailing 39-22 with 3:49 in the first half, Xavier put together a 17-0 run that put them even with 18:29 to go in the game.

Xavier (10-7, 2-2) controlled the second half maintaining a steady seven-point margin over the last seven minutes.

Jesse Govan led Georgetown, (11-5, 1-2) with 27 points and eight rebounds.  Freshman James Akinjo scored 13 for the Hoyas.  Greg Malinowski scored 12.  The Hoyas connected on their first six 3-point shots but were 4-for-21 after that.

"We stopped sharing the ball.  We needed to make another pass to find the open man,' Georgetown Patrick Ewing said.  "They went to a zone.  We had to stop shooting threes.  When they went to the zone, we should have gotten the ball inside.  That's where we lost the game.  They had 48 points in the paint. We had 28.  They got it into the paint and we didn't."

The Musketeers snapped a two-game losing streak.  Georgetown lost its second straight game. Naji Marshall scored 13 for the Musketeers.  Paul Scruggs contributed 10 points to the cause.

Hankins scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds.  Jones had 19 points and 10 rebounds.

The Hoyas scorched the nets with six 3-point baskets in six tries to put the Musketeers on their heals.  Georgetown opened an 11-point lead midway through the first half on the strength of those long range scores and a 51.7 shooting percentage.  The Hoyas missed 15 times in the first 17 minutes of the game but collected seven offensive rebounds.

"We had our hands full with Jesse Govan.  Our guys stayed with it," Xavier coach Travis Steele said.  "We went to a 3-2 zone that got us some run outs at the end of the half. I tell our guys we have to celebrate each win in the Big East. They were getting a lot of second and third shots early we had to fix that."


Xavier went ice cold for 2:21 in between scores missing all four of its shots but closed in at 39-30 at the 2:00 mark with an 8-0 run.  Xavier scored the last four points of the half to extend its run to 12-0 on a layup by Zach Hankins and a coast to coast drive in the waning seconds by Marshall closed the half with Xavier trailing 39-34.

"We take what coach says really seriously," Hankins said.  "We took the 12 points into halftime.  None of us were hanging our heads."

Tonight was the first time that Hankins and Jones spent a lot of time on the floor together and it paid off.   They stayed out of foul trouble by switching off on Govan.  They worked on getting the Georgetown big man out of the game.

"Having those two guys together is a good look for us," Steele said. "We've been playing with four guards all year.  We only have two bigs.  As long as they stray out of foul trouble, we can do that."

The Musketeers played without one of it leading scorers and most experienced players, Quentin Goodin, who has been hobbled with a knee injury.

"Q's knee is day-to-day.  He participated in shoot around but he wasn't ready," Steele said.

Xavier is now 14-4 in the all-time series.

Xavier Host The Hoyas Of Georgetown

Will the Xavier Musketeers have a case of "Hoya Paranoia"?

The (9-7, 1-2) Xavier squad invites Big East rival the Georgetown Hoyas (11-4, 1-1) into the Cintas Center, trying to shake a two-game conference losing streak.

Marshall averages a team-leading 13.1 points-per-game.Quentin Goodin is out with a knee injury, but averages 12.6., Paul Scruggs is standing at 12.6. Tyrique Jones holds a 9.6 average.  Grad students Ryan Welage (9.1) and Zach Hankins (9.7) complete the scoring portfolio.
Xavier lost at home to Seton Hall last Wednesday at home and to Marquette Saturday on the road.

The Hoyas come into the game after an overtime loss to St. John's that shattered a four-game winning streak.

Georgetown gets most of its scoring from senior Jesse Govan, a 6'10" barrier in the middle, averaging 18.7 ppg and 7.5 rebounds-per-game.   Freshman Mac McClung has a 12.3 average in his first 15 collegiate games.  Fellow freshman James Akinjo scores as a 14.2 clip.  Trey Mourning (7.7) and Jamorko Picket (5.5) completed the starting quintet.

Xavier leads the all-time series 14-3 and swept the Hoyas in three games last season, including an overtime win at Cintas Center when Trayvon Bluiett made an improbable four-point play as time ran out in regulation.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Late Surge Allows Seton Hall To Eclipse Xavier

The Xavier Musketeers led most of the game but the Seton Hall Pirates rallied late on the back of Myles Powell to ruin the first Big East home game of 2019 .with an 80-70 win

Xavier led by 10 points with 12:16 left in the game but a scoring drought caused by a flurry of five turnovers in nine possessions allowed the Pirates to pass Xavier like they were standing still.

"We had a stretch where we had a lot of turnovers and that cost us the game right there," said Paul Scruggs. "We're playing the game way too fast. We're thinking two steps ahead when we need to be thinking one step. They're a great team. We've just got to stick it out. Just got to toughen up on the offense. We let one slip away."

Six minutes after Xavier established its largest lead of the half, Seton Hall scored tied the game at 63-63 with 6:26 left.  The Pirates outscored Xavier 17-7 over the final six minutes.

Powell ended up with 25 points and perhaps even more important he dished out eight assists.

"Myles is as good as any player in the country," Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard said.  "I loved the way he passed the basketball today.  He is really starting to understand with all the attention he's getting, there's guys open and they're going to make plays for him."

Powell took over late in the game.

"I know I'm the leader of this team," Powell said.  "My guys are looking for me to lead them.  We've been here.  We're battle tested.  We came out with a big win."

Xavier led most of the first half but Seton Hall took a 31-30 lead on a layup by Powell with 5:58 left in the first half.  Xavier completed a 9-0 run.  Powell the Pirates' leading scorer on the season took control.  He scored five points down the stretch to cut the lead to 42-38 at halftime.

Zach Hanke established a new Musketeer and Division I high with 18 points.  His previous high was 15 points on November 20, against San Diego State.  His career high is 31 points for Ferris State of NCAA Division II against Northern Michigan on February 17, 2018.

In the second half, Hanke was quiet with two points.  Paul Scruggs led Xavier with 22 points.

"The biggest thing we did against Hanke, we changed our pick and roll coverage," Willard said. "We were way to extended in the first half and let him get some easy rolls. He had way too many uncontested layups.  The biggest thing we did was tighten up the floor and make it hard for him to operate."

Seton Hall (11-3, 2-0) was coming off a two-point win over St. John's.  They had an overtime win over Kentucky at Madison Square Gardens and a 78-74 win on the road at Maryland.

"Coach had a good pre-season schedule for us with Kentucky and Maryland," Powell said.  "It battle tested us.  Now with conference play, coach has always told us the in conference play, it is going down to the wire.  Each possession is important.  We came out and executed.  We did what coach wanted us to do and we came out on top."

It was two down and 16 to go in Willard's eyes.

"It is a real good start to the season," Willard said.  "I think St. John's is one of the best teams in the league and to come on the road to one of the toughest places to play, that's two good wins in a row.  But we still have 16 more to go."

Xavier hopes to bounce back against Marquette on Sunday.

"We have to bounce back, like St. John's did after losing to these guys," Xavier coach Travis Steele said.  "Powell is one of the best players in the country.  He will surely be all Big East.  We have to take better care of the basketball."

Xavier Hosts Seton Hall

The Xavier Musketeers host the Seton Hall Pirates in the first Big East home game of the year and the season. 

Xavier won both meetings last season, including a 102-90 win at the Cintas Center, but Seton Hall holds a 10-8 series advantage.

The Pirates are 10-3 and 1-0 in the Big East with a win over previously unbeaten St. John's.  The Musketeers are 9-5 and 1-0 in the Big East with a triumph at DePaul.

Seton Hall's defeated the Kentucky Wildcats on December 8, 84-83 in overtime at Rupp Arena.  The Pirates were on the short end of a 70-65 count at home .Louisville and former Xavier coach, Chris Mack.

The Pirates have a scoring machine in Myles Powell, who tormented Xavier last season.  Powell averages 22.5 points-per-game.  The four other starters are cluster around the 10 ppg mark.  Mike Nzei 10.2,  6'10" Sandro Mamukelashvilli 10 even, Myles Cale 9.2 and Quincy McKnight 9.2

Quentin Goodin leads Xavier with 13.7 ppg.  Nazi Marshall is right behind with 13 ppg.  Zach Hanke is averaging 9.5 per game.  Paul Scruggs contributes 11.9 and Kyle Castlin is a 5,3 ppg scorer.


Friday, December 21, 2018

Xavier Vanquishes Old Foe To Bounce Back From A Loss

The Detroit Mercy Titans and the Xavier Musketeers renewed an old rivalry at the Cintas Center.  Xavier prevailed in the first meeting since 2008 with a 69-55 score.

Xavier played without starters Tyrique Jones and Naji Marshall who had injuries.   Quentin Goodin led Xavier with 22 points and  Ryan Welage scored six points on 3-pointers in two possessions to mitigate the loss.

Zach Hankins scored 12 points and pulled in 10 rebounds in place of Jones and Welage contributed 16 as Marshall's replacement.

Antoine Davis tallied 19 for Detroit.  Derrien King scored 10 for the Titans and led them with eight rebounds.

"Antoine Davis is an incredible player," Xavier coach Travis Steele said.. "There's a reason he's the second-leading scorer in the country. I thought Quentin did a tremendous job. We made him earn his points. I thought our defense in the half-court was tremendous."

The decision on Marshall came late in the day.

"Naji's back has been bothering him the last week or so. We wanted to shut him down and get him healthy," Steele said.

The two squads paired up in the Midwestern Collegiate Conference from the 1980-81 season through the 1994-95 season when Xavier left to join the Atlantic 10.  Detroit stayed put to compete in the conference that has since changed its name to the Horizon League that has Northern Kentucky University as one of its members.

Xavier (8-5) rebounded from a 71-56 loss to Missouri on Tuesday.  Detroit Mercy (3-9) lost its fifth straight game.  Both teams go into conference play next.  Xavier opens Big East play at Depaul on next Saturday.  Detroit goes to Youngstown State next Friday.

"After the game, at Missouri, everybody's head was down," Goodin said.  "I took it upon myseylf,  Tyrique, Paul, to call a team meeting. We just let out what we were holding in. I feel after we did that, everything else just played out for itself. We started trusting each other more. We played more connected, there was more connectivity. And we had fun. I felt the last few games, we hadn't been having fun"

Xavier opened a nine point lead, 23-14 but an effective timeout by Detroit coach Mike Davis at the 7:29 mark, resulted in a 10-point run that gave the Titans a 24-23 lead with 4:36 left.  Davis and King led the comeback.

"I told them we have to find our shooters," Davis said, one of which is his son Antoine.  "Xavier did a good job of controlling the tempo.  Number 32 (Welage) made some tough shots."

Keonte Kennedy's 3-point shot gave Xavier the lead back.  Ryan Welage connected from behind the arc to help Xavier to a 32-26 lead at the half.

Reds And Dodgers Provide Change Of Scene For Troubled Veterans

The Reds traded an expensive problem with the Los Angeles Dodgers, who shed their own expensive problems.

Cincinnati found a home for much injured veteran Homer Bailey with the Dodgers along with young prospects INF Jeter Downs and RHP Josiah Gray for LHP Alex Wood, who can fit into the Reds' starting rotation.  The Reds also took Outfielders Matt Kemp, once among the most productive hitters in the National League and outfielder Yasiel Puig, who came from Cuba as a potential superstar, who wore out his welcome with LA.  The Dodgers threw in INF/C Kyle Farmer and cash.

Bailey,32, was the Reds 1st pick in the 2004 draft. He was 67-77 in 212 appearances with the Reds.  The last four were filled with injury.   Downs, 20 was a competitive balance pick (32nd overall in the 2017 draft.  He played at Dayton last season, hitting .260 with 19 home runs and stole 46 bases.  Gray is 21 and was the Reds third pick in the competitive balance round of the 2017.  He was 2-2 with a 2.58 ERA in 12 starts at Greenville last season.

Wood, 27, was originally a second round pick of the Atlanta Braves in 2012.  He was ninth in the 2017 Cy Young Award voting after a 16-3, 2.72 ERA, All-Star season that year.  Wood was 9-7 last season with a 3.68 ERA in 27 starts and six relief appearances.

Kemp is 34 years old with three All-Star appearances.  He hit .290 with 21 home runs and 25 doubles while driving in 85 runs last year.

Puig is 28 and hit .267 in 125 games last season with 23 home runs.  He hit .300 in the post season with two home runs and eight RBI.

Farmer, 28, was an eighth round selection in the 2015 draft.  The right handed hitter had a .235 batting average in 39 games.  Farmer caught and played firstbase in one game each and performed at thirdbase in 22 games.


Saturday, December 15, 2018

Xavier Bounces Back From Emotional Loss To Torture Eastern Kentucky

The moods couldn't have been more different when the  Eastern Kentucky Colonels visited the Cintas Center to take on the Xavier Musketeers.

Xavier was punished by its crosstown rivals from the University of Cincinnati to the tune of a dismal  62-47 loss a week ago.  Eastern Kentucky was on a high after beating in-state rival Northern Kentucky on a last second shot to beat the Norse, 76-74.  It was their second straight win by a 95-77 count.

Xavier (7-4) was gifted 11 turnovers and took advantage of sloppy ball handing by (6-5) EKU to run away with a win in spite of a record setting performance by Eastern's Nick Mayo.

Mayo with his second 3-point shot of the game passed Matt Witt to top the Colonels all-time scoring list with 1,833 points.

"It was all about getting the win," Mayo said after the game. "I knew I was seven points away because of all the talk about it.  It is something I will look back on.. When I hit the three I knew I had it and it was time to focus on getting the win. My teammates and family and stuff talked about it.  I knew how many points I needed.  It was early in the game."

The Colonels with Nick Mayo leading the way took a 23-16 lead with 10:22 to play in the firstr but Xavier with the help of 11 Eastern Kentucky turnovers mounted a 31-10 run to lead 47-33 at the half.

"We got up seven in the first half," EKU coach A.W. Hamilton said.  "Give Travis (Steele) credit he went to a 2-3 (zone) and it changed the game.  The whole dynamic of the game changed and we made some careless turnovers.  They came in bunches then.  I think they scored almost 30 points off our turnovers."

Eastern started by pressing the Musketeers full court and shot a whopping 38 3-point shots making 12 of them.

"They play a really unique style of basketball," Xavier coach Travis Steele said. "I told our guys heading into the game they're literally going to press from the first second of the game to the very last second of the game. It was either a turnover or a bucket for us in the second half."

Eastern, however, scored the first seven points of the second half to force Xavier coach, Travis Steele, to call an emergency time out after 1:10 was played.  The pause worked as Xavier went on an 8-0 run to re-establish the lead.

Mayo, who entered the game with a 24.4 points-per-game average, scored 25 for the Colonels.  Mayo has 20 games left to improve on his current 1,851 points.

"I'm really focused on winning and we will see what happens the rest of the season as far as the scoring record," Mayo said.

His coach offered a look at the near future.

"NIck Mayo, I say it over and over again.  He's a superstar," Hamilton said  "He is a once in a lifetime player and person.  He's going to set the bar so high here at EKU, I don't think anyone in their wildest dreams will break his scoring record.  He's averaging 25 points a game and he's got 20 more games..  I'm so proud of him he fought like crazy.  I'm glad his family got to be here."

Freshman Jomaru Brown scored 17 and Dujuanta Weaver added 15 for the Colonels.

Six  Musketeers off set them. Quentin Goodin 16, Zach Hankins 14, Tyrique Jones 14, Paul Scruggs 14 , Naji Marshall 15 and Ryan Welage 11, scored in double figures.

Eastern Kentucky allowed over 90 points for the fifth time in 11 games. The Colonels finished with 23 turnovers but the Musketeers were charged with 27.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Reds Deal For Starting Pitcher

The Reds made a move to bolster their starting rotation at the winter meetings in Las Vegas.

It is the tale of two Tanners.  The Reds get RHP Tanner Roark from  the Washington Nationals in exchange for Tanner Rainey, the rookie relief pitcher who worked as a closer in the Reds’ organization.

Roark, 32, has spent his entire Major League career with the Nationals, compiling a 64-54 record and 3.59 ERA over six seasons, 141 starts and 41 relief appearances. In 2018, he went 9-15 with a 4.34 ERA in 30 starts and one relief appearance and ranked 12th in the National League with 17 quality starts. He also ranked T5th in the NL with 18 GIDP induced and seventh with 11 starts of at least 7.0 innings.

Rainey made eight appearances last year for the Reds.  He pitched seven innings and had a 24.43 ERA.  He was the Reds second pick in the 2015 draft out of the University of West Alabama.  Rainey turns 26 on Christmas day.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Musketeers Go Into Crosstown Shootout Hot After Dispatching Ohio

The Xavier Musketeers didn't take the Ohio Bobcats for granted instead they started the game with a 15-5 spurt cruised.  The Musketeers have the annual Crosstown Shootout with the Cincinnati Bearcats on Saturday.

Xavier picked up its fourth straight win over Ohio (5-2) with a 82-61 pull-away win.  Ohio trailed by just 65-60 with six minutes left but an 20-0 run put the game out of reach but lost Tyrique Jones late in the game.

Paul Scruggs took over the game for the Musketeers, scoring 21 points to stake the Musketeers (6-3) to a 10-point lead. Scruggs, however, picked up his fourth foul at the 7:00 mark.  The Bobcats took advantage and cut the lead in half after being held scoreless for close to four minutes.

"I'm really proud of Paul Scruggs with Quentin Goodin out. He had 21 points and eight assists," Xavier coach Travis Steele said.  "We needed guys to step up.  Quentin was sick this week.  I told him I wanted him to play but I didn't want to put him in harm's way."

Scruggs didn't find out he was going to take the ball at the point until late this afternoon.

"I knew for sure probably an hour and a half before the game started. It was like even without Q, we've got to execute plays and play good on defense," Scruggs played.
Xavier mixed defenses that confused Ohio.

"We showed some potential," Ohio coach Saul Phillips said.  "We were right in the game when we had three consecutive turnovers against their zone.  They do a great job of creating them but I think we can do a better job of protecting the basketball.  That was really the turning point."

"From there we were playing catch up.  You're down 10 and taking quicker shots rather than moving the ball well like we were doing early in the game."

The Bobcats were beat on defense at times in the game.

"Defensively, our rotations weren't terrific," Phillips said.  "We were good for about 25 minutes.  They are battle tested.  They certainly weren't afraid of us, that's for sure."

Veterans Marshall and Jones took control of the offense and stretched the lead to 71-60 at the four minute time out.
Ryan Welage, starting in place of the injured Quentin Goodin, connected on a 3-point shot on the first possession.   With Xavier connecting of four three's in five attempts, they opened a cushion but turned cold and threw the ball away.

By the 6:13 Ohio Jason Carter capped an 8-0 run with a layup the brought the visitors within a point.

Ohio missed on two attempts to take a lead but Elias Harden stopped the slide with a layup.

Ohio managed to take a one-point lead at the 4:00 mark with an athletic layup by Gavin  Block.  Ohio took its largest lead when Doug Taylor followed a miss by Marshall.

Marshall's first points of the game put the Musketeers within a point at 34-33.  He missed with 1.4 seconds with Xavier recovering on a team rebound but a clock malfunction was investigated.  The review gave the Bobcats the ball with a second left. Marshall scored on a short jumper and  Xavier  led by a point, 35-34 at the half.

Jones had to leave the game at the 2:11 mark. He left with 15 points and four rebounds.  Marshall scored 17 for the game. Castlin had 10.

Carter led the Bobcats with 17.

Musketeers Host Ohio

The Xavier University Musketeers will try to improve on a 5-3 record against in-state rival the Ohio Bobcats, 5-2.

Ohio comes from Athens, Ohio following consecutive wins over, Austin Peay, Iona and Marshall.

The hosts have also posted wins in three-straight games over Illinois, Miami and Oakland.

Sophomore Jason Carter leads the Bobcats with 19,9 points-per-game.  Teyvion Kirk is close behind with 16.3 per game.  6'9" senior Doug Taylor leads the team in rebounds with 8.3 per game.

Xavier had six players score in double figures in the last game against Oakland.   Naji Marshall leads the Musketeers with 13.1 points-per-game.  Quentin Goodin, who has battled injuries, has 12.3 ppg.  Paul Scruggs has 11.8.  Tyrique Jones has 10.9 and off the bench, Zach Hankins has scored 10.6 per game.  Jones leads the Musketeers with 9.3 rebounds-per-game.

Goodin will not play due to injury.

Xavier holds a 20-14 lead in the all-time series.  The Musketeers defeated Ohio in the last meeting on December 10, 2008.  It was the only meeting since the 1995-96 season.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Xavier Holds Off Oakland For Third Straight Win

The Xavier Musketeers fought off a determined Oakland Golden Grizzlie squad  73-63 at the Cintas Center, notching a third straight win.

Xavier (5-3) led the Golden Grizzlies by five at half time, dodging a last minute possession by Oakland that threatened to cut the lead to three with a key offensive rebound by Xavier Hill-Mais, who had 22 points at the break.

"We beat a good team," Xavier coach Travis Steele said.  "They are going to have a good year but without looking at the tape, I didn't see a lot of improvement from the Miami game (Wednesday night;s 82-55 win.)

A pair of Paul Scruggs layups helped push Xavier's lead to 11 but Oakland (3-5) cut the lead to three at mid half, 55-52.  A 3-pointer by Kamari Newman and a layup by Jaevin Cumberlain through an inattentive Musketeer defense cut into Xavier's healthy lead.

"It was two teams that have a great history," Oakland coach Greg Kampe said. "They had a talented group of players that lost everyone.  We were on the same path. I thought it was a hell of a basketball game. Coach Steele did some great things.  He figured some things out. We threw some stuff at them that confused him. When it counted they made the plays they needed to make."

Paul Scruggs had three steals in the half that allowed Xavier maintain the lead.  Xavier had just three turnovers in its last game against Miami but was a little less careful with the ball on Saturday with 11 turnovers many in situations that would have let them blow the game open but Hills-Mais returned after a minute to sink another basket in the paint.

"We made a couple down the stretch that aren't talent based," Kampe said. "That's usually comes from not being there before. They were home.  They made the plays."

A 3-point shot by Braden Morris made it a four-point game with 1:27 left. Naji Marshall responded with a 3-pointer to put the game on ice.

Six Musketeers scored in double figures. Scruugs and Ryan Castlin scored 10.  Tyrique Jones, Ryan Welage and Zach Hankins scored 11.  Marshall led the way with 14 points.  Jones was the game leader with 11 rebounds for his second straight double-double.

Hills-Mais finished with 30 points to lead all scorers and collected eight rebounds.  Norris made four of his six 3-point attempts to score 14 points for the Golden Grizzlies.

"Norris is a green light shooter.  We told our guys if you're not there when he catches to ball it is going to be a long night," Steele said.,

It was the third 30-point game for Hill-Mais despite breaking his nose in a loss to Nevade-Las Vegas on November 16.

"Hills-Mais is that good," Kampe said.. " He came in averaging 25. At Vegas and they're big and strong like Xavier, he broke his nose and only played 20 minutes.  He scored 30 in that game too.  He'd have had 50 in that game if he didn't break his nose."

Hills-Mais was a red-shit last year and didn't play.

"He is going to make us a good team,"  Kampe said. ."We red shirted him last year because the guy in front of him was a four-year all league player (Jalen Hayes).  He didn't want to be a backup for his last two years.  He wanted to be the man his last two years and he could be the man.  We had a lot of injuries last year and it hurt us not having him. Now I've got him two years. I'm glad."

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Xavier Inhospitable To Old Friends The Miami Redhawks

The Xavier Musketeers pulled away from its old time rival, the Miami Redhawks  from the mythical Miami Valley Conference to win the first contest between the two neighbors, 82-55.

The pair along with The Cincinnati Bearcats and Dayton Flyers all within a 50 mile radius of each other played annually at one time.  Now television revenue and conference rules limit the games among the local foursome.

The Musketeers (4-3) have now won four straight games in the series to lead 55-47 all time.  Miami fell to (3-4).

Naji Marshall and Tyrique Jones paced Xavier's inside scoring attack against the smaller Miami squad. Jones had a double double sewn up at the mid point of the second half with 11 points and 10 rebounds.

"We played better with a lead for the first time this year," Xavier coach Travis Steele said.  "It starts with the readiness.  Teams have shot over 40 percent from three-point range this year until tonight.  We were ready to be there on the catch.  Nike Sibande and Delonte Brown can light it up if you don't."

Jones finished with 13 points and 13 rebounds.  Marshall finished with 17 points.  Paul Scruggs had 12.  The Musketeers committed just three turnovers. It tied the teams record for fewest in a game.  The last time they turned the ball over that few times was in 2004.

"In practice if we turn the ball over three times in a row we have to run sprints.  It helps us learn to take care of the ball," Quentin Goodin said.  The Musketeers only had one in the last 20 minutes.  Miami had 14 miscues.

"We started the way we wanted to," Miami coach Jack Owens said.  "Bam was doing his thing but he got into foul trouble.  Xavier did a good job to bottle them up.  I think also we settled for too many jump shots.  I thought we should have driven the ball more."
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The Musketeers fell behind early but took the lead a 13-12 with 14 minutes left in the first half and expanded the lead with a 15-5 run over the last six minutes to forge a 42-28 lead at the break.

The Musketeers led by 23 points five minutes into the second half.

Bam Bowman was Miami's leading scorer with 15 points but was in foul trouble most of the second half.  Nike Sibande, Miami's leading scorer on the season, had eight poitns for the Redhawks.

"We knew Sibande is a good three-point shooter.  We just tried to know where he was on the court at all times," Marshall said.

"I had some good looks but I missed shots I usually make.  Delonte (Brown) was the same way.  We just missed shots.  We will get into the gym and work on it," Sibande said.

Xavier shot 54% from the field for the game. Miami made 33%.  Miami took two more shots than the Musketeers did but Xavier had 33 field goals to the Redhawks 21.  In spite of being smaller all over the court.  Miami had 41 rebounds.  The Musketeers had 33. The Redhawks rebounded 17 of its own misses that led to 16 second chance points.

"I'm proud of the way we outrebounded them in their own building," Owens said.

Xavier And Miami Meet As Old Competitors

What was once an annual neighborhood rivalry is being played for the first time in three years.

Xavier (3-3) had to replace its top three scorers from last season.  Miami starts three sophomores.

The Musketeers hold a slim lead over the all-time series at 53-48 and was the winner in the last three meetings.

Miami is also 3-3 with wins over Midway, North Dakota State and Army.  The Redhawks were 1-2 in the Bahamas Showcase with losses to Montana and Pepperdine.  Butler defeated them 90-68 on November 10.

Xavier beat IUPUI and Evansville but lost to Wisconsin at the Cintas Center ending a non-conference winning streak at 46.

The Musketeers are led by Quentin Goodin, who has recovered from shoulder injuries early in the season.  He leads with a 15.0 points-per-game scoring average.  Paul Scruggs averages 12.0, Naji Marshall 12.3, Zach Hankins 11 and Tyrique Jones scores 10.5 per game.   Jones leads the rebounding with 8.3 per game,

Sophomore Nike Sibande leads the Redhawks in scoring with an 18.5 scoring average.  Delonte Brown is a close second with 17.5 points-per-game.  Brown is also the leading rebounder with 6.7 per game.