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.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Xavier Turns The Blue Demons Bluer

The Xavier Musketeers followed up a tough road win with a start that seemed unready to handle the DePaul Blue Demons in a 77-72 victory at the Cintas Center.

DePaul erased Xavier's lead with 5:04 left in the first half and took an eight point lead into halftime, 39-31.

To make matters worse for the home team, the Demons parlayed an 10-0 run into a 16-point lead at 51-35 with 17:40 to go.  Xavier whittled the lead to forge a tie at 60-60 with 8:19 left.

"I saw Xavier on tape against East Tennessee.  When they get down, they drop a few haymakers on you," DePaul head coach Dave Leito said of the 20-point lead that Xavier returned from against the Bucaneers.  Xavier went to a 1-3-1 zone that rattled the Demons which forced 14 second half turnovers, contributing to Xavier's resurrection..

"We had to match their aggressiveness," Leito said.  "Our 23 turnovers are indicative of us.  Most of them came from not staying aggressive.  We were tentative."

Trevon Bluiett, the Musketeers leading scorer didn't start the game due to an ailing shoulder and he was tardy to a shoot around.  Bluiettt ended up with 16 points second on the team to J.P. Macura's 19 points.  Quentin Goodin contributed 12 and Karem Kanter 10.

The Demons were propped up by Max Strus, who tied a career high set Northwestern earlier this month with 33 points.  Strus, who was recruited by Xavier, was aided by freshman Justin Roberts' 16 points.  Roberts was too quick for Xavier guards to cover until the Musketeers confused DePaul with the zone.

"I don't care about the 33 points," Strus said.  "We lost.  We have to learn from this. We have to stay aggressive and take the crowd out of the game.  We were too tentative."

The zone helped Xavier score easy run outs off DePaul turnovers.

"I think our zone hurt them," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.  "We didn't shoot well early because we took some ill advised shots.  The zone plugged some holes and they looked tentative."

Xavier was trailing by 10 points with 14:12 remaining when Mack was called for a technical foul.

"I lost my mind for a moment," said Mack, who celebrated his 48th birthday.  "I have to be better than that."

Regardless, Xavier took the lead for good with 7:09 remaining in the game.   They used free throw shooting to increase a 73-72 lead to the final 77-72 margin.

Notes:  Bluietts 16 points increased his double figure scoring streak to 26 straight games....It was the 200th career win for Chris Mack, leaving him two wins away from Pete Gillen's record 202 victories...Xavier has won nine straight games...Mack's claim of poor shot selection was justified by a season low .281 (9-for-32) shooting percentage in the first half....Xavier held a one rebound edge due to one extra team rebound.  Both teams had 10 offensive rebounds....Xavier scored 19 points from the foul line...Xavier committed 14 turnovers but DePaul had 23.

Xavier will host Butler on January 2nd at 7:00 pm.

DePaul faces Georgetown two hours later at home.

Xavier Seeks To Exorcise More Demons

On Tuesday the Xavier Musketeers avenged two losses from last season in defeating Marquette on the road 81-77.

Marquette swept the two-game series last year with wins in Milwaukee and at the Cintas Center.

Xavier has now vanquished Baylor, Cincinnati, Colorado and Marquette, who accounted for five of the Musketeers 14 losses last season.  Xavier now meets the DePaul Blue Demons who bring a 7-6 record into the second BIg East game for both teams.   DePaul lost to top ranked Villanova on Tuesday.  Now DePaul must compete against number 6 on the road in a Xavier team that has won eight straight.

DdePaul's last win was December 21 against the Miami Redhawks 83-67.

The Blue Demons have three players averaging double figures in their starting lineup.  6'6" Junior Max Strus averages 17.5 points per game. Graduate student 6'11' Marin Maric scores 13 points a game and Junior Eli Cain scores 12 points a game.

Trevon Bluiett maintains his scoring lead at Xavier with 20 points.  J.P. Macura scores 12.4 points per game.  Tyrique Jones is poised to join the double  figure club with 9.9 points per game.

The Musketeers will start the game without Bluiett.  He is treating a sore shoulder.  Freshman Naji Marshall will start in his place.  Marshall has seen increased playing time and making his second start. Marshall has an 8.1 PPG and scored 11 at Marquette in his first Big East game.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Xavier Survives Herd Second Half Stampede

It was Xavier's turn to be the victim of a comeback but they held off a Thundering Herd stampede to defeat the Marshall 81-77.

Xavier trailed by 22 points against East Tennessee State on Saturday but watched its own 20-point halftime lead disappear like moonshine at a Huntington ho down.

"We were jittery at the beginning," Marshall coach Dan D'Antoni said.  "The beat us on the board pretty good but we had plenty of chances to win in the last five minutes. The 9 in front of their name made us a little nervous."

Xavier played without starters J.P. Macura, who has blurred vision after taking a blow to the head on Saturday and Kaiser Gates, who is also hobbled with an injury.

Understudies, Karem Kanter and Tyrique Jones produced Xavier's second and third double doubles to give 11-1 Xavier its sixth straight win.

"I'm proud of our team. We're a little short on scholarship players," Xavier coach Chris Mack said.  "For us its a great win to say our best player (Trevon Bluiett) didn't play very well and be short handed.  We had freshmen out there playing a lot of minutes.  The front court played awesome."

Kanter, Jones and Sean O'mara was included in the trio of big men.

"We came out with a lot of energy," Mack said.

Xavier led 47-27 at halftime but Marshall whittled the lead to five with :21 seconds left.

The Musketeers made just seven field goals in the second half.  Bluiett, the team's leading scorer finished with 10 points, less than half of his pregame average.

Kanter scored 16, a career high and pulled in 13 rebounds.  Jones scored 14 with 11 rebounds to pick up their teammates.  It was the first time two Musketeer players turned in double doubles in the same game since February 16, 2016 against Providence.  It was the first of Jone's career.

Ajdin Penava scored a game-high 25 points with nine rebounds for Marshall (8-4).  Herd leading scorer Jon Elmore scored 16 and dished out nine assists.,  C.J. Burks scored 18 and Rondale Watson in his first game for Marshall chipped in with 10 points.  Watson is a transfer from Wake Forest.
Kanter and Jones got help from Quentin Goodin's 14 points and O'Mara's 14.

"I wish I was a smart enough coach to get Kanter, Jones and O'Mara in the game at the same time," Mack said.

Xavier has now won 39 con-conference games in a row at the Cintas Center.

Marshall will host Eastern Kentucky on Friday.

Xavier will take on Northern Iowa on Friday at 9:00 p.m.

"I'm not even going to look at the tape from this game," Mack said.  "I'm concentrating on Northern Iowa.  We talked about our makeup tour.  (Xavier has beaten three teams that handed them losses last year).  We beat Northern Iowa twice last year and they will have three players on the floor who will want to get back at us."

Xavier Entertains Marshall At The Cintas Center, Tries To Cull The Thundering Herd

Xavier moved moved up a notch in the Associated Poll to #9 after a historic comeback against East Tennessee State.

The Musketeers found themselves down by 22 points before a rally gave them a 68-66 victory.

The Thundering Herd of Marshall strolls in from the backwoods with a four-game winning streak, having defeated two teams from the Buckeye State; Toledo 93-87 in the Glass City and Ohio U in Huntington 99-96 in overtime.

Xavier (10-1) trails Marshall 13-11 in the all time series but the last victory by Marshall (8-3) was in the 1957-58 season.  They last met in 2004-05 with Xavier walking out of the Cintas Center with a 69-46 triumph.

The Musketters is lookine to cull the herd for its 39th straight home win over a non-conference opponent in the Cintas Center.

Xavier expects to get back freshmen Paul Scruggs and Elias Harden, who were benched for failure to live up to Xavier's standards.

J.P. Macura, the Xavier squad's second leading scorer sat out most of the second half against ETSU with an injury.  The Musketeers hope to have his talents on the floor against Marshall.

Marshall boasts three juniors that in the top 100 of the NCAA in scoring, the only team thus blessed.

Jon Elmore has a 24.2 points per game average.  C.J. Burks fills the basket at a 19.6 clip.  Ajdin Penava joins the West Virginia natives in the top 100 with 17.7 PPG.

Xavier's high scorer is senior Trevon Bluiett scores 21.4 points a game.  Macura, despite scoring a single point against ETSU is second on the squad with 11.9 PPG.

Xavier is looking to notch its sixth straight win.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Xavier Escapes With A Huge Comeback Win Over East Tennessee State

The Xavier Musketeers seemed to be headed south but completed its largest comeback in Cintas Center history to edge the East Tennessee Buccaneers 68-66.

Trevon Bluiett's field goal from the left of the key completed the resurgence.

Down by 22 points with a scant 14:25 mark of the second half after Bo Hodges connected on a 3-point shot after a turnover.  Xavier scored on their next two possessions but ETSU (6-4) still led by 20 with 12 minutes to play.

Xavier went to a 1-3-1 zone which bothered the Buccanneers, as the Musketeers took off on a 24-9 run to close the gap to five points with 3:10 left in the game on a Kaiser Gates 3-pointer.

Xavier freshman Naji Marshall and Buccanneer leading scorer Desonta Bradford traded layups with 1:55 left.

Marshall was getting extra playing time as fellow frosh, Paul Scruggs served a penalty for "not living up to Xavier's standards," according to coach Chris Mack.

Quentin Gooden drove for a layup with 1:30 left but ETSU's Jalan McCloud missed a layup.   Karem Kanter tied the game with a 3-point shot to set up Bluietts game winner.

“We played our hearts out. We couldn’t finish.  We had opportunities to close it out but missed some shots.  We can’t leave Kanter open like that," ETSU coach Steve Forbes said.

The Buccanners led 39-27 at halftime and built on it during the second half.

Both teams were in exam week but Mack verbally kicked himself for giving too much study time to his team.

"I gave them too much time off.  We were off four of the seven days during exams," Mack said.  "I should have had them come in an hour which isn't much time out of the day to keep our routine.  I told their coach that the best team didn't win tonight."

East Tennessee had a chance on national television to make a name for itself.  Peter Jurkin, a 7' senior transfer for Indiana scored 11 points and blocked five shots.  The Buccanneers held the second best shooting team in the nation to a 38 percent shooting mark.

“I told our guys that Peter (Jurkin) was the best player on the court tonight,” Forbes said.

As well as they played the finish left ETSU with a sick feeling.
“We had a 22 point lead in the second half, Forbes said.  "We have to bring that one home.  Xavier is a great team well coached but I thought we were the better team tonight. Our guys are disappointed.  This one should hurt.  We have to execute down the stretch.”

Bluiett had 18 points for the victors but had to shake off a 7-for-22 shooting night.  Marshall had career-high 15 for Xavier.  The Musketeers second leading scorer on the season managed just one point and three rebouns in 21 minutes.  He was shaken up during the second half and logged just 21 minutes.

Bradford doubled his season average with a 20-point effort. Jalan McCloud scored 10 and Andre Edwards scored 10 points.

Prior to tonight Xavier's largest comeback at the Cintas Center was a 19-point erasure of Purdue's lead on December 3, 2011.  Xavier trailed 55-36 with under 10 minutes.

Xavier (10-1) will host the Thundering Herd of Marshall on Tuesday night at 6:30 to try for its 39th straight non-conference win at the Cintas Center.

East Tennessee Wagon Wheels From Johnson City To Challenge 10th Ranked Xavier

East Tennessee is rocking like a wagon wheel as it arrives at the Cintas Center to take on number 10 Xavier, with four straight wins under its saber clad belt.

The Bucaneers are 6-3.  They split a pair of games with Northern Kentucky University and fell to number 7 Kentucky, the opponents Xavier fans are most familiar with.

Xaver rose to 10th in the country on the strength of four straight wins, two of which were ranked opponents Cincinnati and Baylor.  The Musketeers are 9-1 with a loss in Las Vegas to #5 Arizona State.

Xavier is trying to improve on its plus 200 home record against non-conference opponents (235-35) and claim its 37th straight non-conference victim.

The Musketeers are led by Trevon Bluiett, who scores at a 21.7 points per game clip.

The Buccaneers leading scorer is senior guard Desonta Bradford, who scores 12.6 points per game.  Jalen McCloud scores 10.9 per game. 

East Tennessee starts five seniors.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

Xavier Make Buffaloes Extinct In A Rout

The Xavier Musketeers scored 96 points for the second game in a row and exacted revenge on three of the teams that beat them last season in a 96-69 triumph over the Colorado Buffaloes.

The 9-1 Musketeers checked off Baylor, Cincinnati and Colorado who had their way with Xavier at their home courts.  Xavier is now a whopping 200 games above .500 against opponents at the Cintas Center (235-35)

Trevon Bluiett reached the 20 point mark for the third straight game with 25.

Xavier built a first-half lead as much as 26 points in the first half and held the Buffaloes seven points below its season average.

Xavier shot 60 percent from the floor and"We had a slow start," said returning senior George King.."They started fast and got momentum.  We did a good job of fighting back. when we got it to 13 we needed to string some stops together."

"If we're gping to give up 48 points in the paint, we're not going to win many games.  They are a great shooting team.  They are going to make their outside shots but we have to run them off the line and make them drive.  We didn't do that."

King scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds last season.  This year King had 15 points and eight rebounds. Namon Wright led Colorado with 20 points.  McKinley Wright scored 16.

"George King would be a mismatch for us," Xavier coach Chris Mack.  "Kaiser Gates did a great job on him holding him to 5-for-15 from the floor.  I'm proud of the way this team played.  Colorado is starting young guys and theyve lost a lot from last year but they are a really good well coached team that showed a lot of fight. scored 48 points in the paint with ninw 3-point shots mixed in.

Meanwhile, Xavier held a Colorado team to 38 percent from the floor.  The Buffaloes came in shooting 48 percent and averaging 76.1 points per game.

J.P. Macura scored 17.  Tyrique Jones had 11 points and seven rebounds, matching Bluiett for the game high.  Quentin Goodin chipped in with 10 points along with the 10 Sean O'Mara scored.

'I don't know if its a good time for exams," Mack said.  "But exams are coming. I'm going to give them three of the four days off so they can take care of why they came to Xavier."

The Musketeers have two more home games before they travel to Northern Iowa.  East Tennessee State will visit the Cintas Center on December 16 at 2:00 pm.  Marshall will provide the opposition on December 19 at 6:30 pm


Trevon Bluiett passed Jamie Gladden to take over eighth place on Xavier's all-time scoring list...J.P. Macura joined the top 30 in Xavier history....Xavier has scored 90 or more points in five of the seven home games this season...The 9-for-14 (.643%) from the 3-point line is a new season high for the Musketeers...In the last two games Xavier has held the lead for all but 14 seconds and never trailed.  They were tied with Colorado at 2-2 for 14 seconds.

Xavier Seeks Revenge Against Colorado

The Xavier Musketeers are looking to avenge the third of its 2016-17 losses against the Colorado Buffaloes at the Cintas Center.

The 8-1 Musketeers lost to Baylor, Cincinnati and Colorado last year but the 13th ranked squad, defeated the two former opponents this season.   Colorado is 7-1 but unranked with its only loss to cross state rival Colorado State on December 2.  They defeated New Mexico 75-57 on Wednesday to build momentum.  Xavier bested Kent State on Wednesday 96-70.

The Buffaloes are averaging 76.1 points per game and shooting 48 percent from the field.  They will pose a problem for the Musketeers defense which 69.9 points per game and a shooting percentage of 38.9 percent.

Xavier hopes to make Colorado its 37th straight non-conference victim at the Cintas Center where the Musketeers own a 234-35 record at the Cintas Center against all opponents.

The Buffaloes leading scorer in last year's victory, Derrick White has graduated.

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

Xavier Avoids Let Down And Rolls Kent State

The Xavier Musketeers avoided a let down after the hotly contested Crosstown Shootout and steamrolled the Kent State Golden Flashes 96-70 at the Cintas Center.

Xavier 8-1 brought a 13 ranking in the Associated Press poll into the contest and showed why they are highly ranked.

"What they've done here with this program in the last 20 years is phenomenal.  This is an elite, elite program," said the admiring opponent coach Rob Senderoff.

Xavier scored the first 11 points of the game and led 14-4 when Kent State fought back to get within five.

Xavier coach Chris Mack called a time out and Xavier went on a 6-0 run to end the half. with a 48-32 halftime lead.

 "I got asked 4-5 times about a letdown," Mack said. "You can't shield your guys from hearing people ask about it. I didn't want that to happen to us. I thought from very beginning we were ready to go. Kent State is very talented. When they get their leading scorer back from injury, I expect them to have a great year."

Kent State (5-4) was never in the game after that as Xavier picked up where they left off in the second half.

Trevon Bluiett led all scorers with 26 points  Karem Kanter scored 20.  Sean O'Mara added 14 and Tyrique Jones scored 13.

Kent State's Jalen Avery, out of Covington, Kentucky and Shroder High School scored 13 points for the Golden Flashes, two points behind leading scorer Danny Pippen.  Kevin Zabo scored 12 and Desmond Ridenour 10 to join the "double figure" club.

"It was something I was looking forward to," Avery said. "It was a great experience playing in front of my family.  If we learn from this it will help us a lot when we get into the MAC.  We won't play a team like this in our conference."


Xavier is 13-1 in its last 14 games against MAC opponents....Bluiett scored 20 or more points for the seventh time this season...Kanter's season high 20 points marked the second straight games, he has scored in double figures. ..O'Mara's 14 points are a season high...The Musketters shot 24-25 from the free throw line, hitting the first 13.  Freshman Paul Scruggs missed one of his two attempts.  "JP. (Macura) made sure Paul knew he was the only one who missed one," Mack said.

Xavier entertains Colorado at the Cintas Center at 5:00 pm on Satruday December 9.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Hometown Fans Crave The Meeting Between Cincinnati And Xavier

According to an overly poetic Ken Broo, this is the game that Dr. Naismith dreamed of when he invented basketball, hanging a peach basket as the goal.  According to columnist Paul Daugherty, the rivalry between the two local colleges five miles apart has lost its luster because it is played at an inconvenient time for the press.

Tell the latter to the Xavier students who camped out at 5pn on Friday night to get a good seat.  Tell that to a majority of Cincinnati area residents who have a bachelor's degree at one of the combatant Universities and a masters from the other.

The truth is that this game is a chore for both coaches when it intercedes with conference play but and they downplay it.  But make no mistake both Mich Cronin and Chris Mack, who grew up about a mile from each other want to win this game badly.

Cincinnati (7-0) with its history of two consecutive national championships over 50 year ago has the series edge in this 85th meeting, 50-34.  Yet upstart Xavier (6-1) that has taken a program from the tny confines of Schmidt Fieldhouse to a modern facility, the Cintas Center has become prominent in modern college basketball and has won three of the last four meetings.

Cincinnati ranked 11th in the AMusketeer squad ranked 21st in the same poll, 86-78 by shutting down Xaver star Trevon Bluiett in the second half.

Xavier looks to put a complete game together this season at the Cintas Center where they have won 232 games and lost 35.  They have beaten the last 34 non-conference guests in this building.  Xaiver is 6-1 against Cincinnati at the Cintas Center.