What happened: Charlotte 66 - Xavier 62
In a game Xavier never should have lost, they somehow contrived to do just that. Leading 16-5 at one point, the Muskies let this one get away against a sub-par opponent. Tu Holloway, normally Xavier's steadiest player, laid an egg the likes of which we haven't seen from him in some time. His 12-6-3 came with 6 turnovers and a gory 3-17/0-8/6-6 shooting line. Tu didn't have it tonight and didn't realize it soon enough.
Big Kenny was right the with Holloway, with a functionally invisible 3-5-0 on 1-5/0-0/1-2 shooting. Coming off of a week where both Frease and Holloway garnered praise, they both showed up as the worst versions of themselves tonight.
Deserving of praise were the performances of Mark Lyons and Jamel McLean. Cheek posted 25-5-3 with only 1 turnover on 8-13/3-8/6-6 shooting. McLean was one step behind him with 17-10-0 on 8-12/0-0/1-3. These two combined for 16 of Xavier's 22 FGM and all 3 Xavier three-pointers. The rest of the team posted a shooting line of 6-32/0-12/8-9, which probably went a long way towards Xavier's first conference loss.
On the other side of the ball, XU wasn't bad beyond allowing Charlotte to get to the line 27 times. Charlotte's starters were a perfect 18-18 from the line, and the 49ers closed out the game at the free throw stripe. The hijinks around the technical call was frustrating, but it's my understanding that the officials ultimately got the call correct. Xavier also allowed Javarris Barnett - Charlotte's only meaningful threat from distance - to connect on 3 of 6 3PA. All in all, a performance that the Muskies would love to forget but will be forced to remember come Selection Sunday.
Odds and Ends:
-Jerrio Green managed 17 points despite going 3-10 from the floor thanks to his 10-10 performance at the free throw stripe.
-Xavier picked up a mere 6 assists to go with their 11 turnovers. This tells me the team was over-dribbling or not rotating the ball fast enough against Charlotte's defense. Either way, it's awful.
-Dante has turned the corner from scuffling to awful, going for 0-1-0 in 34 minutes on an 0-5/0-4/0-0 shooting line before fouling out. I love Dante as much as almost anyone, but that's just not cutting it. Hurry back, Jay Canty.
-Tu and Cheek each at least equaled Kenny in both rebounds and blocks. Not a fine night for the big man not to show up.
-I could go on forever like this, but I'll leave off by reminding you to swing back by for Brad's recap sometime tomorrow.