Bearcats Lose To No. 17 Xavier, 64-59|
Hrycaniuk and Williamson scored nine points and pulled down nine boards, while
A no-holds-barred tone was set in a first half that featured seven lead changes and two personal fouls -- vintage rivalry. Neither team led by more than five points in the first half. UC's John Williamson scored six of his nine points in the first half and helped the Bearcats to a 26-16 rebounding margin at the break with six boards.
Both teams lost starters to injury in the rough-and-tumble second half.
Xavier's Josh Duncan had to be helped off the court after he was bumped from behind and landed hard during a tussle for a rebound.
The rivalry brought out the best in the Bearcats, who played with more passion than it had all season. The Bearcats even showed some swagger for the first time.
The tone was set when 225-pound forward John Williamson set a screen on Xavier's Drew Lavender, his burly forearm catching the 5-foot-7 point guard in the face. Later in the first half, a double technical foul was called when Xavier's Stanley Burrell and
Larry Davis and Rashad Bishop hit 3-pointers in an 8-0 run that gave the Bearcats a 48-43 lead with 6:47 to go, matching their biggest lead of the game. That's when Brown took over and scored 11 points in the final seven minutes.
UC held the Musketeers to 38.6 percent shooting and 64 points (XU's second lowest point total of the year) in the game, its best defensive effort of the season.