No. 21 Xavier upends crosstown rival and No. 11 Cincinnati

By Jeff Wallner, The Sports Xchange  |  Dec. 2, 2017 at 9:36 PM
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CINCINNATI -- Trevon Bluiett scored 28 points and Kerem Kanter added 17 off the bench, lifting No. 21 Xavier to an 89-76 victory over No. 11 Cincinnati in the Crosstown Shootout on Saturday at Cintas Center.

The win capped a big week for Xavier (7-1), which was coming off a 13-point win over No. 16 Baylor on Tuesday.

After being dominated on the boards, particularly on the offensive end in last year's loss at Cincinnati, Xavier reversed course on Saturday, outrebounding the Bearcats 45-37 with a 19-5 advantage in second-chance points.

Jacob Evans III led Cincinnati (6-1) with 23 points, Cane Broome had 16 and Jarron Cumberland scored 14 of his 15 points in the second half.

The Bearcats' defense gave the Musketeers fits in the second half. Xavier has had issues with turnovers at times this season and it committed 15 on Saturday, nine in the second half.

In last year's matchup at Fifth Third Arena, the Bearcats scored 30 points off 19 offensive rebounds in an 86-78 victory. That frontcourt advantage was expected to be in UC's favor again on Saturday, but Xavier asserted itself inside early in the game.

Bluiett who was limited to 10 points in the win over Baylor due to a sore back, hit his first 3-pointer on Saturday to put the Musketeers ahead 9-1.

The Bearcats' first field goal came with 15:14 left in the first half on Gary Clark's 3-pointer. Clark finished with 14 points.

Sean O'Mara's layup put Xavier ahead 15-5, prompting a UC timeout. At that point, XU was outscoring the Bearcats 12-0 in the paint.

Xavier's lead grew to 21-5 on Bluiett's second 3-pointer. Kanter drained a pair of 3s during a personal 8-0 run, putting XU ahead 29-13.

The Musketeers led by as many as 17 points in the half. They took a 43-30 lead into halftime behind 13 points from Bluiett. Clark had 10 and Broome 12 in the first half for Cincinnati.

Xavier began the second half with a 12-4 run. J.P. Macura's layup pushed the Musketeers' lead to 55-34.

The Bearcats' pressure defense sparked a run midway through the second half, as UC cut a 23-point lead to 14 with fewer than eight minutes remaining.

But Cincinnati couldn't complete the comeback to avoid its first loss.

NOTES: Xavier has won four of the past five meetings, eight of 11, and 15 of the previous 22. ... The Musketeers have won 35 straight nonconference home games dating to the 2012-13 season, including seven straight against the Bearcats. ... Cincinnati leads 50-35 in the all-time series, which dates to 1928. ... The Bearcats' schedule toughens in December, beginning with Xavier, then games against No. 6 Florida and at UCLA.

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