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UD comes up short, again
by Drew Formentini,posted Feb 27 2011 10:17PM
This afternoon, Xavier continued their recent domination of the Flyers with a 66-62 victory at UD Arena and have now taken 11 of the last 13 contests against UD.
“We didn’t play as hard as we could have,” said Flyer captain Chris Wright of the first half where UD was outscored 37-25, turned the ball over 13 times and shot a meager 36%.
Of all the alarming performances and box scores this year, I’d argue today’s first half was most surprising. Even though very few gave the Flyers any chance at being an at-large team, a win over rival Xavier after a week off could give UD’s confidence a huge and much needed boost entering the last two A-10 games and the conference tournament. I expected fire in their eyes
Instead, they lacked effort. And hustle. And smart play.
It was clear that the Flyer Faithful wanted to win the game more than the five guys on the floor, for the first half at least.
In the second half, the defensive intensity picked up, Xavier wasn’t as sharp in the half court and the Flyers were executing well on offense.
The Flyers threw everything they had at the Musketeers. Chris Johnson poured in threes. Chris Wright made some stellar drives. Paul Williams hit a huge three down the stretch. Josh Benson poured in nine second half points.
Unfortunately, none of the punches UD threw were able to knock down a veteran-led Xavier squad led by Tu Holloway. Time and time again, Holloway was able to penetrate, find open teammates and knock down tough, contested shots propelling his side to victory.
So while the second half was much better for UD, in the end it leads to even more frustration. Had the Flyers played anywhere near that level in the first period, there’s a very good chance the outcome may have been different.
Which brings me to my final point: today’s loss was a microcosm of the entire year. Only certain guys came to play, for about 25 minutes, and came up just short.
If this team, and on a larger scale this program, wants to elevate itself to where Xavier has been for the last 10+ years, everyone needs to understand the importance of every possession. The importance of being ready to play and improving every day. The sense of urgency to never be complacent.
This Flyer team, albeit less experienced than in year’s past, never grasped those important concepts that separate middle of the road A-10 teams from perennial conference powers.