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Best loss in a while
by Drew Formentini,posted Jan 22 2011 5:03PM
If last weekends Xavier victory over UD (the 26th straight at Xavier) did anything, it taught us that Juwan Staten’s the real deal and that the potential of this Flyer team may be better than previously thought.
Before the game both on this blog and on air with Mark, I was of the opinion that the winner of the point guard battle would be victorious. And while Staten turned in a heroic effort on both ends of the floor against Tu Holloway, two plays made all the difference.
In the second half, Holloway’s pull up jumper with the shot clock winding down and his fade away from the right elbow, both with Staten playing superb defense, were crucial. Not only did they stifle Flyer runs, they reengaged the very partisan crowd at the Cintas Center. Staten and his fellow Flyers played textbook defense on both possessions forcing Holloway into those shots.
Unfortunately, he stepped up and knocked both shots down proving to many, including me, that he has a game that can take him to the next level.
In Staten’s defense, this was his first taste of the UD/ Xavier rivalry and he played his tail off. The freshman played 34 minutes and scored 17 points adding 3 rebounds and 3 assists. Equally as impressive was the fact he didn’t turn the ball over considering veteran guards Holloway and Mark Lyons were tracking him all evening.
Two other bright spots for UD were the play of Josh Benson and Chris Johnson.
CJ made it very clear to the Flyer Faithful that he is this team’s primary scorer. Down the stretch, Johnson connected on two triples to keep UD within striking distance. He also did a good job defending Xavier’s arrogance leader Dante Jackson holding the swingman to 1-10 shooting from the field.
Benson also stepped up and solidified himself as UD’s best post player on both ends of the floor. No one on either team was playing harder than he was in the paint. As Benson continues to sharpen his post defense, stops committing useless fouls and puts on more upper body muscle, he has the ability to develop into a very successful player for coach Gregory because his athleticism is exceptional.
Finally, it was nice to see UD play closer to their potential. While there are still several areas of improvement, it was nice to see them shoot 50% as a team, battle in the paint, and outrebound Xavier by six surrendering only five offensive boards.
The intensity was evident, too. While the stage was set by Staten, almost everyone who played seemed focused and ready to end the losing streak. Even though the streak wasn’t snapped, it was clear the Flyers took a big step forward.
The question now becomes if UD can take what they did well and bring it every night for the rest of A-10 play.
That challenge starts tonight at UD Arena as Fordham (6-10, 0-4) comes to town. Tip time is 7pm.