Cincinnati (2-0) occasionally went back to the trapping defense
that was its hallmark in the 1990s but had been abandoned in recent
years for a halfcourt man-to-man.
Oakland (2-3) got rattled and shot only 32 percent from the
field with 13 turnovers as it fell behind by 27 points in the first
half. The Golden Grizzlies never got closer than 14 points the rest
of the way.
Maxiell, a junior power forward who worked on his dribbling and
his mid-range shooting over the summer, hit jumpers as well as
dunks as the Bearcats took control. He went 10-of-15 from the field
and had 12 rebounds.
Coach Bob Huggins has been pleased with his team's depth and
defense. He insisted it would rebound much better in its second
game, and quickly grew agitated when the Bearcats started slowly.
Only 77 seconds into the game, Huggins called a timeout and
angrily waved all five starters off the floor after Oakland got the
first three rebounds.
It was downhill from there for the Golden Grizzlies, who were a
step slow in their fifth road game in 11 days. Cincinnati finished
with a 43-29 edge in rebounds.
The Bearcats took advantage by repeatedly driving for easy
layups or fastbreak dunks. Cincinnati ran out to a 40-17 lead by
making 18 of its first 21 shots -- all but three of them from
For the third game in a row, Oakland's leading scorer had a hard
time getting an open shot. Senior guard Mike Helms, one of the
nation's top returning scorers, went only 4-of-18 from the field --
and 1-of-9 on 3-point tries -- for 13 points.
Helms is one of five returning starters off a Mid-Continent team
that went 17-11 last season. He averaged 26.9 points last season,
but has found good shots hard to come by.
Xavier held him to 6-for-25 shooting from the field as the
Musketeers won the Black Coaches Association Classic title game by
10 points. Helms was only 6-for-17 in a 26-point loss at Michigan,
and missed 10 of his first 12 shots against Cincinnati.