|Marksmanship deserts Musketeers in 76-57 loss to UCLA|
|Written by Admin|
|Saturday, 29 March 2008 15:01|
Xavier shot itself out of the NCAA tournament, be it because of UCLA's tough defense or just a poor touch.
The Musketeers' bid for their first trip to the Final Four was doomed when the shots just wouldn't fall in a 76-57 loss to the top-seeded Bruins in the West Regional final Saturday.
Third-seeded Xavier (30-7) set a school record for victories and advanced to a regional final for the second time.
But the number that finished off the Musketeers was 36 percent. That's what they shot from the field - well below their 48 percent season average. They made 4-of-19 3s.
Some of their 58 attempts were contested, others were wide open. It didn't matter. They found their mark only 21 times, and it was apparent Xavier was headed home to Cincinnati long before the final whistle.
Josh Duncan, Drew Lavender and Stanley Burrell - Xavier's three senior starters - were a combined 8-for-26, including 3-for-11 on 3s.
They made an emotional exit from the game with 1 1/2 minutes to play, getting hugs from their coaches on their way the bench.
After a career-high 26 points in Xavier's 79-75 overtime win over West Virginia on Thursday night, Duncan made 4-of-11 shots against the Bruins and was 1-for-6 on 3s. Two of the baskets came late in the game with the outcome long since determined.
B.J. Raymond, the star against West Virginia, took just four shots - and made one.
About the only offense the Musketeers could muster was the lob pass to Derrick Brown for dunks. Brown made 6-of-8 shots. The rest of the team went 15-for-50.
Xavier shot 33 percent (11-for-33) and trailed 33-24 at halftime. Brown was 5-for-7, the rest of the team 6-for-26.
Even when UCLA did something wrong, the Musketeers were seldom able to take advantage.
The Bruins committed 10 first-half turnovers, but Xavier turned them in to only two points.
UCLA started the second half with an 18-6 run to go up 51-30. The Musketeers cut it to 53-41 for an instant, but that was as close as it got.
Coach Sean Miller, who might be on his way to a new job in Indiana, could do little but watch.
The Musketeers will leave with sour memories of the desert. This matched their second most one-sided loss of the season. The worst came just down the road in Tempe, where they were beaten by Arizona State 77-55 on Dec. 15.