Last night, the Bearcats went on the road and did something that they hadn’t done in 17 years, play, and defeat, Miami. That was a lot of commas. Pictures are courtesy of our friends at the Enquirer. Before we get too much into the game comments, the Miami ticket issue has to be mentioned. If you don’t know, Miami made walk up users have to buy a ticket to another Miami game, as well as the UC game last night. I don’t remember about hearing of such a ridiculous tactic. I get that Miami wouldn’t have come close to selling out another game this season besides this, but costing yourself paying customers so you can take their money for a game none of them would attend is fucking stupid. Miami didn’t do this for Xavier, and I’m pretty sure that they wouldn’t do this for Xavier in 2027 if X didn’t travel to Miami for 17 years. I don’t really see the logic of the Miami administration. Why not have kick ass ticket deals rolled out for other games for people who buy tickets to this one? Why not something like you buy a ticket for the UC game, and you get another game for like 5 bucks? That may not sound like much, but that’s 5 dollars you wouldn’t have earned by not selling the seat. Maybe a father and son who have never been to a Miami game go to the one last night, like the atmosphere, are informed they could buy cheap tickets for 2 Miami games down the line and they do it. That could be the kid’s stocking stuffer for Christmas. Instead, Miami chose to alienate most of their fans, and nearly every other UC fan who wanted to attend the game. I wouldn’t pay $1 to watch Miami play Ball State, let alone get fleeced at the door into paying a full ticket price for that ‘honor’. Shockingly, the reaction to this decision by the university has been negative. I don’t know why people didn’t want to get hit with a must buy promotion at the door. Silly people. What a joke Miami. I said this on twitter last night, I think I hate Miami more than Xavier. Things like this only reinforce it.
There was a game last night, as mentioned, and there is no better time than now to get into the action. Things started with one of the slowest 6-0 runs in history. It took over a minute, but Dion Dixon, my best friend, got to the basket, scored, and drew a foul for the first points of the game. He quickly got a steal, which led to Yancy Gates getting fouled and making 1. The teams exchanged misses. UC would miss again when Ibrahima Thomas was no good from 3, but Rashad Bishop scored on a put back. Miami answered with a Julian Mavunga 3. I hope he makes the NBA, because I would love hearing Charles Barkley say Mavunga. Gates scored his first field goal on the next trip, but that was answered by an Allen Roberts jumper. On the next Miami trip, Cashmere Wright blocked a Nick Winbush lay up, which led to a fast break lay up by Dixon. Miami turned the ball over again, as we went into the under 16 10-5.
UC was sloppy out of the break. They turned the ball over quickly, but Gates blocked a lay up attempt. He missed a jumper, and Miami turned that into a Winbush triple. Another miss turned into a lay up for Roberts to tie the score. Miami took the lead on a Antonio Ballard lay up from Winbush. UC quickly answered with a Justin Jackson, wildebeest, dunk from Bishop. Bishop fouled Quinten Roberts at 11:24, and that’s how we entered that media break.
Roberts canned both free throws out of the break to give Miami a 2 point lead. The Bearcats got 2 shots, but the second was blocked by Ballard after Darnell Wilks skied seemingly from the top of the key to grab the rebound in the middle of the lane. Winbush connected with a 3 pointer to give Miami a 5 point lead. UC came back with 4 quick jumpers by Cashmere Wright and Thomas around a Miami turnover. Winbush drilled another 3 to push the lead back to 4. The Bearcats would score a minute later when Thomas got a steal, outlet passed to Cash, who hit Dixon for a lay up. That bucket took us to the under 8 at 7:55 with a score of 20-18 Miami.
Roberts again started a segment out scoring, this time with a 3. After a couple of misses, UC would get points. Gates missed a lay up, got his rebound, but missed a dunk. Larry Davis got the board, got it to Dixon, who drew a foul around the rim. Dixon drilled both. UC was whistled for a technical after the play for something I missed. Rollins made both free throws, and added a jumper to make it 27-20. Dixon got it right back. He hit a 3 on the right wing, UC’s first of the game, and drew a foul in the process. He missed the free throw though. Miami turned the ball over, leading to a blocked Gates lay up attempt. But, Gates stayed with it, drawing a foul on the next attempt. He made 1. UC would cut the lead to 1 when Sean Kilpatrick stripped Roberts, leading to a fast break Dixon lay up. UC took the lead when Cash got a steal and a lay up. Ballard drew a foul on Thomas at 3:20, and we went into the break with UC up 1.
Ballard made 1 of 2 for the Redhawks, and then fouled Thomas on the third shot of the UC possession. Thomas made 1, giving UC the lead back. Ballard fouled Gates on the next UC trip, and Yancy made 1. After a Miami miss, Dixon got the rebound and got another fast break lay up for Cash. Things went silent for the next minute and a half, before Dixon fed Cash for another basket, this time a 3 pointer. That would be the last score of the half, as UC closed on a 15-1 run, with a 35-28 lead. Miami made 9 shots the first half, 5 of them three pointers. UC shot 40%, but went 2-9 from 3, and 7-12 from the stripe.
Miami scored the first bucket of the second half on a Ballard lay up. UC’s first points came when Thomas hit a pair of free throws. Thomas pushed the lead to 9 when he scored a put back on a Dixon miss. The defense picked up in the next minute and a half, as both teams had blocks, UC’s by Cash. Ballard would score on an offensive rebound for Miami, but he would foul Dixon as we headed into the under 16.
Out of the timeout, Dixon made 1 free throw, to make it 40-32. Bishop got a steal for the Bearcats, but Gates missed, but Thomas got the rebound, but Miami fouled before he could shoot, but Miami would foul Gates as he did shoot, but Gates only made 1. Miami turned the ball over again, this time, Gates followed a Dixon miss with a lay up. Ballard drew a foul on the next J Crew U possession, and made 1. Dixon missed a 3, Wilks got the rebound, leading to Bishop missing a 3, and Dixon getting the rebound and scoring a lay up. After a quick Miami missed 3, Darnell Wilks drilled a 3 for the Bearcats, making it 48-33 and drawing a timeout from Charlie Coles. That was also the score into the media timeout with 11:34 left.
Ballard scored again for Miami on a possession kept alive by an offensive rebound. A Gates turnover led to Drew McGhee making the first non-Ballard bucket of the second half for Miami. After 2 minutes of turnovers and missed shots, Thomas got fouled for the Bearcats, and for the second time in the game, made both. That might be a record. Mavunga missed a shot for Miami that turned into a Larry Davis 3 from Kilpatrick. Another Miami miss led to a Cash jumper to push the lead to 18 with 7 minutes left.
Miami got a couple of Mavunga free throws out of the break, but Thomas responded with a put back on an offensive rebound. Miami drilled a 3. Nothing happened for the next 2 and a half minutes, well nothing of interest, until a Gates block fueled a Dixon lay up with a foul. That made the lead 60-42 with 3:55 left. Miami got fouled while shooting a 3, and Orlando Roberts made 2. Dion Dixon would get fouled shooting a 3, and made all 3. Winbush made his first basket in ages, before Cash made 1 free throw. The last bucket of the game came from Mavunga with 1:38 left to give us the 64-48 final score.
For the game, Cincinnati was 21-54, 38.9%. UC went 8-22 the second half. The Bearcats hit 4-16 from 3, the second straight game where they have not shot the 3 ball well at all. The Bearcats were 18-27 at the free throw line, but 11-15 in the second half. The Bearcats dominated the glass 39-25, with 16 offensive rebounds. UC had only 7 assists, but only 7 turnovers. They added 8 steals.
Dion Dixon was the man, scoring a career high 23 points on 7-16, 8-10 from the stripe, with 7 rebounds. He got the rim at will. Want to see pictures? Yes you do.
Like I said, at will. Blame the Enquirer for having so many pictures of Dixon laying the ball up and proving my point. He was the stud for the Bearcats in the first half, and he controlled the game in the second. I’m so happy at the way he’s progressed this season. The same goes for Cash Wright, who added 12 points-3 assists-3 steals-2 blocks. I still want to see more assists. Ibrahima Thomas may be mentioned third, but he had a hell of a game. Thomas matched a career high with 13 rebounds, 7 of them on the offensive glass, and had his second double double of the season by adding 11 points. He hit 5-6 at the free throw line. Yancy Gates had 8-8-2 blocks, Darnell Wilks 3, Larry Davis 3, Rashad Bishop 2-4, and Justin Jackson 2.
Miami was 16-44 for the game, only 7-22 the second half, including 1-9 from 3. They turned the ball over 14 times to 9 assists. Nick Winbush led the way with 11, but was very silent after his 3rd 3. Antonio Ballard had 10-4, Julian Mavunga 7-8, Allen Roberts 7, Quinten Rollins a solid 6-4-5 assists, Orlando Williams 5 and Drew McGhee 2.
Mick Cronin did something a little interesting tonight. He played the starters very heavy minutes. The man off the bench with the most run was Larry Davis with 16 minutes. Of course, Gates and especially Thomas were dominating the boards, but normally Mick plays 8 or 9 guys no matter what. Unless it’s Yancy Gates in the last 8 minutes of the Marquette game last year. I was mainly surprised to see Kilpatrick play only 12 minutes. Sean seems to be a trooper, and not mind the little yo-yoing of his minutes. Which brings me to this.
I really like the make up of this team. They have all the parts that it takes to be successful I believe. They have a point guard. They have a big man who can score. They have a big man who can rebound. They have a very good defender. They have a guy who can get to the rim. They have guys off the bench who can shoot. They have a very athletic guy off the bench. They all play good defense man to man. Yeah, yeah, yeah I know it’s against Utah Valley and Georgia Southern and St Francis tomorrow, but we know some of these things are true in Big East play. Ibrahima Thomas rebounded in the Big East. Rashad Bishop always guarded the best player on the other team. We know Larry Davis can guard, and he can shoot, last year excepted. When Yancy Gates is focused, he is very tough to guard. These things have been proven in the past. That also doesn’t mention JaQuon Parker, who can produce if given minutes. Projecting ahead, you can’t tell me that Cashmere Wright hasn’t been impressive. He has done a great job of control the tempo to Mick’s liking, his jump shot is dramatically better. He doesn’t go to the rim much yet, but that can change. Dion Dixon is not the same Dion Dixon that has been in the program the past few years. His shot is consistent. He can get to the rim. He’s always been a good rebounding guard. He has taken the scoring responsibility when he’s needed to. The major difference between this and every other Mick Cronin team is that someone wants to take the ball. The last 4 years, everyone was giving the ball up, whether to Vaughn or Stephenson. Now, if the game is close, I think UC has at least 4 guys who could make a play late, Cash, Dixon, Kilpatrick or Gates. Maybe I’ve just bought into this team too hard. But, you can’t tell me what this team has done hasn’t been somewhat impressive. Something turned during the Dayton game, where I think this team bought into themselves. I think that was the game that made them believe that they could go out there and do something this season. I’m sure they thought that before the season, but sometimes you need to see it to buy in totally. I feel good about this team. I think they can compete in the Big East. I hope you do too.