The Bearcats added win 13 to the board last night, dispatching DePaul by 16 points. Before we get into the game, I want to give a little love to the crowd. The Bearcats had a season high of nearly 8 K, with over 1,000 walk ups last night. I don’t know why you would walk up anymore if you could buy tickets online and print them out, but whatever. The good news is that apparently people have started to buy in to this Bearcats squad. It might have only been 7,700 or whatever, but it didn’t look god awful on tv, and it sounded like a bit more. I’m proud of the effort of the fans. Hopefully, things keep up after the Xavier game, which is already sold out. The next 3 home games are on New Year’s Eve, USF and Rutgers. I hope attendance goes up instead of down.
Things that went up instead of down last night, were the win total for UC, and the loss total for DePaul. Things started well for the Blue Demons, because after a minute and a half of missed shots, Cleveland Melvin scored the first bucket of the game. After he missed a 3, Cashmere Wright fouled Brandon Young, who made both for a 4-0 lead. After another turnover, the Bearcats got on the board after Ibrahima Thomas grabbed the rebound of a horrible, horrible, horrible Yancy Gates 3 attempt. Thomas made 1 of 2, but DePaul quickly scored on the other end with a Melvin jumper. The Bearcats hit the glass for their first field goal, when Cash got the rebound and fed Yancy Gates for the picture below. DePaul missed another shot, and on UC’s end, after Thomas couldn’t make a putback, the ball went out on DePaul. With 14:51 to go, it was 6-3 DePaul.
Mick Cronin went with the second unit out of the break, and that was a good idea. Mainly, because Darnell Wilks scored a lay up off the inbound pass. A quick turnover led to Cash feeding Gates for a lay up, and the lead. The teams exchanged misses, DePaul 3 to 1, but Wilks would turn the tables, as he blocked a breakaway lay up attempt, UC forced a turnover, and Wilks scored after grabbing an offensive rebound. That drew an Oliver Purnell timeout at 12:38. The next 30 seconds or so were a brickfest, taking us to the under 12 with the score 9-6.
We came back to action with Dion Dixon, my best friend, at the line after he drew a foul on a put back after he had a lay up blocked. He nailed both. DePaul answered with a Melvin bucket, their first in over 4 minutes. On the other end, Larry Davis drilled a 3. Dixon forced a steal, and that turned into another Davis 3. That drew a second DePaul timeout, and marked a 16-2 Cincinnati run. Out of the timeout, Melvin scored again, this time on a 3rd shot. Mick was not a fan of so many DePaul O boards, so he called timeout. Ibby got the message, and put back a Kilpatrick miss. DePaul would miss, and Cincinnati would get points off another second chance opportunity, this time with Dixon going to the line. He made 1. DePaul got 2 more offensive rebounds on their next possession, but no points. UC got a fast break Dixon lay up. DePaul answered with a Jeremiah Kelly lay up. A quick foul on DePaul sent us into the under 8, UC up 22-12.
Out of the break, Dixon fed Gates for another dunk. Kilpatrick got a steal, but UC couldn’t do anything with it. UC missed more points when Kilpatrick missed the front end of a 1-1. Sean would get it back with a lay up on the next UC possession. DePaul blew another offensive rebound opportunity, and fouled Dixon on the defensive end. Dion made them both. The Demons turned the ball over, leading to a Dixon missed lay up, but Wilks got a put back to push the lead to 18. Out of a DePaul timeout, Gates got a steal, and pushed ahead for fastbreak 3 from Davis. Second later, Wilks got a steal and a dunk. DePaul scored the next 5, 4 by Melvin, 1 by Young, before Larry Davis got back to the line, and made both to push the margin back to 20. DePaul missed a free throw on their next trip, and fouled Thomas on the next. Thomas drilled both. Tony Freeland scored a lay up and a tip around a Thomas free throw, and that was the scoring going into halftime. It was Cincinnati 40 DePaul 21. The Blue Demons shot just 28% in the first half, didn’t make a 3, and were 3-5 at the stripe. UC was 43%, 3-9 from deep, and 11-15 at the line.
DePaul got the first points of the second half, once again off a Melvin put back on an offensive rebound. Dixon scored on a jumper from Cash, before Melvin hit a jumper of his own. Gates missed 3 shots in 2 UC possessions, leading to the first DePaul 3 of the game. Dixon quelled any drama by making a lay up, getting a steal, and eventually assisting Larry Davis on another 3. Davis got a steal, got to the line, and got 2 points. Melvin scored again, then Gates slammed another dunk home from Wilks. Kelly scored a bucket for DePaul, but the Blue Demons fouled Yancy Gates in the act of shooting as we went into the under 16 with the score 51-32.
Gates made 1 out of the media break, but Wilks got a steal, and a dunk from Kilpatrick. The dunk was an impressive windmill that brought the house down. DePaul would score once again off an offensive rebound. Their next trip, they got 3 offensive rebounds before scoring. They got offensive rebounds on their next 3 possessions as well, giving them 9 on the half. But, they didn’t score on any of them. They did score at the 12 minute mark with a Melvin jumper. They fouled shortly after, and we went into this break 54-38.
Wilks was fouled into the break. Coming out, he made the first, missed the second, but JaQuon Parker got the rebound, and Yancy Gates scored. A Cash lay up put UC up 21 again. DePaul scored, and a minute later, UC got back on the board with a Gates dunk off an offensive rebound. A turnover led to a Bishop lay up from Justin Jackson, and another turnover a Dixon lay up. DePaul scored the next 4, and with 7:30 left, it was 65-44.
DePaul scored the next 4 as well out of the timeout. A pair of Dixon free throws at the 5 minute mark pushed the lead back to 19. DePaul scored 5 of the next 7, UC getting a Gates lay up. Dixon drew another foul at 3:42, and that’s when we had the final timeout. It was 69-53. Yeah, that was nearly 4 minutes of bricks. Kinda boring.
Dixon made 1 of 2 coming back, and Davis got a lay up on the next UC possession. Young got his first bucket for DePaul. Cash Wright then got his first bucket in a while, with a steal and a dunk. DePaul scored a 2 and a 3, before Larry Davis scored a jump shot with 25 seconds left to end the scoring. Cincinnati 76 DePaul 60.
Cincinnati shot 27-63, 42.9% for the game, going 14-33 the second half. The Bearcats were 4-15 from deep, all by Larry Davis, and 18-27 at the free throw line, including a 7-12 second half. UC grabbed 38 rebounds, 19 offensive, with 9 steals, 5 blocks and 13 assists to 9 turnovers. Larry Davis led the way with another solid game. He had 20 points on 6-9 shooting, including 4-6 from 3, and 4-4 at the line. Dion Dixon had 16 on 4-10 shooting, but he was 8-10 at the line. When his shot wasn’t falling, he got his points the easy way. Yancy Gates had 15-6-2 steals-2 blocks, Darnell Wilks 11-5-2 steals, Ibrahima Thomas 6-10, 6 of which were offensive, Cash Wright 4-4 assists, Rashad Bishop 2-4, and Sean Kilpatrick 2.
DePaul shot 17-34 the second half, and were 3-7 from 3. They shot just 39% for the game though. The Blue Demons pulled down 34 rebounds, including 18 offensive, with 4 steals, 1 block and 15 assists to 17 turnovers. Cleveland Melvin had a game high 24 on 12-21 shooting to go along with 8 rebounds. He was very impressive. Tony Freeland had 11-8, Jeremiah Kelly 9-3 assists, Brandon Young 6-4 assists on just 1-11, Jimmy Drew 6-7, Krys Faber 2-5, and Michael Bizoukas had 2.
There were a few positives, and a few negatives. Let’s hit them.
- Larry Davis and Darnell Wilks lit a fire in the team off the bench. Davis has gotten back into the form he showed a few years ago, and Wilks is showing off the potential he flashed late last season. Both had key plays to get UC the lead, made key plays to extend the lead, and to hold the lead. They both D up very well, and they both seem to know what their role on the team is. In games like yesterday, where the starters had a hard time getting the shots to fall, Cash and Dixon were 6-18, someone needs to add offense off the bench and tonight it was Larry Davis.
- Dion Dixon. I say this not because I always say Dion Dixon is my best friend, but because of the way Dixon played last night. His shot was not there. Like he took 2 threes that were airballs not there. But, like a savvy player, Dixon got himself to the line. Being the best free throw shooter on the team that isn’t Rashad Bishop, Dixon hit 8 of 10. Getting your points when you shot isn’t falling is the sign of a mature player, and one that knows what to do with the ball.
- Ibrahima Thomas. It was Thomas who sat on the bench for the most part when Wilks got minutes the second half, but Ibrahima Thomas does what Ibrahima Thomas does, and that’s rebound the basketball. In 18 minutes, he had 10 rebounds. 6 of those were on the offensive end. The only problem was that Thomas couldn’t really guard Melvin, which leads to the negatives.
- DePaul had 18 offensive rebounds. DePaul, one of the worst offensive rebounding teams in the country going into the game. Like I mentioned in the recap, DePaul had 9 in the first 8 minutes of the second half. That’s flat out not going to cut it. Not in this league. Not in a league where Rick Jackson inhales every rebound. Not in a league with Pittsburgh. The Bearcats have to get more rebounding from people other than Thomas and Gates. That means the guards have to start getting some. They had 1.
- I was disappointed in the effort Yancy Gates had rebounding, only getting 6. He had 4 defensive rebounds in 40 DePaul misses. Nope. Not gonna cut it.
- DePaul is another team that had a great shooting second half against the Bearcats. I’m a little worried about this trend.
The most important thing from the night, is that Cincinnati is 13-0, and 1-0 in the Big East. Before I end this post, I’d like to thank my friends at the Enquirer for letting me use their pictures. It’s a very nice thing, and the recaps would look a little boring without pictures. Thanks to them, thanks to you for reading this and following me on twitter, thanks for being a fan on facebook (become one if you aren’t), and that’s all. 13-0!