The Cincinnati Bearcats closed out exhibition play last night with a 66-54 win over Northern Kentucky. The stream on Go Bearcats last night was solid at times, but spotty at others, meaning yours truly couldn’t really enjoy watching the game. Luckily for everyone, Bearcats Blog correspondent Bucky Cooper attended. He wrote this report. I’ll have a couple of thoughts added on at the end. Take it away, Mr Cooper. Here’s his twitter. Follow him.
I believe UC was very aware of Northern Kentucky’s recent victory over West Virginia. The Bearcats jumped out to a 10-0 lead and didn’t look back. The starters remained on the court until the second media timeout in the first half when head coach Mick Cronin decided to put in some of the freshmen. While I see great potential in the freshmen, tonight they did not perform up to the hype. Clearly Mick was upset with the entire freshmen class, none of the five newcomers logged more than 15 minutes. Justin Jackson’s 10 first half points and Yancy Gates’ 12 first half points were the two reasons UC had a 39-29 lead at halftime. UC’s perimeter defense was a bit sluggish in the first half, they allowed NKU to convert 6 of 14 from the 3 point arc.
In the second half UC built a 17 point lead when coach Cronin decided to give the freshmen another opportunity to prove themselves. Once again, they got flustered and didn’t perform up to his standards; they were yanked out of the game. Justin Jackson put together a nice second half as well to post a career high of 24 points and 13 boards. While the stats won’t count because it being an exhibition, it’s safe to say this was his best game in his short career here at the University of Cincinnati. NKU cut it close, got within seven points late in the second half but UC pulled away for the 66-54 over a very competitive NKU team.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each player’s performance:
Justin Jackson: Best game he’s played here at UC. He attacked the glass, had a couple nice post moves, and got to the free throw line very well tonight. The thing that was impressive, he stayed away from foul trouble, he played 34 minutes. Yes he logged four fouls but the last three came within the last couple minutes of the game. If Jackson can contribute this type of performance every night, UC won’t lose many games.
Yancy Gates: Is determined. Motivated. Inspired. Whatever verb you want to use, this guy finally gets it. I kind of feel bad for people that go up against him this year. I don’t care about his stat line in games like this, even though he had a nice line of 19 points along with 8 boards. He’s hustling, playing solid defense, and most importantly being a vocal leader on the court. I expect Yancy to lead this team to great things in the 2011-2012 basketball season.
Cashmere Wright: Quiet night from him. Didn’t do much to help the team nor did he hurt them. I would like to see Cash get to the free throw line more (0 attempts.)
Dion Dixon: Got burnt a couple times on defense but when he wasn’t getting burnt, he played pretty well on defense. 3pt shot was a little off (1-4) but it shouldn’t be anything to worry about.
Sean Kilpatrick: Extremely quiet pre-season from SK. He logged 4 turnovers in 30 minutes while only scoring 6 points. The kid is a natural scorer so the points will inevitably come.
Ge’Lawn Guyn: Played the most out of the freshmen, he was the backup point guard tonight. As stated last week, I expect him to be this years backup point guard for the entirety of the season. What I liked about Ge’Lawn tonight was his quickness on defense and the fact he did not turn the ball over once.
Rest of the freshmen: Fail. None of them logged enough minutes to really give you a recap on how they did. They’re young and are still learning the system so look for them to play a lot in the early cupcake games, but they’re going to have to earn the minutes.
Cheikh Mbodj and JaQuon Parker did not play due to injuries.
Overall I was impressed. NKU is no slouch so I thought a 12 point win was appropriate. UC finished the pre-season 2-0 and opens up the regular season this Sunday against Alabama State.
Thanks for reading and Go Bearcats!
Thanks a whole lot to Bucky for the nice report. Here are a few of my thoughts.
Yancy Gates looks to be in early season form. He put up dominating numbers against a team with no bigs. Gonna see a lot of that the next 2 months.
Would like to see more out of Kila, he’s done nothing this exhibition season. He had his woes at times last year, but he seems to be really out of it so far. He’s got some time to round into shape.
Dion Dixon, my best friend, and Kilpatrick have to rebound if they are going to be the 2 and 3. They combined for 2 boards. Not good enough.
Speaking of not good enough, 1 FG in 37 bench minutes tonight. Depth could very well be an issue with this team. I know Parker and Mbodj were out, but Davis, Guyn, Sanders, those guys are going to play.
Seriously, Justin Jackson!
The phony games are over, the real ones are ready to begin. Can’t wait.
Box score via Go Bearcats