The Bearcats improved to 18-4 and 6-3 in the Big East with a 65-59 win over Seton Hall. It was Mick Cronin's 200th win as a head coach. Congratulations to Coach Cronin.
The game was ugly. We know Cincinnati is not going to win pretty. We allowed ourselves to believe they would when Cincinnati blitzed Seton Hall with a 20-0 run spanning the last 2 minutes of the first half and the first 5 minutes of the second. The 48-28 lead would turn over to the second unit, who played terribly. They were sloppy and allowed Seton Hall to get the lead under 20. From there, SH was able to put together a run. The Pirates went on a 20-4 run to get the lead down to 4.
UC made 1 field goal the last 11:34. It was the right one. Sean Kilpatrick hit a corner 3 with 2 minutes to go to put Cincinnati ahead by 7. The Pirates had a 3 rattle out and that was all the challenge they could muster. It was a game effort from the Pirates. Seton Hall looked very lethargic coming out of the locker room to start the second half. Kevin Willard called 3 timeouts in 5 minutes. Luckily for us, unfortunately for them, the deficit was much too large and the Pirates don't have the fire power to climb out of a hole like that.
The offense is an issue. UC attempted 27 free throws, although that was a bit deceiving because 8 were in the last minute and 6 were in the last 30 seconds when the game was over. Driving is a huge part of the offense. During the first 5 minutes, things were moving against the Seton Hall zone. Guys kicked the ball around for 3s, they got to the line a couple times. Then the standing around and shoot jump shots offense reared it's ugly head. The percentages don't lie, this isn't a jump shooting team. 3 pointers definitely are a part of the offense, but not when you stand around for 20 seconds.
Let's embrace the facts. This team is going to win ugly. Every game is going to be ugly. Unless something amazing happens, they aren't going to score 70 points. If I ever pick them to score 70 again, yell at me. Yell nice things at me, but yell at me. College basketball can be a glorious game to watch. Indiana and Michigan State last Sunday was great. It can also be a thing you slog through. I hate to break this to all of you, but Cincinnati is a slog team. Lots of fouls will be called. Lots of shots will be missed. What is this offense will be said many times. None of it matters as long as Cincinnati wins. And they are winning.
Let's shout out a couple of the stars of the game quickly. Sean Kilpatrick had a game high 21. It was on 8-19 shooting. Not his most efficient game. He had a team high 7 rebounds. Cashmere Wright had 17 points on 4-13, but he was 7-7 from the free throw line. He had 1 steal. That ties him with Darnell Burton for second most all time. He is 5 behind the leader. That should come sometime this month. JaQuon Parker had 9 on the strength of 6-8 at the foul line.
18-4, 6-3 looks pretty sweet to me. Time to finish off the 2 game road trip with a win at Providence. Go Bearcats.
Box score via SI