Last night's win over UCF can be something that is easily written as a semi-fluke if the Bearcats perform up to their standard tonight. That's the quick analysis. Cincinnati played awful but they made enough plays to be a team that just isn't good. They caught some breaks in the sense that Kasey Wilson had some wide open 3s that he missed short and that he missed long. UC was a little fortunate to pull it off.
But pull it off the Bearcats did. In tournaments, all you have to do is get that win. As I mentioned last night, we've seen the Bearcats of the past win with some huge margins then go out and lose by huge margins. We've seen them play double overtime games against Georgetown and go out and beat Syracuse the next day. You can never tell with conference tournaments. That's part of what makes them so incredibly fun. That's also part of what makes them frustrating. But they are only frustrating when you lose. The best part about a dud win is that you get a chance for a better in the next day. The Bearcats get a chance at a better win tonight.
Sean Kilpatrick scored a team high 21 points on 6-12 shooting, 2-5 from 3, 7-8 at the foul line. He had a team high 9 rebounds, 4 assists to 2 turnovers and 2 steals. Kilpatrick was also the victim of a box and one type defense that really limited his touches. His usage percentage was 26.6%. That was his lowest total since the first UCF game in January.
Kilpatrick still made big plays and iced the game down the stretch. Someone is going to force a weird gimmick defense at him in the tournament. It's going to happen. Gotta be ready for it.
Justin Jackson got it going again offensively. He had 14 on 7 of 13, but was 0-5 at the foul line. Jackson had 8 boards, 4 blocks, 3 assists to 3 turnovers and a steal. I thought he played very well for the most part. UC needed Jackson to get it going offensively and he turned a corner. Hopefully this is a performance that he can keep going tonight. His block that led to a layup was a huge swing in the game.
Titus Rubles didn't have a great game. He played defense well with 4 blocks. He was all over Blair especially. Titus did have a very, very terrible flagrant one late in the game with UCF down 2. Fortunately the worst foul shooting team in the league reared their head at that point. Rubles scored 4 on 1-3, 2-2 at the line, with 6 boards. He didn't really play great away from the blocks.
Troy Caupain played 24 minutes and I thought he played very well. Caupain had 4 on 1-4, 2-2 at the line, with 3 assists to 0 turnovers, 3 boards and a block. He was a big part of the UC run to take a double digit lead in the first half. I would love to see him take over the position completely. Guyn can play off the ball if you need his shooting and defense. The team seems better lately with Troy Caupain in the game.
Shaquille Thomas popped 8 points on 3-6 shooting, 6 of them in the second half on 2-4 shooting, 2-4 at the line. Thomas only played 8 minutes in the second half. Mick was not happy with the rest of the things Thomas did. The rest was 2 rebounds and a turnover. Not his best game.
Ge'Lawn Guyn played 16 minutes last night. He will probably play a lot more minutes tonight. But last night, Guyn didn't score and had 2 assists and a rebound. He could have had another assist but he passed to Justin Jackson, who just held the ball forever and then passed up a shot later in the possession. Guyn's inner dialog was probably yelling at Jackson to shoot. Or pass it back to him for a 3. Either one.
Jermaine Sanders played just 15 minutes, and not may in the second half, with 2 points and 2 boards. Sanders was 0-3 from 3. First game Sanders hadn't made a 3 since the SMU beating.
Jermaine Lawrence wasn't good. 11 minutes, 4 fouls, 0 rebounds. He had a turnover where he didn't look for the ball on what should have been an easy dunk.
Kevin Johnson played 11 minutes. 8 of them were in the second half. That's when all 8 of his points game. Johnson was 3-3, 2-2 from 3. That included the absolute dagger 3 to pull away. KJ isn't shy to pull the trigger. UC needed that so, so, so much last night. Great game by the freshman.
I really do not like UCF. That was the best game I've seen Isaiah Sykes play though. 21 on 8-16, 2 assists to 5 turnovers. The turnovers are bad but he was handling the ball a lot because his team sucks.
Bring on UConn.