Watching the game live the offense seemed to be just a bit off. Not outright terrible mind, just sloppy. That was what my eyes told me about the game. But the box score says something different. Now it's a given that the efficiency numbers would be better, and they were (1.04 PPP and 104.2 efficiency rating). But that has as much to do with the pace and the opponent as much as anything else. This was a 71 posession game, up from the 64.8 average over the five prior games. That's one factor, the other is DePaul. The Blue Demons are just a terrible defensive team (15th in the conference in efficiency). Simply put the more cracks an offense gets at the DePaul defense the better they will look. And that held true for the Bearcats as well.
The one thing that jumps out about this game is that the Bearcats didn't shoot the ball particularly well from deep. Thats an understatement. UC made three* three pointers on the night. Prior to tonight UC averaged 7 made three pointers per game in Big East play. The shots weren't falling early and the lid stayed on the basket for most of the night. But for the first time in a while UC adapted on the fly and attacked DePaul off the dribble and worked to get to the line. Here is the stat of the night. UC shot 28 free throws and only 15 three pointers. That is the biggest differential of the season in three point and free throw attempts. That free throw rate is one of the reasons the Bearcats were able to scrape out a win.
Gold Star Line
Justin Jackson: Jackson played by far the best game of his career as a Bearcat. Hopefully this performance will enable him to finally shake of the two month long slump that he has been having. There was one sequence which the broadcast team was quick to point out in which Jax followed up a forced cashmere wright shot with a putback dunk then settled into the press tried to trap Worrel Clahar but got split Clahar who he then chased down and blocked at the rim. That Sequence sums up the existence of Justin Jackson. That is as good as he gets right now. His final line 14 points (79.5 true shooting %) 4 rebounds (2 offensive) 1 assist, 2 steals, 2 blocks 0 turnovers.
Silver Star Line
Sean Kilpatrick: Kila was fully healthy for the first time in what seems like a month but was really just two and a half weeks. Kila got a full week off between games which was huge, because he needed it, more than the rest of the team. This was a vintage SK performance. Unlike the rest of the team he shot the ball pretty well (58.3eFG%, 57.5 TS%). But it was more than the shooting. He had a great game handling the ball, he put his passing on display and he hit the boards. The final line 16 points, 5 rebounds (1 offensive) 4 assists and zero turnovers.
Bronze Star Line
Dion Dixon: This was a game that put the bad side of Dion Dixon on display as much as the good. Of all Bearcats Dixon is the most bipolar. There are games where he makes all the right plays, runs the offense deftly and makes the crucial must have plays down the stretch. There are also games where Dixon can be as tone def as Mitt Romney in a room full of longshoremen. Taking 28 foot jumpers because it would look frickin sweet if it goes in, putting on a skip to my lou impersonation near center court and generally playing like an ass. Dixon played like an ass for vast swathes of this game. But he realized after a couple of really dreadful long shots that his jumper wasn't there today. In response Dixon went into attackmode inside the arc. He only shot 4 of 8 from 2 but he got to the line 8 times and made all 8 attempts. The final line 16 points (33 eFG%, 50.6 TS%) 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 2 turnovers.