Bearcats Pull Away Late To Put Away Rutgers

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

For the first time since the Bob Huggins era the Cincinnati Bearcats are 4-0 in conference. The Bearcats got there by grinding against Rutgers for 30 minutes before pulling away late to put the game out of reach in the final 10 minutes of the game.

The best news of all from today's game is that these Cincinnati Bearcats are finding different ways to win games. With Jermaine Lawrence out the Bearcats are very, very short handed on the front line. The complications from Lawrence's absence were largely avoided against Houston, but showed up in full force against the Scarlet Knights.

Justin Jackson was in foul trouble all game long, playing just 20 minutes. That in turn forced David Nyarsuk to play 14 minutes, which is far more than his season average. Jackson still produced in his minutes, 11 points and 7 rebounds on 4 of 5 shooting. But Jackson has to realize that without J-Law he can't pick up stupid fouls. In their current shorthanded state UC has to rely on Jackson playing 25 or 30 minutes a game to make up for the lack of J-Law in our lives.

The difference makers in this game wound up being Shaquille Thomas and Troy Caupain. Troy wasn't his usual sure handed self, committing 4 turnovers without an assist. But he countered with 14 points on 5 of 6 shooting, including 2 of 3 from deep. Caupain is getting better and better playing off the ball, which opens up some interesting possibilities for the offense moving forward.

Likewise Shaq Thomas is having himself a month. Since the start of conference play Shaq is playing like the guy we all expected him to be after a strong close to his red shirt freshman season. He is not having a great time of it shooting the ball, 6 of 25 from the field in that stretch, but he is attacking the rim and getting to the line, averaging 4 free throw attempts per game in conference play, including a perfect 6 of 6 tonight.  Good win for the Bearcats, Temple is up next.

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