No that's not a typo. UC went to Memphis, the #18 team in America, and manhandled the Tigers 69-53. Nearly three hours later, that's still shocking to me. I'm sure it is to many of you. I was all set to write about missed opportunities because, quite frankly, there were a LOT of missed opportunities in the first half. UC found a way to actually lead at halftime. No way Memphis doesn't take that as a wake up call and stomp the Bearcats in the second half, right? Well, the Bearcats were the ones doing the stomping, to the tune of 42-27 in the final 20 minutes. Stunning.
And it all started with UC's defense as it always does. They were quicker, smarter, and more tenacious Saturday. Led by Justin Jackson, yet again, who was all over the map. Blocking shots, great defense, big rebounds, and chipping in 13 points as well. (And probably some cheeseball saying "he took tickets too"). But on top of Jackson, they got huge contributions from just about everyone else you'd expect and more.
What I Liked:
- Pretty much everything from Justin Jackson. My whipping boy continues to come through with off the charts performances. I'm not asking any questions because I don't want to know where it's coming from. 13 points, 8 rebounds, 7 blocks. SEVEN BLOCKS!! He was absolutely everywhere.
Sean Kilpatrick was 5-11 from the field and scored 18 including an absolutely crushing three pointer with the game still somewhat in question. He's still taking some bad shots, but 11 shots is much better.
Troy Caupain continues his progression. Great on the break. Under control. Hits BIG shots. 5 assists. One turnover in 19 minutes. Only 19 minutes????
- Ladies and gentlemen...Shaq Thomas got FOUR rebounds!!! And one huge offensive board and putback in the first half. He was a lot more active today. 4-9 from the field including a three. No his shot isn't improving. It still has NO arc whatsoever, but he can do other things to help out. Today he did. Even chipped in 3 steals. Very nice to see.
- Again Titus doesn't score. Hell he pretty much CAN'T score. But 7 rebounds and 4 assists in addition to very solid defense. Just wish he'd NEVER EVER shoot outside of 5 feet. EVER.
Jermaine Lawrence and Kevin Johnson combined for 13 points and some really important buckets. Johnson's three from the Memphis bench in the first half helped UC close a 5-point gap. He also grabbed an offensive rebound and gave UC the lead at halftime with a tough putback. Lawrence also had a nice offensive rebound and bucket in the first half. Unfortunately he suffered a toe injury and missed the entire second half. Hopefully this is minor because he's the only low post reserve of note right now. David Nyarsuk isn't really an option right now.
- Shooting. Now we hardly ever get to talk about shooting, but we have to do so today. 6-11 from three and 58% from the field in the second half. 58%?!?!?! For the Cincinnati Bearcats??? And they accomplished this by moving the ball very well. They just seemed to find the open man every possession.
- Defense. What else? They always play good defense. But 33% from Memphis on their floor. 2-11 from deep. And if you need it...held Memphis 30 points under their season average. 30! Can't ask for much more.
What I Didn't Like:
- Guyn did nothing and took at least one horrible shot. OK well he made one three, which is more than he's made in three weeks. But otherwise, he's proving his doubters right in the battle with Troy Caupain for the point guard battle. But they DO need him to play better. He's probably going to continue to start so he's important. He will play at least 10 minutes a night so they have to get more from him
- Some lazy passes from JJ in the latter part of the second half. That one-handed cross court hook pass is not gonna work. (you knew I'd get something in about him, didn't you?)
- Got outrebounded by 3. We can live with that in a 16 point win.
Yeah, that's really all I care to complain about right now. Sure they have things they can still improve upon, but we will deal with that stuff some other time. Let's enjoy this HUGE win!!
Bearcats will have to turn their focus quickly to Houston. The Cougars only knocked off Connecticut in their inaugural AAC game last week so you know they have some talent. Now of course UConn went and lost to SMU today to start off 0-2 in the conference...but still they're going to be right there at the top of the standings when it's all done.