In game two of the Emerald Coast Classic, the Bearcats took on the Eagles of North Carolina Central. Of note, Ge"Lawn Guyn was still hurt and Jamaree Strickland was nowhere to be found. I have no idea what is going on with Strickland. The clear difference tonight was the ball movement. The offense looked a little more purposeful and showed a little more promise than we have seen so far this season. The turnovers were still there (11), but much better than against Eastern Illinois (19).
It looks like it may be time to give up the search for a "go to" guy this year. The Bearcats had an impressive five players score at least nine points, in a game where the entire team only scored 59. Gary Clark lead the way with 12 points, 4 blocks, and 8 rebounds, of which 5 were offensive rebounds. I really like Clark's game. He is still clearly a little uncomfortable at this level. Once he gets comfortable and into attack mode, he is going to be something special.
Ellis lead the rest with 11 points and 8 rebounds. He may have had a little bigger impact without the fouls. Following Clark and Ellis, Kevin Johnson, Jermaine Sanders, and Farad Cobb all had 9 points. Caupain had a down shooting night (1-7), but even more worrisome was his 0 assists. He had 1 assist and 4 turnovers against Eastern Illinois and I was hoping that was a fluke. He needs to be the set up guy for this team. Many of these guys aren't looking for their shots, so Caupain needs to make it as easy for them as possible.
Since we are talking about the Cincinnati Bearcats, we have to talk about defense. The defense had some good mixed with some bad. Cincinnati pulled down 83% of the defensive rebounds, but gave up 43.5% from the field including 40% shooting from behind the arc. Clark and Ellis, with the occasional DeBerry (though no Deberry blocks tonight) are fun to watch block shots. They have essentially replaced Justin Jackson's help side shot erasing by committee.
At this point, I have no idea what to expect Cincinnati to do from game to game and it is really exciting. I have no idea if Cobb, Caupain, Ellis, Clark, KJ, Shaq, or anyone else is going to lead this team in points. It is going to be a fun year.
-Daniele "Da" Bologna