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Bearcats Out Aztec Aztecs

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The Bearcats and Aztecs squared off earlier tonight in what many predicted to be a defensive battle, or offensive failure, depending on your perspective. Both cases were right. This was one of those games that neither team deserved to win, but someone had to... and it was us.

Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

This game came as advertised. Hard nosed defense, high pressure, intense rebounds,and uh... very little offense.

It wasn't easy. Things started very, very ugly. The entire first half was pretty embarrassing to watch on all accounts. Clark turned into a 90-year-old woman when he got the ball outside the paint, there were multiple air balls from Quadri Moore, DeBerry was our best driver, and the halftime score was 22-20. Through the first half I heard the word "Nebraska" from other people in the student section a handful of times. Fortunately this was the same story with a different ending.

Then, things got a little better in the second half. San Diego State outscored the Bearcats 37-35, which if your keeping track means we went into overtime. We had this one wrapped up so many times in regulation, but a team that shoots an unbelievable terrible 28% from three on the season, decided to hit a couple clutch threes in the last minute to send this one to overtime.

In overtime, Farad Cobb hit a deep three to put the Bearcats ahead and they never looked back. Cincinnati ended up winning 71-62 upsetting the #19 San Diego State Aztecs. Needless to say, this was a big signature win for the Bearcats that ESPN pundits will be talking about in February and March.

In all, I think this was better for the Bearcats. San Diego State is one of the best defensive teams in the country, so you should expect to struggle a little on offense. For everyone complaining about how bad the Bearcats offensive was, I will point out that we did shoot 47.2% (25/53) from the field and 81% (17/21) from the line Still, we had too many bad misses and too many buzzer beaters against the shot clock, and again turnovers were an issue (15). That being said, the Bearcats definitely beat the Aztecs at their own game... even if just barely.

Statistic Cincinnati Sand Diego
Rebounds 35 33
Turnovers 15 18
FG% 47.2% 39.3%
3FG% 36.4% 20.0%
FT% 81% 69.2%
High Scorer* 12 (2) 17

*Not as balanced of an offense.

Individually, I really liked what I saw from Cobb and Caupain. They were pretty much the only two who looked like they knew what they were doing on the offensive end. Cobb wanted to shoot a lot more than he got the chance to. He sometimes is the only one to look at the basket on a consistent basis. Cobb and Caupain ended with the game with team high 12-points. Caupain did some SK-esk work late, getting fouled and sealing the game at the line.

But tonight was really a team effort. For this team to win it is going to take a village every night. Nine players played double-digit minutes and eight players hit multiple field goals. Coreontae DeBerry was a story in the first half. He seemed to be the Bearcats best offensive option in the post, and even though his drive to the basket ended well I hope he knows to let the guards play that kind of game. Also, Octavious Ellis player a hard 40-minutes, so I would say he is finally getting his fitness where it needs to be.

Cincinnati is now 7-2 at home and has won a big time game on national television.Next up they have VCU on Saturday at Noon on ESPNU. If the Bearcats can get a win against Shaka Smart's squad, we could see some action next week in the polls, but let's not get ahead of ourselves.

One last thing - The crowd was absolutely awesome tonight. For a game at 9:00 PM on a Wednesday night with all the students on break, I was a little worried. However, the faithful didn't disappoint and the place was rocking. You could tell the players loved it. Hopefully, 5/3 can get like that a few more than a few more times this season.

-Daniele "Da" Bologna