When Cincinnati plays a team like Wagner, you can't evaluate the Bearcats just off winning, but also how they win. The Bearcats held Wagner to a dismal 17 percent shooting in the first half (30% for the game). The Bearcats out blocked the Seahawks 12-2, led by 3 from the Octagon (Ellis).
The offensive looked pretty good tonight as well. The Bearcats shot 53.3% from the field, but were only 18.2% from three (2/11). Wagner fouled a lot, and thankfully the Bearcats somewhat took advantage hitting 71% (22/31) of their free throws.
Kevin Johnson led the way with 11 points, followed by a trio of Bearcats cashing in 10 more points a piece (Ellis, Thomas, and Moore). Johnson started the season averaging 3 points per game in the first three games. Since he has stepped up his contribution to the tune of 6.8 points a game, which is probably much closer to what we expected from him this season.
Zack Tobler sightings are great, and we had one tonight. But tonight - The "New Bearcat", Rob Blissitt Jr. saw the court for the first time. In his minute of fame, Blissitt found time to drain a three, thought very awkwardly (watch the vide - it is the very last play). Congrats to Zack and Rob.
It is difficult and dangerous to try to assert too much from a game like this. The Bearcats did what they were supposed to do. They will hit the road to take on NC State next week (12/30) at 4:00PM. Since we didn't get through the gauntlet with at least 2 wins, the NC State game has become exponentially more important for the Bearcat's tournament case.
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On the court, tonight was all around pretty positive. However, tonight's performance was a cloud of light around the darkness surrounding Mick Cronin's health. Mick was absent tonight for the second game in a row, and though reports are skeptically positive, Mick and his family remain in our thoughts.
-Daniele "Da" Bologna