You may have heard this before, but Cincinnati is really good at defense. How good? They are 5th in the country in points allowed per game at 54.5. When a team has a really good stat, such as this one, I never expect them to reach their averages. I expect that it was due to a small sample size and as the season progresses reality will pull them away to a more typical number. Today, I was wrong. Cincinnati drastically improved that average by holding UCF to 46 points, making tonight the second best defense effort (at least by ppg) the Bearcats have put on this season (held SFU to 37).
I know, I know - Points aren't everything. To that point Cincinnati also held the Knights to 32.7% shooting, and a woeful 4-17 from behind the arc. They also posted 8 steals, including 3 from Caupain, and 6 blocks, with Ellis and Clark denying two a piece. In terms of closing out the game, Cincinnati didn't allow a field goal in the last 4:37... Somewhere in America - Mick Croning is smiling.
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Like others, I was a little nervous about this one. Yes UCF came in 2-5 in the AAC, but four of those losses were by single-digits and against the top of the conference (UCONN, Temple, Tulsa & SMU). Actually, all of their conference losses were against the top six teams in the conference (other than Cincinnati, which changed tonight). On top of that, Troy Caupain was a little under the weather having to take an IV this morning. That being said - The game didn't start very well for the Bearcats. Cincinnati was down 18-12 with 9:55 to go in the first half and Kasey Wilson seemed to get every possible offensive board for Central Florida (ended with a season high 11 rebounds).
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Things settled down after a while, and Cincinnati took the lead 21-19 with 7:01 left to go in the first half - Off a three from Quadri Moore. Though it was close the rest of the way, UCF never regained the lead after that.
Next up, Cincinnati welcomes UCONN to Fifth Third Arena on Thursday (1/29/15) at 8:00PM. The game will be aired on ESPN2, so hopefully we (team and crowd) can put on a good show. Plus, revenge games are always fun.
- Daniele "Da" Bologna