Offense has been a major talking point for Cincinnati basketball pundits. Stifling defense, ball control and smart shots offensively have been the keys to success for the Bearcats, but this year, there are rumblings of perhaps a more explosive offense.
Okay, so maybe those rumblings are mostly the optimistic ramblings of sports writers, but nonetheless, it was refreshing to watch tonight's 93-63 win over Division II Grand Valley State with the Bearcats showing some offensive potency.
The Bearcats pushed the ball on the fast break, setting up easy shots in transition, but also passed the ball very well in the half-court. Cincinnati had 22 assists as a team, which helped setup for a solid performance from three-point range.
Cincinnati went 15-of-27 from behind the arc, which translates to 55.6%. From the floor, they shot 53.8% on 28-of-52 shooting and were 22-of-29 from the free throw line (75.9%).
Shaq Thomas led the Bearcats with 18 points, while Farad Cobb added 15, Kevin Johnson scored 13 and both Jacob Evans III and Troy Caupain scored 12. Thomas also led the Bearcats with six assists. Octavius Ellis, Caupain and Justin Jenifer each had four assists. Gary Clark was quiet offensively, but led the team with 10 rebounds and three blocks. Ellis added six rebounds.
The three freshmen, Tre Scott, Justin Jenifer and Jacob Evans III, got their first action in a Bearcats uniform. Scott had two points, two rebounds, an assist and a block. Jenifer scored eight points, dished out four assists, reeled in two rebounds and had one steal. Evans showed glimpses of the dynamic scorer that was anticipated, scoring 12 points and then adding two rebounds and an assist. At one point, Evans had 10 points in only eight minutes of game-action.
The Bearcats have their next exhibition game on Saturday against Bellarmine before opening their season on November 13 against Western Carolina.