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Previewing the Cincinnati Bearcats' Exhibition Game Against the Bellarmine Knights

Cincinnati faces Bellarmine for their second exhibition game heading into their 2015-16 season.

Gregory Fisher-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati men's basketball gets a second exhibition game in their preseason schedule, this one starting at noon against Bellarmine. Watch the game on Bearcats TV at GoBearcats.com.

Bellarmine is a Division II college basketball team that returns 11 players from last season's 31-4 season where they advanced to the national semifinals for the third time in the past five years. Junior Josh Derksen, junior Rusty Troutman and senior Geroge Suggs are three returning starters for the Knights this season who figure to play big roles for a team that is ranked in the top 10 of four national Division II polls. The Knights played against Louisville and fell, 71-55, last Sunday as they move closer to their 2015-16 regular season themselves. Derksen led all scorers with 20 points with Suggs and Troutman adding 11 points each.

Cincinnati is coming off a sharp performance against Grand Valley State, 93-63, on Tuesday. The Bearcats displayed their standard, suffocating defense, but also showed glimpses of a renewed effort by this year's Bearcats to put points on the board.

Shaq Thomas led the Bearcats with 18 points and six assists. Farad Cobb (15), Kevin Johnson (13), Jacob Evans III (12) and Troy Caupain (12) added their own double-digit point totals. Cincinnati shot 53.8% from the floor (28-of-52), 75.9% from the free throw line (22-of-29) and shot 55.6% from three, going 15-of-27 from behind the arch. It will be interesting to see if the shooting can continue for Cincinnati. As always, the defense is there, but all eyes are on the offensive output to see if the Bearcats may be able to take that next step with a little more consistent scoring.

Eyes will be on the three freshmen, Tre Scott, Jacob Evans III and Justin Jenifer, once again. In the first exhibition game, they looked largely as advertised. Evans III showed scoring prowess as a real impact player with his 12 points. Jenifer scored eight points himself and also dished out four assists, displaying the passing and scoring skills that have many excited about him being on campus. Scott showed a nice variety of skills that will, as expected, take some time to refine, but there was a lot to like there too. Now, it will be interesting to see what the next step is for those guys. They should all be fun to monitor this season.

Overall, this matchup with Bellamine should offer another step-up in competition as the regular season is just around the corner.