Cincinnati got back in the win column tonight with their 75-59 win over Norfolk State, pushing the Bearcats to 9-2 on the season. Following a tough loss to Xavier on Saturday, the Bearcats find a little bit of a shooting rhythm with Farad Cobb and Gary Clark lighting up the scoreboard for Cincinnati. Cobb led all scorers with 20 points while Clark was fantastic with the ball in his hands, scoring 19 points on 9-of-11 shooting with one three-pointer.
The Cincinnati scoring got going early on with a 15-0 run to open the game, highlighted by three-pointers from Cobb, Troy Caupain and Shaq Thomas. It took 5:10 of game time for Norfolk State to find their first basket. Despite the early lead, Cincinnati couldn't put the Spartans away with Norfolk State pulling within four points with just over a minute left in the first half. That would be the closest the Spartans would get. Jacob Evans III and Caupain would both hit two free throws each giving the Bearcats a 34-26 lead heading into the half.
The Bearcats came out scoring in the second half too with an 11-3 run and would lead by as much as 26 points. Norfolk State would put together an 11-4 run themselves around the six minute mark in the second half, but Cincinnati's defense was too much for the overpowered Spartans.
Leading Spartans scorer Jeff Short, who has averaged 17.2 points per game, was limited to five points on 1-of-10 shooting with his lone field goal a three-pointer. D'Shon Taylor, who averages 14 points per game, hit that average on 5-of-11 shooting from the field. Charles Oliver was held to six points by the Cincinnati defense after averaging 12.9 points per game coming into the game. The Spartans only shot 21-of-59 (35.6%) from the field and 7-of-24 (29.2%) from beyond the arc.
For the Bearcats, Cobb returned to form as a sharpshooter. He went 5-of-8 from beyond the arc and 7-of-14 from the field. It was nice to see Cobb, who has struggled for a couple weeks now, knock down some shots from distance. Clark was very effective with his 82% shooting percentage, after not scoring against Xavier this past weekend. Clark also secured seven rebounds in the game with a couple assists and a block. Evans finished the game with 11 points, knocking down 6-of-6 free throws. Octavius Ellis and Caupain only scored five points each after carrying the team on the offensive end in the past couple games. Ellis led the team with 11 rebounds and three blocks. Caupain led the team with six assists.
Cincinnati shot 26-of-57 (45.6%) on field goals and knocked down 10-of-21 (47.6%) three-pointers. Free throws remains a problem for the Bearcats where they only hit 13-of-21 (61.9%) of their foul shots.
Cincinnati hits the road for next week's contest against 5-4 VCU. The Dec. 19 game sets up the Bearcats with a great opportunity to build upon their postseason resume, especially with the Iowa State clash looming.