Cincinnati won its season opener with big offense. The No. 24 Bearcats won their second game of the season by tightening up on defense and pulling away down the stretch, topping the Albany Great Danes 74-51 in the second satellite game of the Naismith Hall of Fame Tip-Off at Fifth Third Arena.
The Bearcats forced 22 turnovers and held Albany to 42 percent shooting in the 23-point victory. Those 22 takeaways, 13 of which came by way of steals, led to 24 points.
In addition, UC did something it had trouble with last year, clamping down on the Great Danes from 3-point range, holding them to 2-of-14 from distance. The Bearcats didn’t have a big edge in rebounds (34-33) but did do a better job in creating second-chance points, scoring 21 off of 15 offensive rebounds.
As for individual efforts, Jacob Evans was the leading scorer for the second-straight game, dropping in 19 points on 5-of-11 shooting. He also added three assists and as many rebounds and steals. Kyle Washington netted 13 points and much hyped freshman Jarron Cumberland tagged on 11 off the bench on 4-of-6 shooting during 19 minutes of play. Troy Caupain didn’t score much (eight points) but he contributed five assists and was a pest on defense, collecting four steals.
Not everything went right for UC in the win, as there were seven ties and 12 lead changes, while the Bearcats struggled from beyond the arc (5-of-21) and at the free-throw line (13-of-20). Additionally, Gary Clark had some trouble getting going, committing four personal fouls while netting only two points on 1-of-6 shooting to go with four boards. However, by shooting 57.6 percent from the field in the final 20 minutes, they were able to turn a two-point halftime lead (29-27) into a comfortable victory.
Albany got 13 points from David Nichols and 12 from Joe Cremo in the losing effort.
With a 2-0 record and a No. 24 ranking in hand, UC will now prepare for a showdown with No. 21 Rhode Island at Mohegan Sun Arena on Saturday as the Tip-Off event continues.