Well it didn't take long for the Cincinnati Bearcats to be ranked in the Top 25 after two blowout victories to start the young season. Although these wins were widely expected against Brown and Albany, there are a lot of positive takeaways that can make us confident as the season moves forward.
Since it was the first game of the year, we will start with teams performance against the Brown Bears. UC grabbed control of the game from the first whistle, and never gave it back. The Bearcats would defeat Brown in blowout fashion 84-55. Some performances to be very happy about were from the likes of Jacob Evans, Kyle Washington and Gary Clark. Evans led the team with 23 points on 9-12 shooting and even hit 4-6 from beyond the arc. Evans looked like the best player on the court at all times with his highly efficient shooting performance, ability to run in transition and his deadly ability to shoot 3's. A great performance from Evans to start the year is just what the Bearcat fans were hoping for.
A couple other names to take a look at from their game one outings are Clark (14 points and nine rebounds) and Washington (16 points and 12 rebounds). We expected our guards to be doing most of our scoring coming into the season but Clark and Washington were holding their own and controlling the paint. Definitely a great performance from the entire Bearcats team to begin the year.
Moving on to the second game of the year against the Albany Great Danes. This one was very ugly for the Bearcats to start off, as they couldn't really find their rhythm on offense. In fact, UC was only winning by two points going into halftime. Once the second half got started, Albany's chances of winning took a trip south as the Bearcats hit full stride and outscored the Danes by 21 in the last 20 minutes to finish the game on top with a score of 74-51.
Evans once again was atop the scoring sheet with 19 points on 5-11 shooting. Although it took him some time to heat up, Evans was able to showoff his transition abilities in fast break opportunities. Another name that stuck out in this contest was Washington, who had 13 points and has really shown a lot of promise in his first two games of the young season. The freshman Jarron Cumberland even chipped in 11 points and splashed home a couple of 3's. Although it started out close, the Bearcats proved to be top dog and come away with another W.
Although Albany and Brown wouldn’t be seen as big competition, there is certainly a lot of positives that came out of week one of the year. Evans has proven to be the biggest offensive threat on the team and, quite frankly, maybe the entire conference. It is only two games in, but if Evans can continue to be this versatile, he could honestly make a case for being the best player in the American Athletic Conference. Washington has made a huge impact after transferring from NC State. He has a stature, mixed with athleticism that make him extremely hard to guard in the paint. Those two, along with all the other talent like Troy Caupain, Clark, Justin Jenifer and Cumberland can definitely be a problem for opposing teams when tournament time comes around. We’re not there yet, obviously, and this season is still very young, but all signs are pointing straight up in terms of what the Bearcats are capable of.