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First Round Takeaways: Cincinnati Bearcats vs. Saint Joseph's Hawks

Count yourself lucky if you did not see the last play of the game last night, as it was heartbreaking.

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Before we dive into these points, I would like to share this video and honor the seniors who just played their final game as a Bearcat, take a look here: UC Senior Highlights . If you missed the game and need to catch-up, check out our recap of the 78-76 loss here.

Top Players of the game:

You have to start here with UC's own Jacob Evans. The impressive freshman posted more minutes than any of the starters (37) and led the team with 26 points. His 5-of-9 three-point shooting was clutch, providing a lift any time it seemed like the game was starting to get away from UC. Evans also posted one assist and nine rebounds, one short of a double-double.

DeAndre Bembry checks in for Saint Joseph's here posting a subtle 23 points. SJU's main man played all 40 minutes in the game, shooting a very modest 14 times over the course of the contest. With a day full of upsets around the tournament, Bembry made sure this game would not follow that trend. SJU's leading man posted six rebounds, five assists and two blocks to go with his 3-of-5 shooting from deep.

Where did the Bearcats go wrong?

Octavius Ellis and Gary Clark were almost nonexistent combining for six points and three assists. They also combined for four turnovers while going 2-of-5 from the field and a late dunk I wouldn't exactly like to go into detail on but you can read more about that here. St. Joseph's created tough shots and ultimately shut down the sophomore and senior forwards. UC actually played a very good game schematically and came with a lot of effort, which I really hoped to see from this team.

UC shot an impressive percentage from the field, clearing 50% on the day. While their three-point shooting came in at a solid 41.7%, I don't think that this team needed to take 24 attempts.You could tell from the get go that this was the plan all along, to air it out, but after UC cooled off, they were not prepared to drive to the rim, as you could see the players became gassed midway through the 2nd half.

Final Takeaways:

  • The bench was fantastic in this game, shooting 10-13 from the field. To continue the success, this needs to happen all of next year.
  • Clark needs to be more consistent in big games. In my last story, I praised Clark for how he improved from his freshman campaign.  For UC to take the next step, Clark needs to continue to improve his numbers and he needs to improve his drive to the hoop.
  • Coreontae DeBerry was a force down-low blocking four shots and is one of the few big men than can consistently shoot free throws. Cincinnati is going to miss him next year, that is for sure.
  • If this game taught up anything, it is that Cincinnati needs to find that clutch shooter that can come through when needed. Cincinnati is a good ball club, but great teams find a way to win these close games. Remember how the Bearcats lost their last game, a four overtime loss in the AAC tournament? Yeah, Cincinnati needed to put these teams away in the final few minutes.
If you're really down in the dumps and feeling cynical , you can always dive into the Queen City Curse.