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Things We Learned From Cincinnati’s Red/Black Scrimmage

For one thing, basketball needs to be back for real.

NCAA Basketball: Houston at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

There was real life Cincinnati Bearcats basketball yesterday. The team split up into two sides for the Red and Black scrimmage, with the Red team winning 91-70. It wasn’t a game that counted, technically, but that doesn’t mean it didn’t give us an early look at how this team will play. Here are some lessons the box score provided.

Kyle Washington and Gary Clark are an unstoppable duo

It’s going to be difficult to stop UC on both sides of the floor when it comes to the frontcourt. Washington and Clark are an excellent duo. They complement each other well and can do all sorts of things with or without the ball. Clark didn’t have his best shooting day (4-of-9), but he still punched crooked numbers all over the stats page, finishing with 11 points, seven rebounds, three assists, three blocks and two steals. Washington, always the superior scorer of the two, dropped 25 points and also blocked three shots.

Another interesting development came from beyond the arc, where the duo combined to go 4-of-5. If these two can stretch the floor and bang in the paint, it’s going to be tough sledding for anybody who tries to defend them.

Cane Broome isn’t just a scorer

We knew that Broome could score. He netted more than 20 points per game during his Northeast Conference Player of the Year campaign for Sacred Heart, but the transfer point guard now has more talent at his side. He clearly knows that, as he didn’t just work for his own shot in the scrimmage. He finished with 20 points, so the scoring is still good, but he also had 10 assists, splitting time between the Red and Black teams.

Jacob Evans will have at least one triple-double this season

If you are looking for UC’s candidate for American Athletic Conference Player of the Year, look no further. Evans can shoot the lights out but his development beyond that has been good to see. He is ready to take the next step and be more than just a scorer. He didn’t have his best shooting effort in the scrimmage (5-of-16 overall, 1-of-6 from three-point range), but he helped his side in other ways. He grabbed 10 rebounds and also deferred to open guys, throwing out seven assists. A more well-rounded Evans will present another layer to this team.

Eliel Nsoseme should be the fifth frontcourt option

The starting spots down low are locked in, as are the backup posts (hello, Tre Scott and Nysier Brooks), but Nsoseme is a newcomer who deserves to get some minutes. He recorded a double-double of 10 points and 10 rebounds in 24 minutes yesterday, showing he can hang.

Keith Williams came to score

Mick Cronin clearly wanted to see what he had in Williams and Trevor Moore, as they played 37 and 36 minutes, respectively. Williams made more of a positive impression with his time, as he netted 20 points. He wasn’t very efficient, going 9-of-21 from the field with six turnovers, but any worry that he’d be shy are completely gone. Williams is going to shoot. A lot.

Expect improved ball movement

Improving offensive returns for the Bearcats in the last few years have been helped by the addition of more talented scorers like Washington and Evans. But more willingness to share the ball and not just go into one-on-one sets has been important as well. The Bearcats ranked 31st in the country in assists last season and they may be even better than that this year. Broome and Evans both set up teammates well, as did Jarron Cumberland, who also had seven assists. Plus last year’s team leader in assists percentage, Justin Jennifer, who only played 20 minutes in the scrimmage, is still in the mix.

I see you, Nysier Brooks

It would be foolish to ignore the work put in by Brooks in the scrimmage. He had 14 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks. It may be an overreaction, but Brooks is going to take a big step as a sophomore.