It wasn’t regular season college basketball, but it was close. The Cincinnati Bearcats played their first exhibition game of 2017 yesterday and looked very good doing so, crushing Bellarmine by a score of 89-61.
Minutes were spread around the entire roster, with Gary Clark, Jarron Cumberland and Justin Jenifer the team leaders, each playing 22 minutes. Eleven players logged at least 10 minutes, including freshmen Trevor Moore (17 minutes), Keith Williams (21) and Eliel Nsoseme (11).
Kyle Washington led the charge, scoring 15 points in as many minutes, making 6-of-11 field goal tries, including 1-of-3 from beyond the arc. He also secured four rebounds. Clark was up to his old tricks as well, adding five boards and three blocks to his seven points, which came on 3-of-5 shooting. Clearly Washington and Clark are going to be an incredible duo down low, but both hit a triple in the exhibition so expect a bit more spacing as well.
Both Williams and Moore showed the scoring acumen that made them such intriguing prospects, netting 12 and 11 points, respectively. Williams did all his work from inside the three-point line (6-of-10), while Moore let it fly from long range, nailing three treys. Cumberland (12 points) and Nysier Brooks (11) each finished in double figures as well. The sudden development of Brooks as an offensive contributor has been fun to watch. Whether or not that translates into the regular season remains to be seen, obviously, but if his scoring touch has improved, he’ll be pushing for more minutes.
Both Jacob Evans (two points, three assists) and Cane Broome (five points, four assists), were more subdued on the scoring side of things, which will certainly change as both should be playing with their eyes on the basket rather than on distributing. Still, a willingness to share the ball from two of the best scorers on the roster shows how balanced this team is.
Obviously, all of the results from this game (including a 54-16 advantage in points in the paint) need to be taken with a giant grain of salt. Teams like Wichita State, Xavier and other challengers are not going to be as easily dispatched as Bellarmine. But this little appetizer should satiate us a little until UC tips off the regular season on Nov. 10 against Savannah State.