Sometimes all it takes to win a basketball game is having the best player on the floor. That’s pretty much how the No. 12 Cincinnati Bearcats beat the UCF Knights last night, with Gary Clark flexing all over Orlando.
Obviously neither team shot particularly well, considering the final score was 49-38, but it was in the first half that things were at there worst. In those first 20 minutes, the Bearcats managed only six field goals on 23.1 percent shooting. Meanwhile, UCF had the distinct honor of recording seven field goals and taking a 19-15 lead at the break. Clark kept the Bearcats afloat, scoring seven points and grabbing nine rebounds. He made 3-of-8 shots from the floor, accounting for half of UC’s field goal total in the frame.
There was finally some semblance of offensive success in the second half. UC drained 46.4 percent of its shots, but most importantly, it started taking advantage of some less than careful ball handling from the Knights. The Bearcats forced nine turnovers in the period after both teams had five in the first. Once again, Clark was at the heart of the comeback, as he made 5-of-7 shots to put up 10 second-half points, while tallying six rebounds, which was only four fewer than UCF had as a team during that time.
When all was said and done, Clark was one of only five players on both teams to record an offensive rating above 100, while his defensive rating of 49 was the best of anyone out there. He also showed no fear in attacking in the paint even when guarded by 7’6” Tacko Fall.
Kyle Washington also had an offensive rating above 100, but he scored four of his seven points in the last two minutes and all seven in the second half. Jacob Evans was also held scoreless in the first 20 minutes, but hit 3-of-9 shots in the second to finish with 10 points.
Even with Clark dominating, the game still moved like Leonardo DiCaprio trying to get to his car after taking quaaludes in “The Wolf of Wall Street.”
The game clocked in with a pace factor of 59.8, with both teams registering effective field goal percentages below .400. Clark’s field goal percentage mark of .567 easily outshone his counterparts, as all other Bearcats went just 11-of-39 (28.2 percent) from the floor.
Some more telling stats from this contest can be found in second chance points and points off turnovers. Obviously, the Bearcats had a much better chance at winning the latter category, as they won the turnover battle (14-9). Meanwhile, the teams were fairly even on the boards, with UCF holding a 36-35 edge overall and a 12-11 advantage on the offensive glass. Despite that, UC still outscored UCF 16-3 on second chance points, while easily getting the upper hand in points off turnovers (18-6). If you need a more data-specific reason for why UC won, those are the numbers you’re looking for.
Now that I’ve subjected myself to examining this dumpster fire of a box score more than once in the last 24 hours, I’m going to go rest my eyes.
Best Individual Stat Line
Who else could win this but Clark? With 17 points, 15 rebounds and two steals, the 6’8” forward packed a ton into his 35 minutes played.