Despite a valiant effort in the final minutes, the Cincinnati Bearcats were unable to start the 2018-19 season with a win, as they were defeated 64-56 by the Ohio State Buckeyes at Fifth Third Arena on Wednesday night.
It was the Bearcats’ first game back at newly renovated Fifth Third Arena and perhaps it will take a few games to get comfortable. They made only four field goals in the first half and shot 27.4 percent from the floor overall, including a miserable 6-of-26 showing from beyond the arc. Jarron Cumberland was the only double figure scorer on the roster, netting 22 points on 7-of-17 shooting. Trevon Scott was the next-best scorer with eight points to go with six rebounds.
The lack of scoring punch was not due to lack of trying. Cane Broome, who is expected to be the No. 2 scoring option after Cumberland, took 10 shots, but only made one of them. Justin Jenifer drilled a three on his first attempt of the game and then proceeded to go 1-for-7 the rest of the night. Thankfully he was present with his superior distribution skills, as he handed five of UC’s 12 assists.
A few more made shots would have gone a long way toward creating a victory since the Bearcats were strong on defense. The Buckeyes may have led by as many as 16 points, but they shot a pedestrian 42.6 percent, tallied only seven assists and were out-rebounded 39-33. However, they got much more balanced scoring, with four players in double figures, led by Kaleb Wesson (15 points).
This is far from an indictment of UC’s entire season. Ohio State is an NCAA Tournament team and was always going to be tough to beat. However, there were some distressing warning signs exhibited. The Bearcats will try to straighten those out when they take to the floor next Tuesday against NC Central.