Wednesday night was supposed to be a critical and difficult one for the Cincinnati Bearcats. It turned out to be an easy one instead. Despite facing a UCLA team that was ranked among the top 25 in the country entering the season, the Bearcats had absolutely no trouble in front of their home fans at Fifth Third Arena, vanquishing the Bruins 93-64.
Jarron Cumberland paced the Bearcats (10-2) with 25 points on 9-of-17 shooting, including a blistering 4-for-5 effort from beyond the arc. Three-point shooting has been a difficult spot for the Bearcats all season, but they broke out of the funk against the Bruins, knocking down 12-of-21 from three. Keith Williams (19 points) and Justin Jenifer (11 points) knocked down three triples apiece and combined to make 12-of-20 shots overall. Meanwhile, Nysier Brooks scored 14 points on 5-of-6 shooting and tacked on six boards, three assists and two blocks.
Ball movement helped create open looks both from beyond the arc and everywhere else. The Bearcats assisted on 24 of their 33 field goals, with Jenifer (five assists), Trevon Scott (four assists) and Williams (four assists) the top playmakers. Scott also had five rebounds and a block, making up for a so-so day on offense, as he scored seven points on 2-of-5 shooting. Scott’s rebounding work also helped lead the Bearcats to a dominating 38-25 advantage on the glass.
If everyone on UCLA’s roster played like Kris Wilkes, this might have been a different game. The sophomore netted 21 points, while making 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. The rest of the team made only 4-of-18 three-pointers, as the Bruins netted 40.4 percent overall. They also turned the ball over more than twice as many times as the Bearcats.
Up next, the Bearcats will finish off their non-conference schedule on Saturday against South Carolina State and then be off until Jan. 2 when they open American Athletic Conference play against Tulane.