Last night the Cincinnati Bearcats reminded the world that they can still post a dominating victory. Hopefully it helped stem some of the negative feeling circling Clifton, as they absolutely trounced the UConn Huskies. With a 25-point win, the Bearcats improved their average scoring margin to 18.7 points, which is better than any team in the country. There were plenty of things that led to such a convincing win. Let’s take a look at them.
First of all, the offense was as smooth as we’ve seen it, as the Bearcats assisted on 22 of 28 made field goals. Ball movement like that is what’s been missing on offense in those higher leverage games against Wichita State and Houston, but it was good to see UC get back into the flow of things. Jacob Evans was able to sit back and kind of run the point, leading the team with five assists. He was one of seven players with at lest two dimes.
Going hand-in-hand with the strong ball movement was excellent ball security. With only six turnovers, the Bearcats were rarely caught off guard. Plus, that turnover total was a season-low for a team that posted a 7.9 turnover percentage. Most impressively, the five starters combined for only two turnovers.
While the Bearcats were keeping the ball safe, the Huskies had a bit more trouble, although it was not as if UC was ripping the ball away every possession. By forcing 12 turnovers, the Bearcats actually fell below their season average (15.4), but they made sure to capitalize when they did get a takeaway. They scored 23 points off of turnovers and also pushed the pace far more often than UConn, outscoring their guests 17-2 on the fast break.
Of course, UConn just didn’t score much at all, on the fast break or otherwise. The Bearcats allowed just 29.5 percent shooting from the Huskies, who also made only 27.3 percent of their three-point tries (6-of-22). The Bearcats also blocked eight shots, with Kyle Washington adding three of those.
UConn’s Christian Vital finished with 15 points and Terry Larrier had 14, but both players were pressured all game, committing six combined turnovers and making only 10-of-33 field goal tries. The Huskies, who had miserable readings in effective field goal percentage (.344) and offensive rating (76.5) were also handcuffed by the absence of leading scorer Jalen Adams, but credit is due to the Bearcats, who returned to their defensively dominant form.
Playing good defense, sharing the ball and getting easy buckets was not all that got UC into the winner’s circle. The Bearcats also got some pretty strong offensive work, especially from beyond the arc and off the bench. They made 10-of-28 triple attempts and shot 45.2 percent overall, while holding a 33-16 scoring edge in the paint. That was nothing compared to a 40-5 advantage in points from reserves.
Cane Broome made the largest contribution in that latter area, netting 13 points to go with four assists. But nothing got the people going more than when he stunned us all by slamming one home.
Donovan Mitchell and Larry Nance Jr. may have been exciting in last weekend’s NBA Dunk Contest, but this was the best dunk of the week and probably the season, IMO.
Trevor Moore (12 points on 4-of-8 three-point shooting) and Tre Scott (nine points, nine rebounds) were also important contributors off the bench, which was key to letting some of the starters get some extra rest.
Now that UC has ended its drastically long winning drought (two games was almost too much to handle), it will need to keep the energy and momentum up since games with this degree of simplicity are going to disappear over the next few weeks.
Best Individual Stat Line
Gary Clark is the leader of this team and he took that to heart for this one. Playing like a man possessed, the senior scored 17 points in just 20 minutes, sinking 6-of-7 shots from the floor, including all three from beyond the arc. With such efficient production, Clark finished with an offensive rating of 214, while doing plenty on defense as well (76 rating). On top of that, he registered true shooting (1.079) and effective field goal percentages (1.071) that would make your jaw drop.