This was a big weekend for Cane Broome. It was also a big weekend for the Cincinnati Bearcats overall, but Broome’s efforts really spoke to how critical he can be for this team. From his game-winning bucket against Wichita State, to his clutch three-point shooting against Houston, the senior guard was the spark off the bench that he has always been for the Bearcats. Sometimes, however, that spark has faded when the Bearcats needed him to shine.
That is particularly true when it comes to his effectiveness from beyond the arc. Broome has never shied away from taking those types of shots. In his last season at Sacred Heart before transferring to UC, he averaged 7.1 attempts per game. That was a pretty impossible rate to sustain once he became a part of the more methodical UC offense where he was also contending for shots with more established Bearcats like Jacob Evans, Gary Clark and Kyle Washington. However, his three-point attempt rates last year (.400) and this year (.402) are pretty much identical to his mark from the 2015-16 campaign with Sacred Heart (.400). Last year, that was a very good thing. Broome shot a career-best 39 percent from three and that made him the fifth highest scoring Bearcat. This year, he has not been so fortunate.
Even when accounting for anything he did over the weekend, Broome has made just 29.9 percent of his triples this season. He’s still taking them at a similar rate, as we already discovered, so that drop in efficiency has been a real damper for a UC team that has so often found itself desperate for a basket of any kind. It was particularly alarming during the first three months of the season. From the beginning of November to the end of January, Broome connected on just 19 percent of his three-point tries. In that time, he made more than one three-point only once.
When the calendar turned to February, however, his rhythm began to return. He has made 42.6 percent of his three-pointers since the second month of 2019 began, draining an average of 1.5 per game, including at least two makes in six games. In that time, he has also produced a slight uptick in his scoring average (8.7 PPG) compared to his full season mark (8.3 PPG). That isn’t an overly consequential increase, but the improved long range shooting definitely has been. During the AAC tournament that the Bearcats just won, Broome went 6-for-11 from three, including a masterful 3-for-5 showing against Houston in the title game.
Cincinnati’s offense isn’t one that relies too heavily on three-point shooting. They make a moderate 35 percent of their attempts and only score about 28 percent of their points from three, according to Team Rankings. That has cost them in the past, especially when their defense has broken down defending those same shots on the other side of the floor. Although Jarron Cumberland and Justin Jenifer have both been pretty excellent three-point marksmen, the Bearcats have not had the luxury of multiple triple threats for much of this season. That is until now.
It may be too late for Broome to turn his season-long three-point percentage into an aesthetically pleasing number, but if he keeps shooting like he has been in the last few weeks, he could really help the Bearcats in the NCAA Tournament. Then that number won’t look so bad after all.