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Cane Broome: An Appreciation

Cane Broome was the Sixth Man of the Year for two seasons at Cincinnati.

NCAA Basketball: Xavier at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

The Career Numbers with Cincinnati

  • 8.1 points per game
  • 2.5 assists per game
  • 1.7 rebounds per game
  • 0.8 steals per game
  • .426/.333/.732 shooting splits

When the Los Angeles Clippers stormed back from a 31-point deficit to upset the Golden State Warriors in the first round of the NBA playoffs earlier this week, the world learned that super reserves like Montrezl Harrell and Lou Williams can be the difference between crushing defeat and stunning victory. For the Cincinnati Bearcats, they learned that lesson multiple times over the last two seasons thanks to Cane Broome.

After slicing and dicing his way through the Northeast Conference as a volume scorer for Sacred Heart, Broome made the decision to transfer to Cincinnati in 2016. He sat out the 2016-17 season and watched as the Bearcats won 30 games, biding his time until he could help them reach even greater heights.

He didn’t have to wait that long once he finally put on the UC uniform. He was a key member of the 2017-18 team that won the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles before earning a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament. He was perhaps even more crucial a contributor this past season as the Bearcats once again claimed a league tournament championship and made it back to the NCAA Tournament for the ninth-straight season. During his two seasons with the team, the Bearcats won a total of 59 games, while losing only 12. Broome only started in seven of those, but he appeared in 69 contests and averaged 20.9 minutes per game. If anyone thinks he wasn’t one of UC’s most important players during the last two seasons, they weren’t paying attention.

Broome was brought in primarily for his scoring talents, but even he couldn’t completely change the way the Bearcats played offense. Due to this and the fact that he was surrounded by talented teammates like Jacob Evans, Gary Clark, Kyle Washington and Jarron Cumberland, all of whom demanded more offensive chances than the former Sacred Heart scoring leader, he never reached the heights he did for his former team, but he he still managed to averaged 8.1 points per game, including a career-best 8.3 this past season.

Another roadblock to his attempts to replicate his Sacred Heart days in Cincinnati was his uneven shooting. After connecting on a career-best 39 percent from three in his first year as a Bearcat, he struggled mightily in his second, making only 28.7 percent from distance even with a surge in the last few months. He also fell to an even 50 percent true shooting rate after his personal best of 56.8 percent the year before. However, despite all that, he set his highest mark at UC of 24 points per 100 possessions this past season and had 13 of his 26 double-digit scoring efforts as a Bearcat.

Broome was much more than just a scorer off the bench. He was also one of the team’s best ball-handlers and distributors. His ability to slash into the lane and kick to open shooters was nearly unmatched and he boosted his assist rate from 16.6 percent at Sacred Heart to 23.7 percent as a Bearcat. That was even as his usage rate fell by seven percentage points between schools. Perhaps even more crucially, he also cut down on his turnovers, averaging 3.9 per 100 possessions as a Bearcat compared with 5.0 at Sacred Heart.

In essence, Broome changed his style tremendously with the Bearcats. Whether or not that style was better than the one he utilized at Sacred Heart is up for debate, but there’s no doubt that he became exactly the type of player the Bearcats needed, especially because of what he could do off the bench.

NCAA Basketball: American Athletic Conference Tournament-Houston vs Cincinnati Justin Ford-USA TODAY Sports

The Best of the Best

Nov. 10, 2017 vs. Savannah State

Broome actually started his first game as a Bearcat and did exceptionally well, scoring 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting — including a 5-of-9 effort from three — while adding four assists, albeit with six turnovers as well.

Dec. 2, 2017 at Xavier

Even if the Bearcats didn’t win Broome’s first foray into the Crosstown Shootout, the transfer point guard certainly did his best, tallying 16 points and five assists.

Dec. 19, 2017 vs. Arkansas Pine-Bluff

With 17 points on 6-of-9 shooting, Broome helped the Bearcats capture a 77-49 win. He drained 3-of-5 three-pointers in the process as well.

Feb. 18, 2018 vs. Wichita State

After having a tough time in the first few weeks of AAC play, Broome finally found his footing down the stretch and it began here when he scored 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting. He would averaged 12.7 points per game on 61.7 percent shooting during the final five games of the regular season and the first round of the AAC tournament combined.

Nov. 16, 2018 vs. Milwaukee

Broome scored five points combined in the first two games of this past season but broke out with 17 on 8-of-12 shooting in the third contest. He also found time to collect four assists and three steals.

Nov. 23, 2018 vs. George Mason

Broome was around for two early season tournament wins and he helped the Bearcats capture the Emerald Coast Classic this past year with 21 points in the first round against George Mason. The 21 points were the most he ever scored in a single game as a Bearcat.

Jan. 2, 2019 vs. Tulane

Broome was nearly perfect in this one, going 6-for-7 from the field to accumulate 17 points.

Jan. 10, 2019 at Tulsa

UC could very easily have lost this road contest if not for Broome, who scored 14 points in the final six minutes of regulation to force overtime, where the Bearcats finally won out.

March 17, 2019 vs. Houston

The Bearcats got one final outstanding game from Broome in the AAC title game, as the senior helped cut down the nets after producing 15 points across 28 minutes.

A Final Goodbye

The Bearcats only got to benefit from Broome’s skills for two seasons, which seems far too short a time. Even if he struggled more than was ideal during his senior season, Broome stepped up in big ways multiple times during his tenure with UC. He may not have been plugged into the starting lineup most nights, but that didn’t mean he wasn’t there to lead the way when his name was called. That is definitely worth appreciating.