The 2019-20 Cincinnati basketball season has been a massive disappointment. Cincinnati lost 76-71 to Tulane on Saturday afternoon to fall to 8-6. They are now 0-3 in true road games and 2-5 away from Fifth Third Arena.
Coming into the game, Tulane had lost 23 AAC games in a row. So what happened on Saturday that allowed them to pick up their first win?
(Lack of) three point shooting
Throughout the off-season, we heard a lot about John Brannen’s system - tempo, points, ball movement. Those were the three key words used when talking about the new coach with excitement. Through 14 games, the problem has mostly been shooting. You can move the ball as fast as you want and as much as you want, but the bottom line is you can’t score if you can’t shoot. And right now, Cincinnati can’t shoot.
As a team, Cincinnati shot 7-27 from three and shot 45% from the field overall, hitting 26-58 shots.
Jaevin Cumberland came off the bench and hit just 2 of 12 three point attempts. He is shooting 34% overall from three. Jarron scored 10 points, with most of his 4 baskets coming inside the paint.
Jarron’s lack of shooting, Jaevin’s inability to hit a shot, Chris McNeal’s struggles have all influenced “the system”, not allowing the offense to run the way it is supposed to be run.
Brannen: "Listen, we're not a good shooting team. We probably shouldn't have shot so many 3s. But the bottom line is defense."— Fletcher Page (@FletcherPage) January 4, 2020
Brannen acknowledged after the game that both shooting and defense were the problems.
There were times over the last 13 years, that Cincinnati allowed 44 points in a single game. On Saturday, Cincinnati allowed 44 points in the second half alone. Tulane outscored Cincinnati 44-32 in the last 20 minutes as the defense struggled.
In the final four minutes, Tulane outscored Cincinnati 9-2, with the Bearcats shooting 1-7 in that stretch.
Turnovers were also an issue for Cincinnati, as they committed 16 of them (just 9 for Tulane).
Chris Vogt scored a career-high 21 points, hitting 9 of 11 shots. His two misses came in that final four minute stretch. But at one point, he was completely unstoppable.
12-13 free throws. After struggling earlier this year (specifically in Paradise Jam), it’s nice to see the Bearcats clean up one of their issues. At one point both teams were a combined 31-31 from the line, before a Vogt miss. Cincinnati shot 13 FTs, while Tulane shot 27.
Mamoudou Diarra gave Cincinnati a solid 12 minutes, hitting 1 shot and 4 free throws in that time and grabbing 4 rebounds. Diarra has played well in two conference games and with a short bench, could continue to play a role moving forward.
Freshman Jeremiah Davenport played just 4 minutes, but in that time hit, what seemed to be a clutch three. Unfortunately, it didn’t work out that way and Cincinnati let Tulane hang around and ultimately beat them. But this could be a big confidence boosting moment for the freshman.
Cincinnati returns to Fifth Third Arena to host Tulsa on Wednesday night at 7p on ESPNU. Every game is a must win game for Cincinnati, whose at-large NCAA Tournament hopes are hanging by a single piece of thread.