The Cincinnati Bearcats cruised past Mississippi Valley State in what was their second regular season game of the season.
The 24th-ranked Bearcats (2-0, 0-0 Big East) flexed their muscle from the start, operating quickly in transition and utilizing excellent ball movement to create open shots, jump out to an early lead, and roll to a 102-60 win.
In two games, the Bearcats still haven’t shown much of what their transition attack has to offer, and have yet to break out the full court press.
Still, the Bearcats picked up the pace against the Devils, showing flashes of the speed at which they hope to play this season.
The Bearcats built a 20-point lead before halftime, allowing Mick to once again give his starters plenty of rest as the game went on.
The Bearcats used a 23-4 run to build that lead, a run that began on another Cashmere Wright behind the back pass resulting in another Justin Jackson dunk that excited the crowd – the second time the two have connected in as many games.
“Coach Cronin is just letting me be comfortable,” said Wright. “He just tells me to go out there and play my game. He says if you know you can go out there and make passes and make plays like that then go ahead and do it.”
The game took on a similar feel to that of the team’s game against UT-Martin last Sunday, only this time the Bearcat bench continued to add on to an already sizeable lead.
The Bearcats were led in scoring by Sean Kilpatrick who finished with 20 points in less than 24 minutes of action. In total, three Bearcats reached double figures with JaQuon Parker and Cashmere Wright cashing in 13 and 11 respectively.
Every single scholarship player scored in the win, twelve in total, as the Bearcats eclipsed the century mark for the first time this year.
I was really happy with the fact that we got 45 points off the bench tonight,” said head coach Mick Cronin. “My focus tonight was to make sure we played a better final ten minutes. The bench scored 27 points collectively in the last ten minutes to extend the lead.”
Titus Rubles was impressive yet again as he continued to play the role of “Mr. Everything” for Cincinnati.
The junior scored 8 points, grabbed 8 rebounds, dished out 5 assists, and rejected two shots.
Power forward Cheikh Mbodj has his best game of the young season, scoring 8 points, pulling in 6 rebounds, and blocking 4 of the team’s 7 shots.
Still, despite their gaudy offensive statistics, a hungry Bearcat team wasn’t entirely satisfied with its effort.
“Even today we still had some turnovers that we just cant make in a big game, and we know that,” said point guard Cashmere Wright after the game. “We just need to keep working to fix that every day. If you want to make it where we want to make it, you need to learn to not turn the ball over and to make the right passes.”
The Bearcats were dominant on the glass, winning the rebound battle by 28.
The Bearcats will get a few days off after their win before welcoming North Carolina A&T into Fifth Third Arena next Sunday at 2 p.m.
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