Mick Cronin said the Crosstown Shootout has always been a curse for the winning team as it’s hard to keep your head on straight after winning a game that big. He looked to be right, as the Raiders of Wright State came into Cincinnati and took a 28-22 lead into half time over the highly favored No. 11 Bearcats.
Despite being over Christmas break, 5/3 Arena had 9,248 in attendance for the 4pm game.
Wright State took the early lead and held it behind the strong play of two bench players, JT Yoho and Jerran Young. The duo combined for 14 of the Raiders 28 points in the first half and also had help from a very stingy team defense that held Cincinnati to 9 field goals and a 24% clip from the field.
Cincinnati had trouble getting a flow going in the first half as Cashmere Wright and Sean Kilpatrick were held to held to 7 points combined. Justin Jackson lead the team at half with 6 points. Cincy’s solid defense remained constant as Wright State shot bad as well. Both teams combined for 17-66 in the first half from the field.
Cronin’s squad came out hot in the second half after Wright State scored the first basket Cincinnati went on a 10-0 run behind Jaquon Parker. Parker scored all ten of those points and had 15 total points in the first 6 minutes of the second half putting away Wright State.
“They weren’t helping off (Wright) or (Kilpatrick), and he’s the one guy we have that can drive the ball and finish with strength," Cronin said. "We really struggled to finish in the first half."
Despite Wright and Kilpatrick finishing with a total of 18 points, the Bearcats still shot 55% in the second half which saw a few other Bearcats enter the scoring column. Justin Jackson finished with 9 points and Titus Rubles finished with 11. Down low, David Nyarsuk and Kelvin Gaines each had a few blocks, with 4 and 3 respectively in limited minutes.
The Bearcats finished off the Raiders 68-58 with incredible offensive rebounding and a much better tempo in the second half. Cincy finished with 49 rebounds, 20 offensive, and forcing 11 turnovers (7 in the second half which sparked the run).
Cincinnati players have the day off tomorrow, but then will start practice back up and prepare for the matchup on the 27th vs. New Mexico at 9pm. The No. 16 Lobos lost their first game today, but should still be ranked for their matchup at 5/3 next week.