There were a lot of questions about how good and how they would respond as the Bearcats were heading into their first test of the season at New Mexico. The first part of that question obviously can't be answered totally since it was just one game, but they didn't respond very well. The questions of who would score with Sean Kilpatrick, could the big men play well against stiff competition and was the defensive rebounding as bad it seemed? Let's cover those in bullet points.
Who would score with Sean Kilpatrick?
The answer was Troy Caupain, who scored 11 on 4-7 shooting, 2-2 at the line. Justin Jackson chipped in 10 but on 3-10 shooting. Jackson did hit all 4 free throws. This wasn't one of Kilpatrick's better games though. He scored 19 on 5-18 shooting. He was just 1-7 from 3 but he was 8-8 at the foul line. In 2 games against New Mexico, SK was 10-40.
Those were the only 3 in double digits. UC was 18-61 from the field, 29.5%. You aren't going to beat anyone worth a damn shooting 29.5%. Glaringly, Shaquille Thomas, 0-2, and Ge'Lawn Guyn, 0-6, went scoreless. I really don't know why Guyn ran the point so much when clearly Caupain was the better option for the offense. That isn't to say that Caupain didn't have his flaws, not seeing a wide open Kilpatrick late in the game is one, but he was the only other offensive threat.
Could the big men play well against stiff competition?
Justin Jackson: 10 points, 3-10, 4-4 FTs, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 1 turnover
Titus Rubles: 4 points, 2-6, 6 rebounds, 2 steals
Cameron Bairstow: 24 points, 7-14 shooting, 10-11 FTs, 13 rebounds, 2 steals, 2 blocks, 6 turnovers
Alex Kirk: 15 points, 7-11, 1-2 from 3, 6 rebounds, 1 block, 2 turnovers.
The answer was not really.
Was the defensive rebounding as bad as it seemed?
It was when it mattered. UC was out of position a couple of times on defense, which allowed offensive rebounds and second chance points for the Lobos. Specifically for Bairstow, who had 4 huge late points on put backs. UC had no answer for him. He had 4 offensive rebounds.
This game isn't the end of the world. UC has a week to work on things. What we have found out is that they have a lot to work on, especially offensively. There is way too much standing around. There is not a whole lot of awareness. This team shares the basketball horribly. They had 5 assists. There are things that are good and things that are bad. The offense not being up to par is one of the bad ones.
There was history accomplished during the game. Sean Kilpatrick became the 9th Bearcat in history to score 1,600 points. He passed Lloyd Batts, Darnell Burton and Jack Twyman on the scoring list today. He's in lofty air. Congrats to Sean Kilpatrick. I'm sure he would have loved to enjoy this under better circumstances, but it's a hell of a career token.
There isn't a game for a week so the Cats will get to stew about this one for a while. Next up, Xavier. Beat Xavier.