Ibrahima Thomas sad Or Lance Stephenson sadI'm going to be honest. I don't know what sad UC picture to use up top. I don't know wether to go with team sad
(All photos courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer)So I went with all 3. Any way you slice it, this was a disappointing loss for the Bearcats (13-7 4-4). They had plenty of chances to change the game down the stretch, but they let them go. This wasn't a choke job like the loss against St John's, but it stung nearly as bad. The Cardinals, 13-7 4-3, deserve all credit and played well in getting the win. The Cardinal that came out of seemingly nowhere and was the game changer was Reginald Delk. Delk went for 13-11 and made the back breaking 3 with 6 minutes left after UC cut the lead to 2. Edgar Sosa and Samardo Samuels both went for 14, but Delk was the man who changed this one. The game changer for the Cats was Cashmere Wright. Cash had 10 straight points to bring UC back into the game in the second half after trailing by 12. But, with 2 minutes left, apparently Cash asked out of the game. I don't know how true this is, but if it is, you have to dig deep Cash. The team needed you late, and you can't ask out of the game in that scenario. That's a no-no. Despite that, Cash had 12, along with Lance Stephenson 12-6-3, Deonta Vaughn 12-5 assists, and Yancy Gates 12-5-3. Ibby Thomas pulled down 7 rebounds to go with 5 points, and Jaquan Parker had 5 boards with just 3 points. With the lineup of Paker, Vaughn, Stephenson Thomas and Gates, the Bearcats came out on fire. Ibrahima Thomas hit a 3, and when he took another the next trip, Lance Stephenson followed with a put back. Lance would nail a 3 of his own and UC was up 8-0. Stephenson would slam home an offensive rebound, and net a jumper to give UC a 12-4 lead at the under 16 time out. Stephenson scored his last points on a 3 with 13:45 to go in the half with UC up 15-4. Yancy Gates scored a couple of baskets and UC dominated the glass 10-1 and had 9 second chance points. Louisville would cut the lead to 5 on back to back 3s by Delk and Peyton Siva (10-3 assists-3 steals). Rashad Bishop scored his only 4 on a lay up when UC broke the UofL press, and on free throws. UC lead 23-14, but the Cardinal zone/man to man hybrid defense really started bogging the Cats down. UC couldn't get the ball inside, and seemed to not know what to do. Louisville cut the lead to 1 off a Delk put back, a Jerry Smith lay up (7-2 steals) and a Terrence Jennings hook. Deonta Vaughn answered back with a 3. UC was 4-9 from deep at this point. UC would miss 3 triples in a row and commit a shot clock violation as Louisville tightened up the defense. After Vaughn assisted Yancy Gates on a lay up to put UC up 28-25, Edgar Sosa hit one of his 2 threes to tie the score. Louisville would get made free throws from Jennings, 2, and Samardo Samuels, 1, to take a 3 point lead they would never relinquish. UC was able to get a quick break and Yancy Gates dunked the ball home off a Vaughn miss to give us the last score of the half and go into the locker room down 31-30. Louisville ended the half on a 17-7 run. Stephenson had 12, and Gates 8 to lead UC who shot 41% for the half, but only shot 2 free throws. Louisville shot 37.9% and were lead by Samuels 8, Delk's 7, and Siva and Sosa's 5. Lance Stephenson had 5 rebounds, and Ibrahima Thomas had 4 for UC, while Delk had 5, and Jennings and Samuels 3 for Louisville. The Cats and Cards started the second half where they ended the first, with Louisville locking up UC. Samardo Samuels and Reginald Delk blocked various UC shots, highlighted by Delk blocking a Deonta Vaughn lay up. The teams traded buckets by Edgar Sosa, Vaughn, Yancy Gates, Jerry Smith, and Jaquan Parker, with Terrence Jennings free throws mixed in, as we hit the under 16 timeout. The Cardinals would then go on a run. Jerry Smith made a lay up, and Delk made a 3 to push the lead to 45-38. Cincinnati turned the ball over and on the ensuing break, Vaughn intentionally fouled Peyton Siva, as the speedy guard was going for a lay up. Siva made 1 of 2 and the lead was 8 with 12:48 left. Siva would get to the rim again and the Cards lead by 10 at the under 12 timeout. Out of the timeout, Gates would score over Samuels, but Jennings and Samuels had back to back baskets, and the Louisville lead was 12. The Cardinals were on a 12-2 run. Cincinnati would make a run of their own. Cashmere Wright had a lay up goaltended by Samuels, Thomas scored over Samuels, and Vaughn hit a 3 to make it 52-47. Louisville scored to put the lead at 54-47 with 7:28 to go. Cash would get fouled and make 2 free throws to start his 10 straight UC points. The Cardinals would travel, and Wright would nail a 3 to cut the lead to 2. Reginald Delk made the shot of the game, hitting a back breaking 3 off the right wing to put the lead back to 5. As some of you might know, Dion Dixon is my best friend. But, Dion didn't act too best friend like as he brought the UC momentum to a screeching halt. He would take a terrible 3 pointer which he missed. Samuels would score for UofL on the other end. Dixon came back with a charge, and then fouled Edgar Sosa, who made both free throws and the Card lead was 61-52 at 4:37. Cash would get UC back into it with a lay up and a 3 pointer with 2:30 on the clock. The Cats locked up on the Cardinals, but for only 33 seconds and Edgar Sosa nailed a 3 to pretty much seal it for Louisville. Louisville free throws by Sosa made the lead 9. UC would get their last points on a Vaughn NBA range 3 with 45 seconds left. Siva would make a pair of free throws to end the scoring. This was a game that UC let slip through their fingers. They had offensive explosions, and then offensive lapses. They played great defense, and they would give up lay ups. They made 10 three pointers, but settled for too many jump shots. They would control the offensive glass, 10 boards in the first half, and get all of 2 in the second half. The team turns the ball over too much, 15 yesterday, and they don't get to the free throw line. UC took 4. 4! The lack of a penetrating point guard showed up full force. Jaquan Parker was decent, and Cash played well, but both would get confused by the press and zone/man of Louisville. Lance Stephenson was unstoppable, and then couldn't get a shot the second half. Deonta Vaughn only made 3s. Yancy Gates couldn't get touches. This team is frustrating to watch, and games like this are a huge reason why. All credit to Louisville. After getting beat down early, they ratcheted up the pressure and held UC down. This was a really disappointing performance by UC. With road games against Connecticut, Notre Dame, West Virginia and Georgetown on the docket, they need to play better than this.