The Cincinnati Bearcats thrashed Arkansas-Little Rock yesterday 87-53. It was a weird game in hindsight. UALR and Cincinnati both started the game very sloppy and turned the ball over a lot. Then Arkansas Little-Rock just never stopped. They turned it over 32 times. That is a lot of times. Almost 1 time per minute. As you well know from reading the post game, UC set a school record with 23 steals. It was as terrible a ball handling game as you could ever imagine. And it has a slight chance of happening again on Saturday when UC takes on hapless Maryland Eastern-Shore.
I'm going to get right to the player points and after those, your Maryland Eastern-Shore 7 word or less previews.
Let's start with the guy in the great picture at the top of the page, Justin Jackson. In a historic night for steals, Jackson led the way with 4. That was a career high. He played one of his more complete games of the season as well. He had 7 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 turnover and 4 steals. Only 1 foul as well. Jackson was not good at the free throw line, going 1-4. That's a part of his game that is not good. The same goes for the 3 point shots. He made 1 his freshman year and has missed his last 12 the past 2 seasons. He needs to stop shooting them. He's good a lot of different things but jump shots aren't one. I love when Jackson has his passing game on point. I make joke about calling him Magic Jackson at times, but he is a gifted passer for a big man. When he's being selective with the passes, he keeps the offense moving and UC can get easy buckets. Good game by Jackson. Although it was a bad game because he has turned off JUSTIN JACKSON MEAN FACE. He had a couple of big dunks and nothing. Maybe he's saving it for Big East play.
Cheikh Mbodj couldn't stay on the court due to 4 fouls and was on the bench to start the second half. That was a shame or maybe it was motivation because the big man was doing some work last night. He had 12 points on 4-4 from the field and 4-4 from the foul line. He added 7 rebounds, 1 steal and he blocked 3 shots. Mbodj played like no one could guard him and quite frankly, last night he was right. He didn't have to make a lot of post moves. Just going up strong worked. He cleaned up the offensive glass well. He led the team in rebounding. This looked like the new and improved Cheikh Mbodj we heard about all offseason. Good game, 13.
Cashmere Wright had a very controlled 20 minutes of action last night. Mick and the staff determined he was playing 20 and he played pretty much exactly that. Cash didn't have his shot going from deep. He went 0-5 from 3. Those were almost all he shots he missed though, he went 4-5 from 2. Many of his baskets were layups. Cash had 3 steals and 4 assists. He also had 3 turnovers. Maybe it's just taking him time to adjust to the faster paced tempo, but it's not the Cash we know with him turning the ball over so much. His assist turnover ratio is 1.1, the lowest of his career by far. It was 2 last year. He had 83 turnovers last year and he's a quarter of the way there now. Because he is playing less minutes, he's turning the ball over at a higher percentage. He's assisting on just 21.1% of the UC baskets when he's on the floor. That has fallen from 31.4% and 30% the last 2 years.
For the longest time last night, Sean Kilpatrick did not have a good game going. He was 3-10 the first half with 8 points. The second half though, he went 4-6 for 10 points. He has so much scoring ability that he can turn it on and go on mini runs of his own. He did that last night when he scored 7 points in a minute. SK had 6 rebounds, 2 assists and 2 steals to go along with his 18 points. He had trouble with two things last night. He made some wild drives and got his shot blocked 4 times. UALR had 5 blocks for the game. He kept shooting fall always in the lane and once had a layup rejected emphatically by 6 foot John Gillon. Killa probably heard about that one on the bench. He also had 5 turnovers. Uncharacteristically high.
JaQuon Parker had a very solid game with 11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 assists and 3 steals. He was 4-8 from the field, 2-5 from 3. It seemed like Parker had a quiet night looking at the box score, but he did a lot when he was out there. You always know he is on the floor. He played 23 minutes. Mick took it easy on most of the starters.
The starters would have had a few more minutes if they didn't play like absolute crap to open the game. Every single one of them got benched a couple minutes into the game. It was hard to keep focus on a game like this when you are ranked 11 and expected to roll over. Just don't do it against a good team, please.
Parker and Kilpatrick were 4-9 from 3. The rest of the team was 1-11.
14-24 on free throws. 10-20 if you take out Mbodj. When Mbodj is buoying your free throw percentages to 58%, you know you are a bad free throw shooting team. Maybe we need to start playing every game at UNLV.
Titus Rubles had his string of double digit scoring games snapped at 3. He scored 6 points on 2-7 shooting. He didn't even attempt a 3, which ruined my prediction. Rubles had 2 steals, 2 assists, 2 rebounds as well. He is a shot in the arm whenever he is on the floor. He can be a little wild with the shot sometimes, but that's ok. He comes in ready to play. Just like always.
Shaq Thomas had his typical game for the early season. He played some tough as balls defense. He got the steal for the school record. He had a big dunk immediately following that steal. And he missed the rest of his shots, most of which looked rushed. He plays hard and fast on defense, but it looks like he could slow it down some on offense. He'll learn. I love his energy. Between he and Guyn, UC can really get after you defensively with the bench.
Alex Eppensteiner got 3 minutes last night. He had a shot blocked. He had a nice move where he shook his defender, but he threw the ball right at the rim. He scored twice after the game though.
Ge'Lawn Guyn filled up the box score in his 18 minutes of play. he was 2-4 from the field, 1-3 from 3, 1-1 at the free throw line for 6 points. He had 1 rebound, 3 assists, 3 turnovers and 1 foul. Guyn has had trouble protecting the ball. He has 8 turnovers and 8 assists this season. He has 6 steals, which helps. I like seeing Guyn's confidence this season. He knows he can hit the 3 ball and he isn't afraid to shoot it. UC needs that off the bench.
Jermaine Sanders had some good minutes last night. He put up 5 points, 5 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 steals in 14 minutes. He was 2-5 from the field, both made shots were layups, but just 1-4 at the foul line. I still don't know how he can have such a pretty jump shot and not make free throws. Sanders had the ball on a 4-0 situation and didn't dunk. You gotta throw it down, son. Obligatory Jermaine Sanders photo.
Kelvin Gaines played just 4 minutes but he had a steal and he blocked a shot. His defensive numbers per 40 minutes are off the charts.
David Nyarsuk had the type of game tall people can have against teams like this. He put his hands up, got the ball and scored easily. He was 5-6, 2-3 at the line, for a career best 12 points. He cleaned up the glass with 6 rebounds. He got into some foul trouble with 4. But that didn't matter in a game like this.
It was great to see the big men put in 24 points and 13 rebounds. I give them a hard time and they certainly deserve all the praise they have coming to them today.
UC's next game is Saturday at 2 pm on FSN Ohio. I've been taking your submissions for 7 word or less previews about Maryland Eastern-Shore. They are after the jump. Click continue reading.
@ComputeDude 38% shooting. That is all.
@Detz513 Maryland's eastern shore has good crab cakes.
@USFVoodoo5 We whipped their ass, so should you.
@BearcatBBall12 Show up. Please.
@MatthewFleenor1 Cats will claw up the Hawks! He also had "WE ARE GOING TO KILL THIS TEAM!"
@JGent15 Show up. Watch the Cats Win.
@TheSamAntics Even ESPN3 is questioning airing this game
@Bengann UMES. Not UMass? UC wins by 35.
@BuckyCooper Alex Eppensteiner outscores Maryland Eastern-Shore
@Bri_Hen Maryland Eastern-Shore plays basketball? Nope!
@KDecelles67 They are not very good
@Liebermans They have not won. In big trouble
@Bearcats_Nation - Write Your Own Damn Preview Of Them
My 7 words are
Cincinnati 102 Maryland Eastern-Shore 57. Yo
Photos via Go Bearcats