Instant Analysis: Red Stom Down Bearcats.

We provide some notes and observations on UC's 53-52 Big East home opening loss to St. Johns.

-It was the Cashmere Wright show tonight. The senior point guard stepped up in a big way tonight, finishing with 23 points and ten rebounds, pacing the normally stout Cincinnati backcourt.

-Titus Rubles had a breakout game as well, finishing with 14 points, three rebounds and two assists. While not know as a shooter, the transfer forward from Texas hit 3-6 from three, which may prove to be an outlier in his three point shooting career. Nevertheless, Rubles stepped up with Jaquon Parker and Sean Kilpatrick struggling.

-The play of the game belonged to St. John's point guard D'Angelo Harrison. With the Red Storm barely clinging to a one point lead and the shot clock running down, Harrison threw up a prayer of a contested three-pointer from about 32 feet. Miraculously, the shot went in, pushing St. John's lead back to four with under two minutes to play. The shot seemed to be nullified by Titus Rubles' three on UC's ensuing possession, but the damage was already done. The Bearcats were making a run and had cut St. John's 10 point lead to one, when Harrison hit the three, stalling UC's momentum and giving the Red Storm a nice little cushion.

-Sean Kilpatrick was a complete non-factor today. He finished 3-14 from the field, including 0-5 from three. The most frustrating part about watching Kilpatrick play is his lack of aggressiveness when his shot isn't falling. His size and strength advantage should get him to the line at least 6-8 times per game. Against St. Johns, he got to the line once. He has to stop falling in love with his jump shot and understand his bread and butter should be driving into the paint and getting to the foul line.

-Cincinnati's frontcourt had an abysmal game as well. The trio of Justin Jackson, Cheikh Mbdoj and David Nyarsuk finished with a combined three points on 1-10 shooting. When you get that kind of production from your big men, picking up a victory, especially in the notoriously difficult Big East conference, is very difficult. We've talked about the struggles of this group in the past, and today's game proved that you have to get some sort of production from these three to make some noise in conference play.

-Continuing with the frontcourt theme, Cincinnati lost the rebound battle for the first time all season, finishing with 34 rebounds to St. John's 35. Another sign of UC's lack of front court production. -While their frontcourt struggled, Cincinnati could hang their hat on defense once again. The Bearcats forced 17 St. John's turnovers and had a combined 11 steals and blocks. The identity of this team falls on the defensive side of the ball, and it showed tonight. While the loss is obviously disappointing, you can't blame the defensive performance from the Bearcats.

-Going forward, this team has to establish their offensive identity. What kind of team are they? They like to shoot, that's not a question, but are they a great shooting team? Their performances to date point to the contrary. I want to see this team use their guard heavy lineup to attack the paint and get to the line. If you shot's going in, keep shooting, if not, stop. It's as simple as that.


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