Instant Analysis: UC Loses Heartbreaker.

We bring you some quick thoughts and observations on UC's tough 55-57 loss at Syracuse.

-32 three-pointers. That's not a misprint, UC shot THIRTY-TWO three-pointers. And they made 10. That's good for a little over 31%, not a great number when you're playing the number three ranked team in the nation. I know Syracuse's 2-3 zone is difficult to attack, but to have 32 of your 55 field goal attempts come from behind the arc is a bit ridiculous. With Cashmere Wright back for Cincinnati, they should have been able to attack the middle of the zone and free up shooters on the outside, instead of taking deep contested threes, which was their shot of choice against the Orangemen.

-Speaking of Wright, the UC point guard struggled in his first game back, finishing with five points, on 2-13 shooting, including 1-8 from three. Granted, having your first game back be against the number three ranked team in the country on the road is no easy task, but the rust was evident for most of the game.

-Cincinnati's final possession was a head scratcher. Down two with about 13 seconds left, the Bearcats settled for a deep three-pointer from an ice-cold Cashmere Wright, instead of getting the ball in the paint, where they had success with their interior passing between Titus Rubles and Cheikh Mbdoj, which had led to two easy buckets the past two possessions. Going to Kilpatrick seemed like the obvious choice, but Syracuse had a man shadowing UC's shooting guard throughout the possession. Either way, you'd like to see the team take an aggressive approach on that final play instead of settling for a deep jumper.

-Mbdoj had a great night for the Bearcats on the offensive side of the ball. The big man from Senegal finished with nine points and six rebounds on 3-4 shooting. While putting up big numbers down low seems like a stretch, if UC can get this type of performance from Mbdoj on a regular basis, I expect their offense to flow much more efficiently.

-Not sure what to make of Sean Kilpatrick's performance. On one hand, the Cincinnati two-guard led the team in scoring with 21 points, and shot an efficient 6-16 from the field. On the other hand, 15 of his 16 shots came from behind the arc, which is a far cry from the aggressive offensive approach we've seen from Kilpatrick the past few games. In UC's recent victories, Kilpatrick has been attacking the basket and getting to the foul line, and most importantly, he's been limiting his deep jumpers. Against Syracuse, Kilpatrick seemed far too content settling for deep three-pointers and not bothering to attack the middle of Syracuse's 2-3 zone. Regardless, he is UC's best player, and they need to get him going early so the rest of the Bearcats offense can play off of him.

-Even in the loss, I like the fight of this team. They're a senior-laden group, and it shows in their play. This team isn't scared of anybody, and they gave a very talented Syracuse squad their best shot. You'd like to see them finish with a win, as they led for large portions of the game, but you can't fault the effort. This Bearcat team will be in every game this season, you'd just like to see them execute a little better in end of game situations, especially on the road.


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