Instant Analysis: 'Cats Take Care of Rutgers.

We bring you some quick thoughts and observations on UC's 62-54 victory over Rutgers.

-Cheikh!!!! Where has this kind of performance been all season? We've discussed the offensive problems of Cincinnati's frontcourt this season, but against Rutgers tonight, Cheikh Mbdoj showed the promise that we've all been wanting to see. He finished with 10 points and five rebounds, including four offensive, to go along with two blocks. It was exactly the kind of game Cincinnati fans have been clamoring for from Mbdoj. The big man from Senegal clearly has the most upside of any of UC's big men, and night's like tonight prove that he can be an offensive weapon.

-Once again, Sean Kilpatrick carried the scoring load for the Bearcats. One week after being named the Big East player of the week, Kilpatrick's encore performance included 19 points, six rebounds and four assists, including hitting 3-8 from three. We've come to expect these types of performances from Kilpatrick, and he seems more than willing to carry the UC offense, but he needs help if this teams wants to contend for a Big East title and more.

-It was a tale of two halves for this Cincinnati team. The first half saw the Bearcats struggle to get their offense going, and allowed Rutgers to dictate the pace of play to the tune of the Scarlet Knights gaining an eight-point lead going into halftime. The second half saw Cincinnati come out firing on all cylinders, locking down on defense, and generating a much more efficient playing style. UC would outscore Rutgers 40-24 in the second half to gain the eight-point victory. It wasn't pretty, but at this point in the season, a win is a win, and that's all that needs to be said.

-Three-point shooting was once again an issue for Cincinnati. Their offense is pretty much stuck in their ways at this point, they like to shoot the ball. But when you struggle to shoot 30% from three on a nightly basis, it might be time to switch up the offensive strategy. Against Rutgers, UC finished 5-21 from three, good for 24%. Take away Kilpatrick's three three's, and UC finished 2 0f 13. Please, PLEASE, attack the basket more frequently. I promise it will pay dividends.

-How about the defensive performance of Justin Jackson? UC's wiry combo forward finished with six blocks to pace an impressive defensive second half from the Bearcats. Jackson is a freakish athlete, and someone who has the potential to turn in this kind of night on a daily basis. While he'll never be an offensive force, he still brings a lot to the table from a defensive standpoint.

-29 free throw attempts! That is how this Cincinnati offense needs to look. While I still believe they took far too many three-pointers, they did do a fairly strong job of attacking the basket on offense, which I believe is this team's best offensive trait. And it worked tonight, as they shot 21-29 from the line, nearly scoring more points from the free-throw line along than they scored in the entire first half.


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