I did a recap yesterday, but since this game is one of the biggest of the season no matter what anybody says I decided to highlight the second half. The reason I wanted to highlight the second half is because the Cincinnati Bearcats showed a lot of grit and heart even in defeat. These guys had every reason to just lay down going into the half down 16 points and on the road.
The Bearcats came out of halftime and unleashed a 10-0 run to get the game down to 6 points. They were able to get back into the game because they were more assertive on offense and didn't have lapses on defense.
The downfall of the second half was a period between 12:10 to 9:17 where the Bearcats had 6 possessions and 5 turnovers in that period. With them fighting an uphill battle that period was their ultimate downfall and Xavier changed to the 1-3-1 zone to give them a false sense of security to shoot too many jumpers.
We know UC loss Saturday, but I'm here to highlight the positives especially in the second half. While UC didn't shoot great from the field in the second half or the game only 40.7% in the second half (40.4% for the game), but they were able to shoot 5 more shots (27 to 22) even though they turned the ball over 8 times. Less turnovers and who knows what happens, but the overall bright side is if they can protect the ball against quality teams maybe the outcome will be different even if the shooters are cold.
The Bearcats also out rebounded the Musketeers in the second half 20-12. Of the 20 rebounds, 9 of them were offensive and 11 were defensive. This was also a positive sign.
They held X to 23 points in the final half and scored 29 points themselves. With a glass half full approach this can be something UC builds on for the long run.
I know this is the third loss in a row to Xavier, but don't panic maybe they beat VCU (Saturday) and Iowa State (next Tuesday) maybe not. UC is still 8-2 currently and if they have a strong AAC showing all will be well in March this team is too talented to not finish in the top 25 when it’s all said and done.
To channel my inner Aaron Rodgers "RELAX", #BearcatNation.