Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

It was the start of the game that made more of a difference than the final shots for the Cincinnati Bearcats against Iowa State.

The Cincinnati Bearcats saw a late game rally fall short. But for Mick Cronin and Troy Caupain, it was the start of the game that made the difference in the outcome.

Despite scoring 18 points, Troy Caupain may be thinking about his final shot more than those he made against Iowa State as the Cincinnati Bearcats fell 81-79 to the Cyclones.  The loss marks the third loss against a Top Ten team so far this season.

“Well you know we haven’t close out well," said Caupain.  "It’s just something we have to get better at as a team. We can do all the talking about it, but it starts in practice. You just can’t lose the rebounding war.  Late in the game tonight we lost about two or three rebounds that could have won the game.  We didn't box out and it's the little things like that that we have to do better."

Head coach Mick Cronin was not ready to throw Caupain under the bus about his final shot as he felt it was a different shot in the closing minutes that mattered more.

"We got three shots at it," stressed Cronin.  "He was trying to get to the rim but he couldn't.  The way he inbounded the ball and came out, he pinned himself too much to the sideline.  I wanted him in the middle of the floor so he could draw a foul.  That's what I really wanted.  The putback is where we have to make sure wwe put the ball in instead of rushing it.  The putback was the shot."

While the game went down to the last shot, it was the start of the game that allowed the Cyclones to leave with a road win.

"We got off to a bad start but we did a great job to dig our way back against one of the best teams in the country," he said.  "We made too many mistakes in the end, it's a game of mistakes right now, and in my opinion, we make too many mistakes that we shouldn't make.  We lost the batte of points off turnovers and second chance points."

Caupain felt the same way as his head coach.

"We just took their punches," he said.  "They came out ready to go and once the game slowed down, we battled our way back and we played Cincinnati basketball.  Once we got the hang of everything they did, the game got slow and it came easier.  We got shot for shot.

Jacob Evans totally agreed with Caupain.

"We really just focused on our defense and we knew that eventually our shots were going to fall," said Evans.  "We wanted to just focus on our defense."

Cincinnati will return to the court on Tue., Dec. 29th to take on Temple at Fifth Thrid Arena.


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