The Cincinnati Bearcats welcomed the Samford Bulldogs to Fifth Third Arena on the night before Thanksgiving. Mick Cronin expected a competitive match up from the Bulldogs and he got just that from a Bulldogs team who has had their first two victories of the season come on the road. After the tough loss to Rhode Island in the Naismith Memorial Tournament and settling for third place Bearcat Nation was interested to see how the boys from Clifton would respond during their match up back in Fifth Third.
The Cincinnati Bearcats pull away from Samford Bulldogs in second half with a 70-55 victory.
The Bearcats and their fans at Fifth Third Arena certainly started off the season with a bang early in this match up. Within the first five minutes the Bearcats jumped out to an early 8-0 lead and it seemed as if it was going to be a route for the home team. The ball movement was great and defensively the Bearcats forced the Bulldogs to miss their first five shots of the contest. And then all of a sudden the Bulldogs got hot and things got a little uncomfortable for the home crowd.
The Bulldogs put together a massive 24-0 run in the span of seven minutes. The Bearcats missed nine consecutive shots and the Bulldogs took advantage. At one point the Bearcats trailed by as many as 16 points and things weren’t looking good. One of the main things Cronin has preached in his ten years as head coach is starting and closing halves strongly. His Bearcats did just that Wednesday night, ending the half on a 11-2 run to cut into the Bulldogs lead and only trailed 35-30 at the intermission.
The momentum the Bearcats built up before halftime carried over to the second half. They came out on 14-1 run to start the half and never looked back as they improved to 4-1 on the season with a 70-55 win over the Bulldogs. In the second half alone they had 16 points off Samford turnovers and 18 points in the paint shooting 48% from the field. There was much more effort in the second half.
Kyle Washington lead the Bearcats with 18 points and 12 rebounds. Gary Clark chipped in with 13 points and 7 rebounds. Jacob Evans led the back court with 12 points and 3 assists. Bearcats are now 4-1 on the season and take on Lipscomb this Saturday at 2:30pm at Fifth Third Arena.
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