Slats Improves To 2-1 With Victory

Sunday afternoon saw Slats improve their record to 2-1 after a hard fought 88-86 victory. Bearcatfan4life was on hand and post this full report from the days action.

The SLATS team improved to 2-1 on Sunday afternoon, defeating Masser Construction, 88-86 in a nail biter down to the buzzer. This very exciting contest was almost a mirror image of each other. In the first half, the UC team of recruits, returning players, and a few other players from around the area, got off to a terrific start. Looking as good as they have so far in the Deveroes Summer league, the UC team got off to a 12-0 start, and would build the lead up to an astounding 25 point margin. At this point, the game seemed fully in hand, as it appeared the rout was on.

However, in the first surprise of the evening, this game would be far from over. Slowly, but surely the roster made up largely of ex-Bearcats Andre Tate and Eric Martin's Cincinnati State team, chipped away as the mammoth lead built up by Slats. They were able to cut it to a 50-32 halftime deficit. As their defense picked up its intensity, and pressure slowly built to a near crescendo, the Slats had trouble running their offense, and getting good shots. They would often rush shots, or commit ill-advised turnovers to give Masser Construction a chance to make the giant comeback.

With about 2 minutes to go, Masser had finally climbed the mountain and took its first lead of the entire game. At this point, it appeared too many observers that it was their game to lose. They felt that the Slats would not be able to overcome this collapse of epic proportions for a summer league game, and would simply fold its proverbial tent. However, that would not be the case. It is during times like this that a good team's true heart, character, and their mettle comes out. When the chips are down, when things aren't going their way, how do they respond? Who steps up, who becomes the vocal leader out there, and who can hit the big shots?

Even though this is only the summer league, and there is ample time to answer these questions for the University of Cincinnati Basketball team, we may have gotten a glimpse or hint into how that will develop for this year's team. With less than 2 minutes to go, with the game seemingly crumbling, and the Slats trailing by 2 points, James White stepped up, and hit a huge 3 pointer from the right wing to put the Slats back in front. This gigantic shot put them back up by a point, and seemed to give his teammates the necessary confidence to finish the game out, and come out on top. From there, Jihad Muhammad, who has scored with ease all 3 games, swished a 3 from the corner to put his team up by 4 points. Though there would be some tense moments the rest of the way, this was enough cushion for the Slats to prevail, and win their 2nd straight game. They improved their league record to 2-1, good for a tie for 3rd in the updated standings.

Other Notes

Jihad Muhammad continue to play the role of small, quick offguard very well. He scored 22 points on an effective 8-13 shooting, including an impressive 6-9 from 3 point range. He also showed an ability to get in there, and get some rebounds to start the fast break, pulling down a surprising 6 boards. He only had 3 turnovers, so he managed the game very well once again, and generally made good decisions out there.

James White had a picnic with the competition once again. He appears to be toying with his opponents during the summer league, and is gearing up for a big scoring year for the Bearcats, and increased senior leadership. Today was his best scoring output so far, as he amassed 30 big points, 12 of which came at the foul line. He was very aggressive once again, rarely settling for the perimeter jumper. He got fouled a lot because he could not be guarded one on one, and was simply too quick for the defense. He also added 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and even a block.

DeAndre Coleman kept up the momentum from his breakout performance of yesterday. He added 17 points of 7-16 shooting, and also chipped in 7 rebounds. DeAndre looked like a much more confident player in game number 3 for him. Sometimes that meant that he took bad shots in the context of the offense, but it was still good to see that the confidence was still flowing from his strong game on Saturday. It was certainly a welcome sight on the heels of his nervous and sometimes timid play, where he looked overmatch last Tuesday night against Justin Cage and the Xavier team. DeAndre continued to show that he has the most well-rounded game of the 3 recruits that have showed up at Woodward High School. He made a couple of three's this afternoon, and he also had some more nice drives to the basket. He also showcased his ability to get out on the fast break and finish ahead of the defense.

Abdul Herrera made some strides in his game. The most maligned recruit thus far in his very brief UC career, Herrera rebounded in a way that would make Bob Huggins proud. He pulled down 7 boards in limited action, the most he has had to date. He got some tough rebounds in traffic, and put two hands on the ball, swinging his elbows in an aggressive manner, which is typical of Bearcat basketball--tough, hard nosed, and rugged. He also had a very nice tip in off an offensive rebound. If he can rebound the way he did tonight, he WILL see minutes in his freshman campaign. However, he also struggled with other areas of his game. He had several turnovers, mostly due to him not being able to get rid of the ball to his teammates off of many of his rebounds. he appeared to hurt his lower back early in the 2nd half, and had to sit out for a long stretch in the half. However, he showed good toughness in returning late in the contest, and looked to be ok.

Devan Downey had his best scoring output so far, 12 points on 5-13 from the floor. He also had 5 assists, and did a solid job of running the show, looking for his teammates. His outside shot looked improved, as he was able to knock down a few three's. His jumpshot still appears to be the weakest part of his game, but he makes up for that with his all out quickness. He can make shots when he gets hot, but it is not a strength. However, being the prolific scorer that he showed to be in high school, he can score a little bit from all areas on the court.

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