The University of Cincinnati's fist road trip of the year was ugly early and often, mercifully ending with a 73 – 54 loss. The UAB Blazers looked to be world beaters against this year's edition of the Bearcats.
Prior to last night's game the Blazers has a record of 5 – 3. Their losses have come at the hands of Georgia Southern, Rhode Island, and Florida State. The five Blazer victories came against Georgia State, Stetson, Eastern Kentucky, Jacksonville, and Louisiana - Lafayette. Not exactly a group of teams that strike fear in the hearts of college basketball fans.
To understand why this game turned out the way it did you need to look no farther than the 50.8% shooting display put on by UAB. More often than not the UC defense was simply not in position to make a play giving away to many uncontested shots. UAB's two big men Reggie Huffman and Walter Sharpe put together a combined performance of 33 points and 15 rebounds. The duo was rarely challenged in the post by UC big men.
On offense the results were not any better with the Cats shooting 38.8% which is poor but a bigger issue continues to be the lack of second chance point. Once again in a problem that has been present each game is offensive rebounding, the Bearcats missed 30 shots but pulled down only 10 offensive boards. The result of not getting second chance shots, UAB took 10 more shots than UC for the game.
The final blow to the Cats effort was turnovers with 17 for UC compared to 11 for UAB. The Blazers had 16 points off of turnovers. Any team that doesn't shoot well, doesn't rebound well, and turns the ball over comes up with one outcome, lopsided defeats.
The one bright spot for the night was the charity stripe. The team shot a solid 11-14 (78.6%).
There are several possibilities to explain this performance, young players on the road for the first time is certainly part of it. Immaturity showed up in the second half when freshmen Alvin Mitchell picked up two technical fowls, an automatic disqualification.
Youth and experience can explain the performance of the freshmen, what it cannot explain is the whole team. Mick Cronin seems to be looking for someone, anyone to step up and be a leader. The two players that are expected to lead are sophomore guard Deonta Vaughn and senior forward John Williamson, combined they made 3 of 10 shots for 9 points.
Right now this out are out of sync leaving fans with more question than answers.
Bearcats Fall On The Road To UAB
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