Just as Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin said in his post game press conference the blood pressure went up and a few strands of hair were in danger of coming off his head. But in the end the Bearcats came out on top in a game that was two games in one.
Early in the game the Bearcats enjoyed a great run towards the end of the first half. Cronin stressed he felt the effort of his team was the best he'd seen since taking over the program.
"We finished the half with 27 deflections, which is a high in my two and a half years. Defense is energy and changes the game, and I thought that run was the difference in the game."
Led by Deonta Vaughn's team high 16 points the Bearcats would place four players in double figures including freshmen Yancy Gates (12 pts) and Dion Dixon (14 pts).
But the hot shooting Bearcats hit heavy in the first half scoring 47 points on 53% shooting from the field including 50% from behind the three-point stripe. The second half was as kind by the Bearcats showed they had the ability to hang on and win a game they should.
But as Coach Cronin stressed the effort on defense was major as the Bearcats pulled down 29 defensive rebounds and 41 total boards outpacing Mississippi State who could only pull down 4 offensive boards and 27 total boards on the night.
The win moved the Bearcats to 8-2 for the season with three games left to finish out play prior to starting Big East play.
The Bearcats will host Eastern Kentucky on Saturday followed by another game on Monday aginst Arkansas-Pine Bluff before heading to Memphis for what will be a major test.
Bearcat Insider Game Ball
Deonta Vaughn receives the Bearcat Insider Game Ball for his performance against Mississippi State as the junior from Indianapolis, Indiana scored 16 points, pulled down 7 rebounds and recorded 3 steals in 38 minutes of play.
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