In an up and down game that saw the University of Cincinnati Bearcats (10-5, 0-2 Big East) lose to the Providence Friars (11-4, 3-0 Big East) defense was the topic of the night, or lack thereof. In their Big East home opener the Bearcats gave up 87 points, they allowed 12 three pointers and gave up 15 easy points in free throws in the second half alone.
"It's fairly obvious our defense was not up to par tonight," said head coach Mick Cronin "Until we can get five guys out on the court who can defend and know when it is crunch time….we are going to continue to struggle.
The ‘Cats were not without offensive potency either. Both Deonta Vaughn, and Mike Williams had 20 points on the night. Rashad Bishop fueled the team in the second half with two clutch three point shots to keep the Bearcats in the game after being down by 13. He ended the game with eleven points.
In the second half UC came back from 13 points down to tie it, and then three minutes later come back from seven down to tie the game again. But they were without a crucial defensive stop. Cronin certainly took notice to this.
"We won 8 Big East games last year playing defense. Defense does not take talent it takes heart, focus, effort and energy," Coach Cronin stated "and right now we are struggling to get five guys out there defensively. Partly because we are playing too many young guys. In every Big East game this year we will be grossly out manned from a maturity standpoint. We have got to erase that with tremendous focus and tremendous hustle"
UC is capable of putting their defense together, and when they do it is hard to beat them. Since losing to the ‘Cats back on November 29, UNLV has not been beaten since.
"I know we are capable of it," said Cronin "we defended UNLV well, Florida State, even Memphis we did well."
The Bearcats will need to bring their best defense on Saturday when they take on the Huskies from UCONN (13-1, 2-1 Big East). If they lose it will mean an 0-3 start to their Big East campaign and it will be a tremendous ditch to dig themselves out of.
Bearcats Lack Defense
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