UC took the lead at half, 30-25 and ended with a final of 69-61 over the Morehead St. Eagles. This is a quality win. Morehead St. beat Louisville in 2011 in the NCAA Tournament, and as Mick Cronin said after the game, they are as big and physical as anyone in the country.
Through two games so far one thing is clear – junior forward Octavius Ellis is the real deal. After leaving the program for a year, Ellis returned hungry, large, and in charge. At 6-10, 230 lbs. he is a monster. He played 30 minutes with 16 points, and 10-13 from the line. JUCO transfer guard Farad Cobb has also been an explosive delight to watch so far, leading UC with 24 points in 28 minutes. Cobb was very efficient, going 6-9 from three-point land.
As with every Mick Cronin coached team, the Cats can play defense. However, this team is still getting to know each other. Offensively, more players need to pose a threat shooting the ball. Ellis and Cobb put up 40 of the 69 points. Guard Troy Caupain contributed another 13, and Jermaine Sanders another 8, including two three-pointers. However, Shaq Thomas merely added three points. In 24 minutes, Gary Clark contributed one basket. The remainder of the team (with the exceptions of guards Ge’Lawn Guyn and Kevin Johnson) are first-year players, and it is still showing on the floor.
Neither team shot well, both at 37%. UC did make a lot of trips to the free throw line, going 22/34.
The season is just beginning, and I certainly have faith in the defense. We just need to improve offensive efficiency, and turn some turnovers into fast-break points.
Next up: Sunday, November 23rd at home against the Eastern Illinois Panthers.
By Technical Writer: Andy Smith