UC head coach Mick Cronin has been under the weather for quite some time, including our time interviewing him before the San Diego State game. He underwent extensive medical testing last night, and an unruptured brain aneurysm was unfortunately discovered. Mick notified the team in person an hour before tipoff this morning that he would not be coaching due to doctor’s orders. He instead traveled home to rest. Knowing Mick, we are sure he was furiously yelling at the referees on TV from his bed.
Mick’s best friend and associate head coach, Larry Davis, led the Bearcats in his absence. It is unknown how long Mick Cronin will be out. UC plays Wagner at home on Tuesday, December 23rd, and at NC State on Tuesday, November 30th. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the Cronin family, and we hope him a speedy and full recovery.
As for the game, it was clear from the tipoff the Bearcats were without their emotional and rambunctious leader on the floor in Mick Cronin. VCU shot the 3-ball 48.4%, and from the field at 42.6%. They made 15 three-pointers. The Rams only attempted one free throw, but ran away with this one, 68-47. The home crowd advantage of 9,520 fans could not stop the Rams.
The Cats won the battles for points in the paint, free throws attempted and made, second chance points, bench points, fast break points, blocks, and offensive and defensive rebounding. However, UC was simply killed by the 3, and only shot the ball from the field at 33.3%. Junior #2 Octavius Ellis led the Cats with 12 points, 7 rebounds, 3 blocks, and 2 steals.
The VCU loss broke a 16-game winning streak for UC in regular season non-conference home games, with the last defeat on December 27, 2012, to New Mexico, 55-54.
The growing pains of this young and energetic UC squad continue.