In Front of a Less-Than-Capacity Crowd, UC Knocks Houston from Big 12 Contention

My apologies for the terrible article title.  It’s just how I imagine Kimball Perry might describe last night’s result if he were writing for the Houston Chronicle.  And for further context, click here.

Last night’s game against Houston featured the two UC teams that the fan base has come to hate and love.  The “first half” UC team is difficult to watch, and was present for nearly all 20 minutes of the first half.  The first half-ers cannot score (shooting a paltry 36.4% from the floor), give up a lot of turnovers, and cannot shoot the three ball.  Last night’s first half performance even featured a silly technical foul where Ellis shoved (both hands extended) Chicken Knowles mid-flight.  Ellis was ejected for that.  Somehow, though, the Bearcats entered halftime trailing only by three.  I think that’s because they were: (A) playing Houston, a team that came into the game featuring only one conference victory, (B) in front of a crowd that was so small it did not factor into the game in any way.  The reported figure for last night’s attendance was 3,562.  However, if you were watching the game, you could see that that number was far less, maybe less than 1,500.

On the other hand, the “second half” UC team took over from the start of the second half.  The second half-ers started the half by creating two quick turnovers and scoring easy buckets.  The second half squad was able to wallpaper over the turnovers and weak scoring that the first half-ers provided, shooting 50% from the floor, scoring 38 second half points.  Moreover, the Bearcats were 4-8 from three-point land in the second half.

Maybe most important on the game, UC scored more than 60 points.  History instructs that when the Bearcats score more than 60, they typically add a number to the win column.  Gary Clark and Shaq Thomas were the two players that carried the team.  Clark scored 11 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, while Shaq added a surprising 18 points.  Cobb (2-8 FG) and Caupain (1-7 FG) struggled to score all game, both scoring only 5 points.  Kevin Johnson scored 12 points, but turned the ball over 4 times.

Despite the three-game losing streak that was broken last night, nearly everyone forecasts the Bearcats to make the tourney.  Jerry Palm features Cincinnati on his daily bubble watch (which is a little terrifying), but commented that the Bearcats have mostly “winnable” games left on the schedule, excluding Tulsa.  What does this mean?  It means the Bearcats need to get the second half-ers to show up in the first half.  It also means that any loss on the purportedly “winnable” games could cost UC their tournament bid.  Time to tighten up.

By Brian Fox

Here are two extras for only the loyalist of readers: