Bearcats Use Big Second Half to Top Marshall.
As has been their mantra this season, Cincinnati used a combination of suffocating defense and solid three point shooting to pull away from Marshall Saturday afternoon, turning a four-point halftime lead into a 72-56 victory. This game was a sloppy affair in the first half, with both teams struggling to score and Marshall committing 12 turnovers. The Bearcats seemingly dominated every aspect of the game in the first half. They committed less turnovers, had more rebounds and steals, and used their size and athleticism advantage to out win the ever important "most loose balls picked up" statistic. However, Marshall was to use their hot three point shooting, they went 5-5 in the first half, and Cincinnati's incredibly poor shooting, they shot 34% and only 1-11 from three, to keep the game even going into halftime. Cincinnati's offense featured a balanced attack in the first half, with no player scoring more than six points, a feat achieved by Cheikh Mbdoj and Justin Jackson. While the first half was seemingly a mess, Cincinnati was able to rebound in second half behind a strong performance from senior point guard, and leader, Cashmere Wright. Wright used a strong stretch in the second half in which he hit three three-pointers to finish the game with 14 points and three assists. While the Bearcats went just 1-11 from three in the first, they finished 5-6 from downtown in the second half to spark the big run that would turn a would-be close game in front of a hostile away crowd, into an easy victory. Normal go-to scorer Sean Kilpatrick struggled throughout the game, finishing with 13 points on a putrid 5-15 showing, including 2-8 from downtown. While his shooting was off, Kilpatrick contributed in other ways, finishing with three offensive rebounds, two assists and two steals. The big story of the night was the play of Justin Jackson and Cheikh Mbdoj. The two big men finished the game with a combined 19 points on a nearly perfect 9-10 shooting. Both big guys used their athleticism to dominate on the defensive end and crash the offensive glass, both important factors in Cincinnati's second half turn around. The Bearcats are back in action this Wednesday in the Cross-town shootout against city rival Xavier at 7pm in Fifth Third Arena.