Cincinnati Bearcats held the Owls to 28 points in the first half, while only allowing them to shoot 36 percent from the field. At one point UC held Kennesaw State without a field goal for a span of 7:39 covering the end of the first half and start of the second, outscoring the Owls 18-6 during that run.
"Coach Cronin felt like we haven't really played defense like Cincinnati is known for playing defense," said senior forward Justin Jackson. "We focused on that in practice especially against Kennesaw State because they are a really good offensive team and we knew playing defense would win us this game."
Jackson finished with 11 points, 7 rebounds with 4 blocks, giving him 3 or more blocks in every game this season. Three other Bearcats reached double figures yesterday, led by senior guard Sean Kilpatrick with 20 points and 6 assists. Titus Rubles finished by matching his career and season high with 14 points, while Shaquille Thomas added 11 points, his season high.
UC forced the Owls to 20 turnovers, converting those into 23 points and 23 second chance points. Those second chance points came from the Bearcats attacking the bounds, they had 20 offensive rebounds.
UC set another season best as a team dishing out 20 assist in yesterday's win. Following the holiday the Bearcats played in front of 6,627 at Fifth Third Arena and are back on the court Tuesday against USC Upstate. Coach Mick Cronin talked about how this next game is no cake walk.
"The water gets deeper for us Tuesday night, I don't care what our opponent's name is South Carolina Upstate can play," Coach Cronin explained. "They have real players. They beat Virginia Tech. They blew a close game late at Tennessee when they were up by 10 in second half. They lost by one against Kent State. Kent State made 18 threes. Kent State has a great coach Rob Senderoff. They won at Temple and they have a real team. They lost in the last second to Seton Hall. South Carolina Upstate can play and they are a rock solid mid-major, we knew that they have all seniors returning, a returning player in their league, and returned their starting five. They are extremely well coached and that's why we scheduled them. They are 69 in the RPI and we play Middle Tennessee State later on which is another team that may not have a great name, another rock solid team. We are going to have to play in order to win. So we are going to need all the fans support we can get on Tuesday night."