The story of the game was the stifling defense and the rebounding differential on both ends of the court that the Bearcats (3-0) put on display against the Western Illinois Leathernecks (1-3). WIU's leading scorer, senior David DuBois, was held to seven points under his average of 20.3 points per game. UC won the rebounding battle 54-24, as Steve Toyloy lead the way with eight, while Anthony McClain added seven and Rashad Bishop and Yancy Gates each grabbed six boards.
It was another quiet game from Deonta Vaughn as he went 2-of-6 from the floor and 0-for-3 from behind the arc. Alvin Mitchell picked up the slack scoring as he went 4-of-5 from the three point line and led all scorers with a game-high 19 points.
Coach Cronin had nothing but praise for his sophomore forward.
"Alvin is an example that if you practice hard, really hard every day it makes the games easy," Cronin said. "You can't help but get better."
"I was just trying to play off what they were giving me and make the right pass or make the right play most of the time," said Mitchell of his play in the win. Mitchell added four rebounds, two assists, and a steal playing a team-high 26 minutes.
Even through a convincing victory coach Mick Cronin was still not pleased. The Bearcats gave up 20 total turnovers, ten of which were in the post. The coach insisted that this will be a focal point of his team's practice this week.
The Bearcats defense held the Leathernecks to a season low 46 points, as they shot 17-of-61 (27.9 percent) from the floor and 4-of-16 (25 percent) from three point range.
WIU head coach Jim Molinari credited the Cincinnati defense for his team's poor shooting effort.
"They had us short arming things around the basket, because we think we're open and then all of a sudden they use their size and quickness," said Molinari. "These guys really fly to the ball and do a great job, so I give them a lot of credit for that."
Anthony McClain had a strong defensive game, contributing four of Cincinnati's ten blocks while playing just twelve minutes. McClain also accounted for eight points and seven rebounds.
Senior guard Josh Rivers led the way for the Leathernecks offensively with 14 points, while DuBois added 13, shooting just 5-of-19 from the floor.
"We take a lot of pride in our defense, and our identity as a team," said Cronin. "The important thing is that it took (DuBois) 19 shots to get 13 points."
Despite the team's success, the Bearcats recognize that there are areas in their game that they need to work on.
"out of a game like today we're still learning things, learning about more things that we need to work on as far as transition points, because we didn't have any transition points today," said UC senior forward Mike Williams. "So we know that that's something we need to work on."
The Bearcat's next game will be against Coastal Carolina, November 24th at 7:30pm in Fifth Third Arena.
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