It was bound to happen, but no one could have expected to come the way it did. Cincinnati men’s basketball opened their doors to a one-loss New Mexico team on Thursday in Fifth Third Arena. Riding high on an undefeated season and trying to stay that way through the holiday season, the Bearcats couldn’t get enough done on the court. The Lobos gave Cincinnati and their fans an unwanted gift; their team’s first loss by a score of 55-54.
A one point loss is quite possibly the worse way to lose your grasp on an undefeated season. Players and coaches are left wondering; what if there was one more play, one less turnover, one more basket. All that is left is blame, heartache, and the need to move on and get better.
Cincinnati’s head coach Mick Cronin was heard saying that the success of his team made them soft. That may be the case, but in the end it was bad shooting and the inability to break away in the game. The Bearcats have struggled with this early on in their last few matchups. Maybe their issues have finally just caught up with them.
New Mexico held UC to just 31.3 percent shooting from the field, while the Bearcats missed 21 of their shots inside of the paint. Neither team led by more than six points throughout the game, as defenses came up big in the matchup.
The Bearcats were led by Sean Kilpatrick who put up 15 points, four rebounds, and two assists. JaQuon Parker backed him up with 14 points, six rebounds, and two assists. Cashmere Wright came in with 12 points on the board, three rebounds, and four assists. The rest of team combined for just 13 points, headed by Shaquille Thomas with five.
12-1 Cincinnati will hit the road to face 12-1 Pitt on New Years Eve at noon for their first taste of Big East action this season.