The Bengals weren’t the only team breaking hearts around the Queen City on Saturday afternoon. When the 12-1 Bearcats took the court against the 8-5 Red Storm in Fifth Third Arena, everyone thought that the game would be an easy one with a winning outcome for the home team. What they got was a close matchup that sent Cincinnati home with a one point deficit and only their second loss of the 2012 NCAA Basketball season.
The Bearcats jumped out to a fast start, unlike some of the previous games and led the visiting St. John’s men early in the first half. However, after a D’Angelo Harrison jumper with 11:48 left before halftime, the Red Storm took advantage of poor shooting by the Bearcats and went on a run of their own. With 1:27 left in the first half, Jakarr Sampson made a layup that gave St. Johns their first lead of the game. It was a lead they took into the locker room with a score of 24-21 over Cincinnati.
When the two teams returned to the court, it was much the same for the Bearcats. The Red Storm outscored the Bearcats 12-3 in the first five and half minutes in the second half of play. Cincinnati was struggling in the paint throughout the night and though they went on a run to end the game, the heroics were too little too late for the Bearcat fans.
Cincinnati lost the game, at the end of regulation, by another heartbreaking score of 53-52. Both of their losses (their first loss to New Mexico) came by one point, leaving the Bearcats with a lot of what-ifs and plenty of room for improvement.
Cincinnati’s men were held to just 28.6 percent shooting in the first half Saturday and only 31.7 percent for the game. They were simply outplayed in a game that they should have dominated.
Cashmere Wright was the team’s leading scorer again, putting up 23 with four rebounds and two assists. Titus Rubles had a big game off of the bench with 14 points, three rebound, and two assists. The next leading scorer for Cincinnati didn’t even braise double digits, as Sean Kilpatrick only put seven up on the board and added five rebounds and two assists of his own.
Cincinnati will try to rebound on Monday night against 21st ranked Notre Dame at home at 7:00pm EST.