No Coach Could Do What Mick Cronin And The Bearcats Did Against Houston
Peel back the layers from Cincinnati Men’s Basketball comeback victory over the Houston Cougars at BB&T Arena. What do you see?
The outer layers show, first and foremost a win. A come from behind victory. Overcoming a Houston team that shot lights at the beginning of the game and made the Bearcats number two ranked defense in the country look like the Xavier Musketeers pitiful defensive unit. The officiating was utter garbage but the Cats able to overcome that.
Keep peeling. Kyle Washington decided to show up in a big game and provided the team with a huge offensive spark. The senior had 19 points and lots of energy. Justin Jenifer finally scored a bucket for the first time in three games, and it was three-pointer early in the second half to tie the game at 40.
And more peeling. Jarron Cumberland continues his recent surge dropping 15 points and knocking down key free throws which he has struggled from the line all season. Let’s not forget that guy Jacob Evans whose NBA stock rises every game the Junior stud dropped 18 points including a buzzer beating banker three to end the first half and pull his team within three at the break.
That’s enough peeling. What you’re left with is No. 8 Cincinnati’s 80-70 win over the Houston Cougars. A team in the Cougars that will make the NCAA Tournament and go to the elite eight because they are just that good. Better than Wichita State and better than Cincinnati but the Bearcats refused to give in after trailing by 18 in the first half. Kelvin Sampson has his Cougars on the brink of a potential final four, and it could be better than the last championship team for Houston. We’re talking stuff 30 for 30’s should be made of.
Rob Gray who is the best player in the country only scored 9 points on 4-15 shooting. The Bearcats held the future number one pick in the NBA draft way under his season average of 19 points per game.Gray is the real deal he is better than Trae Young from Oklahoma.
Sampson will be the coach of the year in the American because of the magnificent coaching job he has done with Houston, but Cronin was a little better than him on this night.
The Cougars had two players fouled out, and those were significant losses cause they needed them badly.
By my count, four were in double figures in Cincinnati’s emotional win against Houston. Chris Mack taught us you need 4 at least players in double digits to win. The Cats had four. Houston had two in the starting lineup and two coming off the bench. Chris Mack algorithm math states that’s a Cincinnati win.
To recap, Cronin had. A.) Kyle Washington had 19 points B.) Jacob Evans scored 18 points/Jarron Cumberland 15 points C.) Gary Clark had 14 points and ten rebound while battling foul trouble D). Coming back from 18 points against a high power Houston’ offense. You just don’t game plan for those scenarios, or anything close to it. You only dream of having a team this talented.
Instead of feeling sorry for themselves and surrendering to Houston’ fantastic offense, Cincinnati put its hard hats on and went to work.
So we all can agree that the officiating calls on both sides were terrible. Houston fans think they got cheated because the refs allowed UC to stay in the game. Next, these two teams play in the best arena in the country down south it could be a way different story.
Kyle Washington was a man on Wednesday night. If this guy shows up like that in March, then this Bearcat team can go far because he’s such an x-factor. Him driving those fake threes with his fake shot is just simply amazing.
This win doesn’t have the appeal of at UCLA or the win against Mississippi State on a national scale (Seth Davis you rat), but it’s right up there regarding what it meant to the UC locker room.
The team is only faltering in the sense that they’re falling victim to “life in the American,” and that’s not fair. People will look at this score and see it’s Houston and not be impressed. Well, you should because I already said that the Cougars are the best team Cincinnati will play all season.
The Bearcats will hit the road to take on the UConn Huskies on Saturday at noon on ESPN2.
This whole blog was written by The Enquirer’s Pat Brennan weeks ago about Xavier’s “impressive” win over Marshall. It was absurd at the time and a crazy spin zone. We decided to take Pat’s article and plug UC’s stats against UCF into it. The Enquirer won’t spin area this win for UC as a positive so we’ll use their article to do it ourselves.
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