Thursday, November 20, 2014

Cold Shooting Dooms Morehead State at Cincinnati

Cincinnati 69
Morehead State 61

Final from Cincinnati, Ohio

Game recap by MSU:

CINCINNATI -- Junior Farad Cobb erupted for a game-high 24 points on 6-of-9 from three-point range, and the Cincinnati men's basketball team recorded a 69-61 victory over Morehead State on Wednesday evening at Fifth Third Arena.

The American Athletic Conference Bearcats open the season with their second straight home win. The Ohio Valley Conference Eagles slip to 1-2 on the campaign and 0-2 on the road. Cincinnati also moves to 11-2 in the series with its seventh consecutive victory over MSU.

"Give Cincinnati credit," Head Coach Sean Woods said. "They are long and athletic, which presents challenges for any opponent. We didn't execute in some situations tonight, but this loss is not due to a lack of effort. I thought we battled at UNLV, and we battled again tonight."

Cobb, a junior college transfer who was held scoreless in UC's season opener, connected on 8-of-14 overall and drilled two-thirds of UC's long balls. Junior Octavis Ellis added 16 points on 10-of-13 from the foul line, while sophomore Troy Caupain added 13 on 8-of-11 from the same spot.

The contest featured several scoring runs. Cincinnati registered a 15-0 surge in the first half, thanks to continuous free-throw attempts. Morehead State answered with a 13-0 burst to end the first half and begin the second. UC's 14-3 second-half run then put the game out of reach.

"I'm not a patient person, but it's going to take us time to get completely acclimated," Woods said. "We have several new players, who are learning how we do things, and we have a handful of guys who are coming back from injuries. We will continue to work hard and get better."

Cincinnati led for more than 32 minutes, but its largest advantage was only 13 points late in the first half. Morehead State had a two-point cushion 10 minutes in and tied the contest on multiple occasions after intermission. There were six ties and four lead changes overall.

Cincinnati was +10 in made free throws and +18 in charity-stripe attempts. Morehead State was whistled for 27 fouls on the night, including six by the first media timeout, while the Bearcats committed 20. Cobb's big night led to a 33-11 upper hand in bench points for UC.

"Cobb had a great night, but he's the only Cincinnati player who made more than three shots," Woods said. "I thought we defended pretty well, but it's hard to win on the road when the opponent shoots 34 free throws. When you look at the stat sheet, that was the difference tonight."

Junior Brent Arrington paced three Eagles in double figures with 21 points on 8-of-14 from the floor and 4-of-6 from long distance. Senior Angelo Warner added 14 points and six rebounds for MSU, while senior Kareem Storey contributed 11 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.

Complete Recap

My thoughts:

- In many ways, this felt like an even matchup. Farad Cobb got hot in the second half and gave the Bearcats a lead that the Eagles couldn't overcome, but Morehead was in the game from start to finish.

- Cincinnati may struggle this season. The Bearcats have a young roster and their veteran players have never been stars or statistical leaders. The team has a difficult schedule coming up in December and I'll be surprised if they're able to knock off the likes of VCU, Nebraska, SMU, San Diego State and North Carolina State.

- Morehead State is a little better than you think. The Eagles are going to be a handful in the Ohio Valley Conference this season. I'm sticking with my pick of Morehead State winning the OVC East and I think they'll be in the mix for a tournament title in Nashville.

 - I'll have a Road Trip article with more details on this soon, but Fifth Third Arena is a little different than I expected. The arena kind of feels like a large, "glorified" high school gym. I actually visited a men's restroom at halftime that had one urinal and one toilet.

- It was cool to see "The Big O" Oscar Robertson in the house. Anytime to see a legend's statue out front and then see said legend in person inside, it's a good night. He is definitely one of the all-time greats.

No comments:

Blog Archive