Cincinnati put on a clinic defensively in the first half. Mick elected to go with a full-court press for much of the first 20 minutes and the relentless pressure forced 17 River Hawk turnovers. At one point, UMass-Lowell had as many turnovers as field goal attempts. These mistakes also caused the River Hawks to commit quick fouls. UC found itself in the bonus with 12:30 to go in the first half. It was this defensive pressure and strong rebounding on the offensive end that pushed Cincinnati to a 47-27 halftime lead.
The scoring died down a bit in the second half. UC scored just 32 after halftime but that wasn’t the key tonight. What was important was a defense that forced 28 total turnovers and held the River Hawks to 49 points. Cincinnati also got it done on the glass, allowing UMass-Lowell to grab just 4 offensive rebounds. Overall the Bearcats played a clean, dominating game on both ends of the court. Clearly the disparity in talent played a huge factor tonight but the fact that the youngsters and vets are gelling nicely is encouraging.
Cincinnati hosts the Kennesaw State Owls on Friday, the first game in what is bound to develop into a bloody rivalry.