#4: A VERY SPECIAL SENIOR NIGHT
Senior nights are always events filled with wide swings in emotion from us fans. On the one hand we’re celebrating the careers of these Bearcats and everything they’ve done for the program over the last few years. On the other we’re saying goodbye to them and witnessing the final time they’ll play on Jucker Court at Fifth Third Arena as UC players. It’s never easy parting ways with the young men who poured blood, sweat, and tears on the hardwood for this team.
But this year’s senior night felt even more special that in the past.
Maybe it’s just my short term memory that has caused me to overlook the final home game for Yancy Gates and Cashmere Wright. Maybe these particular seniors from this past season meant more to this program than the others. Maybe it’s the fact that this team in general overachieved based off their preseason expectations and guys like Kilpatrick and Jackson were a big part of that.
Regardless, senior night on March 6th was unforgettable. It started with the pregame ceremonies. I have to admit, Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson pouring tears down their faces really got to me. Kilpatrick finished his career as Cincinnati’s #2 all-time scorer and Jackson blossomed into a well-rounded, if at times dominating, power forward. Then there was David Nyarsuk who, while he didn’t play a ton, played well in relief when JJ was chained to the bench in foul trouble. And how about Titus Rubles? The forward from Blinn, Texas couldn’t help himself when it came to midrange jumpers but my goodness could the big man grab rebounds. He was perhaps the most frustratingly talented Bearcat basketball player in recent memory. Finally, Derek Cox played just one season for Cincinnati, primarily due to the transfer of Jeremiah Davis III, but this team was his third while at UC. That takes some kind of demi-god like athleticism.
Watching these Bearcats play on Cincinnati’s home court for the very last time was made even better by the shellacking UC handed AAC rival Memphis that night. 97 points was the most the good guys had dropped on a conference opponent since Louisville in 2003. Plus the soldout crowd at Fifth Third Arena donned in red was incredible. Their energy really helped propel this team to victory. The win also helped save Cincinnati’s AAC title hopes, as losses to the Cardinals and Huskies in their previous two games tightened UC’s lead in the championship race.
Honestly, I can’t do the night justice. You’ll have to see it for yourself. First are the pregame festivities where the seniors are honored at midcourt.
Then the highlights of the game. Enjoy!