The No. 17 Cincinnati Bearcats fell yesterday to 23rd-ranked Pittsburgh, 62-52, in a tale of two halves for the host Bearcats. Despite holding a 31-26 lead at halftime, the Bearcats shooting woes were ever-present, as they shot only 40.7%, including 3-for-9 from three-point range. This has been their Achilles heel all season long–lack of a consistent shooting. The second half–even worse. They shot only 20 percent on 5-of-25 shooting–1-for-16 from deep.
Was it the zone defense Pitt played in the second half? If you watched the game, Cincy had plenty of open looks, especially guard Sean Kilpatrick, who totaled 16 points for the game, but only one in the second stanza–and shot a dismal 33% for the game.
As a team, the Bearcats were only able to shoot 30.8% for the game and even worse from three-point range (16%).
Rebounding and solid defense can only take you so far in college basketball and the Bearcats are finding that out too soon. They’re in the toughest stretch of their schedule over the next two weeks as they host giant-killer Villanova and an inconsistent No. 20 Georgetown before hitting the road for games with the always dangerous Connecticut Huskies and No. 25 Notre Dame, who you might have heard a little about yesterday.
So Cincy had better figure this out quick or their 6-5 Big East record could quickly drop under .500.
On the year, the Bearcats are only shooting 38.2 percent from the floor in Big East games, better than only the 1-10 South Florida Bulls (35.9%).
Their defense has carried them to an 18-6 record so far, but come March, they had better figure out a way to ratchet up the field goal percentage because 41.6% won’t have them dancing too long.