On Dec. 14, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats defeated the Florida A&M Rattlers 77-50, improving to 8-3 overall, 6-1 at home.
The Bearcats were without guard Mason Madsen, as he missed his first game of the season.
Cincinnati Head Coach Wes Miller said that Madsen had been dealing with some hip issues throughout the season, and Madsen’s injury required him to sit this game out.
The Bearcats and Rattlers kept it a close one for the first six minutes, trading baskets until Florida A&M held a 12-11 lead.
In those first six, Cincinnati guard Mike Saunders Jr. helped the Bearcats stay close with seven straight Cincinnati points, going back and forth with Florida A&M. Saunders made a layup to cap off his personal run, and from that point on it was all Cincinnati.
The Bearcats preceded to score 11 straight points, finishing with a three from guard David DeJulius that gave the red and black a 10 point lead, 22-12.The two teams both kept the same pace for the rest of the half, as Cincinnati held a 12 point, 34-22 lead after 20 minutes.
Florida A&M ran their starters for the majority of the half, with all the starters playing at least 15 minutes each and totaling all of their 22 first-half points.
Cincinnati forward Jeremiah Davenport had just two points on five shots in the first half. In the second half, however, he found more success. Davenport opened the second half scoring with five points and finished the game with a team-high 16 points. Miller is seemingly still looking for ways to make him even more productive.
“Trying to find ways to put him in a position to take advantage of his ability and give him the best opportunity to make a good play is something that we’ve been working on from day one,” Miller said.
Florida A&M’s guard, MJ Randolph, finished the game with a game-high 22 points, as he was responsible for nearly half of the Rattlers’ points.
The Bearcats, on the other hand, spread their scoring out. Throughout the game, the Bearcats got all of their depth involved, playing 13 players and having 11 of them score, with their depth being a consistent key for them this season.
Another key for the Bearcats was how well they took advantage of Florida A&M’s mistakes. The Rattlers turned the ball over 14 times, and the Bearcats scored 26 points off those turnovers.
The Bearcats also found success rebounding at the rim, winning that battle 48-33 and winning the offensive rebound battle 19-12. However, Miller did express some concerns on the rebounding following his victory.
“I’ve thought about defensive rebounding in ways that I never thought I would have to think about it before,” Miller said. “It is an Achilles heel of our team at the moment.”
Miller, however, sees the light at the end of the tunnel. “We have the talent and the ability to fix it, and we have the willingness within our locker room to do it right, but we gotta get it corrected,” he said.
The Bearcats will take on the Texas Southern Tigers next on Dec. 18. The game will be back in Fifth Third Arena, for the Bearcats second of three in a row at home, with tip off at noon.