Cincinnati meets its lofty goal in win
by Bill Koch, USA TODAY Sports
The University of Cincinnati Bearcats knew before the game that they were expected to score 100 points against Mississippi Valley State.
“Coach said if we didn’t get there we’d be in trouble,” said point guard Cashmere Wright.
What Mick Cronin actually said was that the Bearcats should score 100 against the Delta Devils because of the talent disparity. His players obliged, posting a 102-60 victory Tuesday night before 5,617 fans at Fifth Third Arena.
The 102 points were the most scored by a UC team since the Bearcats beat North Carolina A&T, 105-69, on Dec. 30, 2005. No. 24 UC (2-0) has won 21 straight non-conference home games.
Mississippi Valley State (0-2) returns only one player from last season’s 21-13 team that won the Southwestern Athletic Conference. This was the second of 11 straight road games to start the season for the Delta Devils.
There wasn’t much in the way of drama, as is usually the case in these early-season games, but there were some entertaining moments. The play that most excited the crowd was a behind-the-back bounce pass from Wright to Justin Jackson on a fast break in the first half that resulted in Jackson slamming the ball through the basket.
“You’ve got to love it,” Jackson said.
Jackson said he knew the pass was coming before Wright made it pass because Wright had given him a telling look on the way down the court.
“Coach, he’s just letting me be comfortable,” Wright said. “He tells me if you know you can make those passes just go out there and do it.”
Cronin said he has no problem with a little showtime from Wright if the occasion calls for it, which it clearly did in this case. But he’s more interested in execution, especially this early in the season when the Bearcats are trying to hone their skills for the Big East. He liked most of what he saw in this game, especially the play the Bearcats received from their bench.
“I was really happy with the fact that we got 45 points off our bench,” Cronin said. “Our focus tonight was to make sure we played better … [For more on Cincinnati meets its lofty goal in win, click here.]