The Cincinnati Bearcats opened the 2012-13 campaign with an 80-60 exhibition victory over Division II Grand Valley State.
It was a game that had its fair share of ups and downs for Cincinnati, but the Bearcats flashed a lot of potential, backing up the claim that this is the most talented team Cincinnati has had in over a decade.
The speed, athleticism and high-octane offense was on full display as Cincinnati pressed full-court for parts of the game and forced 13 Lakers turnovers.
As expected, the three experienced guards dominated for Cincinnati. Junior Sean Kilpatrick led the way with 18 points. Seniors Jaquon Parker and Cashmere Wright poured in 16 and 13 points, respectively.
Perhaps the most pleasant surprise for Cincinnati was the play of senior center Cheikh Mbodj. He had eight points and five blocks in 26 solid minutes.
Junior-college transfer Titus Rubles showed why he earned the start, scoring 11 points with eight rebounds and two assists.
With all the explosive offensive weapons Cincinnati has, the group still struggled in spurts, allowing Grand Valley State to hang in for most of the night.
The Bearcats were without the services of junior big man Justin Jackson who was held out with a minor thumb injury.
He is the perfect complement to the three-guard offense, and when he is back healthy, the offensive will be that much more explosive.
The Bearcats now have a week to prepare for their final exhibition game against Division II Bellarmine.
After that, it will be the start of the regular season on Nov. 11 at home against Tennessee-Martin. Expect a season that is fast paced and high scoring. A little different from Bearcats' teams of the past.
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