Special to GoBearcats.com
After he hesitated,
"It was just a snowball effect," coach Mick Cronin said. "
Even when the Flyers actually did drape over
Their efforts culminated in a 21-point first half lead wide as the river that wraps U.S. Bank Arena.
The energy translated over to the other side of the ball, as
"Whenever you play with high energy, everyone feeds off it,"
Like he's been waiting for his team's shots to fall, Cronin has been hoping for a breakout performance from forward Ibrahima Thomas. The 6-11 skyscraper from
Thomas became the man in the middle for the Bearcats after two early fouls sent Yancy Gates to the pine. Gates played but three minutes in the first half. With their usual source for offense gazing from the sidelines, Bishop and
"He was excellent," Cronin said. "He played through fatigue, probably the best stretch he's played all season...It was good to see him that intense and hold down the fort for us."
The Bearcats have struggled in the second half after thriving at the beginning of the games, but not this time.
"Growing up, that's what happened," Darnell Wilks said about coming out strong in the second half. "We knew we could come out and play hard like we did in the first half. You saw us growing up and trying to do that."
The ground underneath
As Brian Gregory called timeout, the
UC enjoyed the final minutes as the time ran off on one of the most dominating wins over a major opponent in the Mick Cronin era. And the most encouraging sign to date that era could be finally starting to blossom.
"I didn't have to do anything (to motivate our guys)," Cronin said. "The way they beat us in our own arena last year is embarrassing enough. I was banking on our guys having enough pride that I didn't have to talk a whole lot about it, and they came out hard."