Point guard Cane Broome wasn’t overly concerned when the Bearcats opened the game in another shooting slump.
“If we’re not making shots and we stop them, then nobody’s going to score,” Broome said.
It always comes back to defense and rebounding for Cincinnati, and the Bearcats had enough of both to get another win on Friday night. Trevon Scott and Nysier Brooks each had a double-double, and Cincinnati broke open a close game in the second half for a 74-63 victory over Milwaukee.
“Bearcat basketball,” Scott said.
Broome had a team-high 17 points, and the Bearcats finished with five players in double figures. Scott had 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Brooks got 12 and 10 — the first set of Cincinnati players with double-doubles since Gary Clark and Kyle Washington pulled it off at Iowa State on Dec. 1, 2016.
“That’s at the top of our priority list, that’s No. 1 to anything — rebounding,” Scott said.
Broome struggled with his shot during an opening 64-56 home loss to Ohio State and didn’t start the next game, a 73-51 win over North Carolina Central . He made 8 of 12 shots on Friday, regaining some confidence.
“I mean, it wasn’t like I was in the tank,” Broome said. “But you want to make shots. It was in the back of my head.”
Cincinnati point guard Justin Jenifer had a stomach virus and didn’t play, costing Cincinnati its best perimeter defender. Coach Mick Cronin wasn’t happy with the way Milwaukee shot 52 percent in the first half .
“Defense is — for the 9 millionth time — my concern,” Cronin said. “A lot of defensive breakdowns. We’re getting beat off the dribble, getting lost, not a lot of talk and communication, not a lot of intensity.”
Carson Warren-Newsome had 18 points for Milwaukee (0-4), which was outrebounded 37-25. The Panthers are 0-4 for the first time since 1994-95, when they dropped their first seven games.
The Panthers opened the game with a 12-3 run, making five of their first seven shots, and kept it close most of the way.
The Panthers led 49-48 when Jarron Cumberland made a 3-pointer, Broome hit a pull-up jumper, and Cumberland made a floater in the lane for a six-point lead the Bearcats wouldn’t relinquish. Broome added a pair of baskets that pushed the lead to 11 points.
Abram hits another 3?? and Roy’s layup makes it a new game at 46-46! pic.twitter.com/MUkc8OtR78
“You just have to commend our guys for coming in to such a tough environment and playing as hard as they did,” coach Pat Baldwin said.
Milwaukee: The Panthers were coming off a pair of one-possession losses — 63-60 against North Dakota and 86-83 at Florida International . They kept it close again on Friday before going cold, managing only three baskets over 10 minutes as the Bearcats took control.
“We’re close,” Baldwin said. “Like I told them, it’s a matter of details in what we’re trying to get accomplished — what we need to get to. Once we get there, I think we’re going to be fine.”
Cincinnati: The Bearcats remain prone to long stretches of struggling on offense. They managed only three points in the first 6 minutes, going 1 of 8. By contrast, the Panthers hit open shots.
“Our defensive intensity wasn’t where it needed to be,” Broome said.
Milwaukee and Cincinnati have played only one other time since the Panthers moved up to Division I for the 1990-91 season. Cincinnati won 93-60 during the 1991-92 season.
DOMINATING THE HORIZON
Cincinnati is 43-3 all-time against current members of the Horizon League. The three losses have come against Detroit (2) and UIC (1).
AT THE LINE
Milwaukee didn’t shoot a free throw in the first half, when Cincinnati was called for three fouls. The Panthers finished 4 of 7 from the line, while Cincinnati went 12 of 20.
NO DOUBLE THIS TIME
Milwaukee’s DeAndre Abram was coming off his second double-double in the loss at Florida International. The Bearcats held him to 10 points on 4-of-11 shooting along with three rebounds.
Milwaukee returns home for the first of two games in the Basketball Hall of Fame Belfast Classic, facing LIU Brooklyn on Tuesday.
Cincinnati hosts Western Michigan on Monday, completing a set of four straight home games to open the season.
Source: The Associated Press