"This is a whole new beginning," said Sean Kilpatrick Monday night.
The Bearcats destroyed Canada's Carleton University 89-57 through the contributions of redshirt freshman Sean Kilpatrick, junior Dion Dixon, and junior Yancy Gates.
Gates managed 23 points against an undersized unit. More impressive was his free throw line (7-8).
As a career 59% foul shooter, Gates continues to work in this facet of his game.
Often bigger and stronger than his opponent, Gates certainly recognized it tonight. Assertive in the paint and committed to the offense Gates established his position extremely well.
"When you see how hard other people it kind of pushes you to work harder," said Gates. "Working hard can get you those games that you lose by one or two; you can win by one or two."
Concerns about Gates in the past have revolved around consistency. Coach Cronin believes that is part of the past and Gates is ready for a big year.
UC fans certainly hope so. Gates will be called upon to replace some of the scoring of departed senior Deonta Vaughn and Lance Stephenson.
Clawing for more
"Obviously guys played very hard tonight," said Coach Mick Cronin. "We had 42 deflections."
Many of the points came off turnovers created by freshman Justin Jackson. He led the team with four steals in his college debut.
In all Cincinnati collected 12 steals along the way. The backcourt was very disruptive from Cashmere Wright to JaQuon Parker.
"Once fatigue started to become a factor in the game Carleton was in trouble," said Coach Cronin. "Our bench was a huge factor for us."
Cincinnati outscored the Ravens 49-27 in the second half.
"Since practice has started we have been focused on building our defense inside out because we had a lot of offense," said Coach Cronin. "We were definitely better tonight than in any game in Canada with 32 points off turnovers."
Aim is true(r)
Free throw shooting was a monumental concern last season. With an extremely small sample size it appears the team is slightly better in that statistical bracket.
Forty free throw attempts allowed for 29 makes from behind the charity stripe. Kilpatrick and Parker didn't miss and UC frontcourt players managed to make 15-20.
Coach Cronin is accustomed to fans approaching him with free throw suggestions. In fact he believes he was told numerous times that four to six more games would have been won last year with better shooting.
The 72.5% effort tonight certainly appears more encouraging for a team that was dead last in the Big East with 61.5% a year ago.
The Bearcats opened the month and the season on a positive note. They hope to continue the momentum next Tuesday night against Indiana University Southeast. Game tips at 7:00 PM.
The regular season begins November 15th with Mount St. Mary's strolling into Fifth Third Arena.