Cincinnati will try to continue its defensive intensity and win its second straight to open the season when it hosts Detroit Mercy on Friday night.
On Monday night, newcomer Day Day Thomas led the way with 15 points for Cincinnati (1-0) while Dan Skillings Jr. chipped in with 13 to lead the Bearcats to a 69-58 win over Illinois-Chicago. Kentucky transfer CJ Fredrick added 11 to lead Cincinnati to its fourth-straight season-opening win.
Cincinnati held UIC to just 2-of-16 shooting from the 3-point arc while grabbing 11 steals, leading to a 20-2 advantage in points off turnovers.
Thomas sparked a 9-0 second-half run that put the game away for the Bearcats.
“The first thing I will say is enjoy the win,” head coach Wes Miller said. “A lot goes into this and we’re hard on these guys. I can be the devil sometimes to them, but I’m going to let them enjoy a win because they got the first one under their belt. I’m proud of that and happy about that.
“But (then) I’m going to go to being negative, because we have a lot to work on. But 2-for-16 from three for them. I thought that was really good.”
Detroit Mercy (0-1) dropped its opener 94-60 Monday at Toledo, despite a career-high 20 points from graduate student Donovann Toatley, who also added a game-high six assists with three steals.
Senior Jayden Stone scored 15 points with six rebounds for the Titans, who shot over 53 percent from the field but committed 23 turnovers.
“Good shooting but we’ve got to take care of the ball,” said Mike Davis Jr., assistant coach under his father, head coach Mike Davis. “Too many unforced turnovers. We’re not in shape. We’re not in shape to compete right now.”
Redshirt freshman Abdullah Olajuwon, son of Hall of Famer Hakeem Olajuwon, scored his first basket in the season opener at Toledo. Hakeem scored 1,332 points in three years at the University of Houston from 1981-84.
–Field Level Media