Game 9 Preview: Bryant Bulldogs

Coming off Saturday night's 84-79 loss to Xavier, Wes Miller mentioned that his team hadn't been in an environment like Cintas Center yet and didn't feel like his team handled the challenge very well at times. The environment forced his team to do certain things that were uncharacteristic and he felt his team pressed at times.

"We can't have errors with focus and effort"

Still, Wes Miller made it a point to emphasize he still really likes his team and that they will learn from the mistakes made in the loss.

(Photo: Noah Garel)

"This team is going to be ok and I really believe that. I like the character of this team and how this team works."

The Bearcats have a short turn around with Tuesday night's 7 pm tip off against the Bryant Bulldogs (6-5).

What you need to know:

- Bryant pulled off one of the biggest upsets in program history three weeks ago on November 18thth when they ended 10th-ranked Florida Atlantic's 19-game home winning streak with a 61-52 victory. Bryant held FAU to just 5-of-30 from three. Sherif Gross-Bullock and Earl Timberlake paced the upset as each finished with a double-double. 

- Bryant is visiting Cincinnati for the second time in three weeks. They lost to Xavier 100-75 the day after Thanksgiving.

- Cincinnati fell from 27th to 30th in Kenpom with the loss to Xavier and now sit at 30th in adjusted offense and 39th in adjusted defense.

- Bryant is #216 in the Kenpom rankings and enter Tuesday's match up at 306th in adjusted offense and 102 in adjusted defense. The Bulldogs do rank 7th nationally in blocks with 6.5 per game. 

- Bryant was picked to finish third in the American East. 

Players to know:

6'6 Senior G Earl Timberlake ( 12.2 ppg, 8.8 rpg, 4.1 apg and 1.2 bpg )

Timberlake started his career at Miami, transferred to Memphis for year 2, and is now in his second year at Bryant. An All American East selection, Timberlake has done a little bit of everything this year, entering Tuesday, He has five games with 10+ rebounds and has flirted with a triple-double on two occasions. Timberlake leads Bryant in field goal percentage (60%).

6'5 Senior G Sherif Gross- Bullock ( 16.7 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 2.8 apg)

Gross- Bullock was Newcomer of the Year in 2022-23 and was a preseason first team all conference selection. He has scored in double-figures in all but two games this season and is coming off a season-high six assists at Stony Brook.

Five games this season with 4 or more turnovers and not afraid to let it fly from outside. 36% shooter on 94 attempts and has attempted 6 or more three's in all 11 games. Led the league in scoring last season at 17.1 ppg.

6'6 Junior G Rafael Pinzon ( 11.4 ppg, 2.7 rpg)

Finished with 17 points in a loss to Rutgers and 18 points in the loss to Xavier.

Another guy that likes to shoot it from outside but comes in to Tuesday night's game having gone 0-for-11 from three during the past two games. Played his first two seasons at St John's before transferring to Bryant this year. Career 35% from three.

6'6 Junior G Daniel Rivera ( 11.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2 apg)

Scored in double figures in each of the past four games and has a game this season with 13 rebounds. 

Finished with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists and six blocks at Siena, Not much of a threat from outside (20%) but has attempted atleast one three in the last 7 games.

6'7 Senior Connor Withers ( 9 ppg, 4.7 rpg)

Coming off a 32 point performance against Stony Brook, in which he made 7-of-13 three-pointers. Shooting 38% from three for the year.

Withers is also a 90% free-throw shooter, so not a guy that you want to put on the line.

6'4 Senior G Tyler Brelsford (6.5 ppg, 1.8 rpg, 44.9% FG)

Brelsford has 3 games this season with 0 points, but has two games with 20 and 18 points. Has not been much of a threat from the perimeter but in his two best games this season, he combined to go 7-for-11 from 3.

Final thoughts:

UC enters as an 18.5 point favorite.

Coming off a loss to Xavier, I expect the Bearcats to come out and use their size advantage inside to put the game out of reach early. This team has responded well after facing adversity in the game prior and I think we see a similar result Tuesday night as UC looks to improve to 8-1 heading in to Saturday night's match up against Dayton.

How to watch:

7:00 ESPN+


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