What we learned in Cincinnati Bearcats basketball versus UCF

Before the regular season started, the University of Cincinnati head men’s basketball coach John Brannen said he met individually with every player on the roster to discuss their roles.

Less than one month into the season, Brannen had another round of those meetings before the Bearcats played Central Florida on Tuesday.

Forward C.J. Walker drives  past UC guard Jeremiah Davenport during the UC's  75-70 loss to Central Florida, the Bearcats' second straight in the AAC and fourth in a row  overall.

“One of the things that I was struggling with was that we had 10 guys who all wanted to be the guy,” Brannen said after UC lost, 75-70, to UCF. “Not a lot of difference in terms of those 10 guys.”

During UC’s first seven games of the season, everyone’s role has fluctuated. 

Senior forward Keith Williams, who leads the Bearcats with 15.1 points per game, scored 19 points on 17 shots Tuesday against the Knights. But he’s played fewer than 25 minutes in over half of UC’s games because of foul trouble, and twice this season he’s taken fewer than ten field goal attempts. 

More:'We have to figure it out as a team': UC falls to UCF, drops fourth straight game

Senior forward Keith Williams leads the Bearcats with 15.1 points per game and scored 19 points on 17 shots  against the Knights. But he’s played fewer than 25 minutes in over half of UC’s games.

There have been similar highs and lows for senior center Chris Vogt, a preseason second-team player in the American Athletic Conference. Against UCF, he had no points and two rebounds in 19 minutes. Vogt averaged 11 points per game last season. This year, he’s averaging 6.4 points.

“It was a priority to get him the ball,” Brannen said. “We ran some actions, we’ve just got to do a better job. It wasn’t about the actions, you’ve got to do a better job of somehow getting him the ball.”

Even though Williams and Vogt struggled against the Knights, Brannen said more players fit within their roles on Tuesday. Junior point guard David DeJulius had an efficient nine points and five assists. And sophomore guard Zach Harvey had a career-high 15 points off the bench.

Sophomore guard Zach Harvey, defending UCF's Darin Green Jr., scored a career-high 15 points off the bench.

But the Bearcats still lost their fourth game in row.

“We just don’t make enough plays to win games that are this difficult,” Brannen said. “Outside of (Williams) and (Vogt), we don’t have anybody older than a sophomore in terms of experiencing this Cincinnati program.”

The same problems are haunting the Bearcats

UC committed 19 turnovers and allowed the Knights to take 24 free throws. On Tuesday, UCF scored 27 points either from the free throw line or off the fast break –– a determining factor in a five-point game.

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