Saturday, in the finals of the Barclays Center Classic, we were treated to that memorable meeting with all the ‘trimmings.’ A competitive matchup. Two teams getting after it. A nice tempo that saw the pace of the game move, not crawl with a succession of fouls and/or video reviews. Yes, it all came to fruition. In the end, Cincinnati kept their undefeated record intact with a hard-fought 61-56 victory. The crowd was not great in number, but those who chose to venture to Barclays Center were not disappointed, and treated to a highly competitive affair.
The game saw momentum swings, contrasting styles and coaching adjustments. George Washington knocked down three-pointers with ease in the first half. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin countered by changing up defensively to better guard the perimeter the final twenty minutes. In the end, the Bearcats went to their staple, the inside game.
George Washington led for 23 minutes. The game was tied for eight, and Cincinnati was ahead the remaining nine. There are no style points distributed. The thing that mattered was the Bearcats showing the lead at 0:00.
George Washington earned a great deal of respect in defeat, which was of little consolation for coach Mike Lonergan and his group. The title that is in possession of Cincinnati was so close for the taking. In the end, there was another winner on this post-Black Friday afternoon, as those who watched this one enjoyed a very exciting helping of ‘Feast Week.’
It may be basketball season, but the monument outside Barclays Center brings back memories of the boys of summer:
Cincinnati and George Washington contest the opening tip:
Twirlers are seen more frequently on the gridiron than the hardwood, but Cincinnati brought two excellent twirlers to Brooklyn, as Krissy (left) and Suzy (right) posed with Ray. (Photo courtesy of John Ryan)
Kevin Larsen of George Washington is all concentration on the charity stripe:
Victorious Cincinnati poses after winning a hard-fought championship matchup:
With the Barclays Center Classic in the books, Brooklyn gears up for Louisville and Saint Louis: