Bearcats improve to 5-0, Beat Georgia Tech 89-54

The 4-0 Bearcats welcomed Damon Stoudamire and Georgia Tech on Wednesday night as the Cincinnati basketball program looked to improve to 5-0 for the second time in three years under Wes Miller. 

Coming in to Wednesday night's pre Thanksgiving match up against the Yellow Jackets, the primary storyline was the eligibility of Aziz Bandaogo. The big man didn't start but wouldn't take long for him to make his presence felt. 

Georgia Tech opened the game with turnovers on their first three possessions, the second leading to a Day Day Thomas lay up, but a 2-for-7 shooting start by UC had the game tied at 6 with 15:45 remaining in the first half.

Bandaogo entered the game at the 17:14 mark. On the first Cincinnati possession, Viktor Lakhin knocked down a 3 from the top of the key. On the next defensive possession, Bandaogo swatted a Georgia Tech shot attempt 5 rows in to the student section..



 The Bearcats continued to struggle from the field but finally got going just prior to the under 12 media stop.

Bandaogo nailed a turn around jumped from just inside the free throw line and on the next Cincinnati possession, Lakhin knocked down  his second three pointer of the half to give the Cats a 16-10 lead with 11:59 left in the half. 

Defensively, UC was everywhere early in the game, forcing 6 turnovers over the first 8 minutes.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Georgia Tech's offensive struggles would continue over the next 3 minutes as they would not make a field goal, while Cincinnati used a 7-0 run to extend their lead to 23-13 following Vik Lakihn's third three pointer of the half.  

Georgia Tech responded with a 6-0 run on three's by Kowacie Reeves and Ibrahima Sacko over the next 1:12 to cut UC's lead to 23-19 with 6:32 remaining in the half.

John Newman ended an 8-0 Georgia Tech run with a 3 and Jizzle James got in the lane for a bucket on the next possession to push UC's lead out to 28-21 with just over 4 minutes remaining in the half. 

The Bearcats held Georgia Tech without a field goal over the final 3:39 of the half and made 7-of-9 shots but still led by just 8, 40-32, at the half thanks in large part to Tech making 14-of-18 free throw attempts.

Vik Lakhin led UC at the half with 12 points on a perfect 4-for-4 showing from the perimeter as Cincinnati shot 52% as a team from the field during the first half. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

The Bearcats came out firing on all cylinders to open the second half.

John Newman got the scoring going with a jumper from the top of the key. Vik Lahkin found Ody Oguama down low for a dunk on a nice feed and Day Day Thomas buried a 3 to cap off a 7-0 run.

Just 1:38 in to the second half, UC had pushed their lead out to 15, 47-32.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Three turnovers by Georgia Tech over the next 2:11 allowed Cincinnati to continue to pour it on. 

A step-back mumper by Day Day Thomas and 3 in transition by CJ Fredrick extended the UC lead to 58-35 with 15:10 remaining in the game. The 10-0 run over 1:49 had completely broken the game open. 

The Cats weren't done.

Vik Lakhin sunk his fifth three of the game to extend the lead to 61-35. CJ Fredrick knocked down three's on the next two Bearcat possessions and Dan Skillings scored 6 straight to extend the lead to 73-37 with 11:58 remaining in the game. 

A 30-2 run over 6 minutes was sparked by going 7-for-8 from the field while Georgia Tech missed 6 of their 7 field goal attempts.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Despite the lopsided score, Georgia Tech wasn't ready to just go away. 

The Jackets answered the 30-2 run with a 10-0 run of their own over 2:36 while Cincinnati went ice cold from the field, missing 11 of their next 12 shots.

At the final media stop, Cincinnati led 84-51, despite going 5:39 without a field goal. 

Georgia Tech turned the ball over 5 more times over the final 4:50 as Cincinnati coasted to an 89-54 win to improve to 5-0.

Key Stats and takeaways;'

- Vik Lakhin led the Cats with 15 points on 5-of-6 shooting from 3. Wes Miller stated earlier in the week just how good of a shooter Vik was and it was on full display tonight.

- John Newman has been one of the most consistent players on the team through the first 5 games and it was evident again tonight. Newman finished with 12 points on 4-of-8 shooting. His bucket to start the second half gave UC a 10 point lead and the Cats never looked back from there.

- CJ Fredrick finished with 11 second half points and really keyed the 30-2 run with his outside shooting. 

- The point guard duo of Jizzle James and Day Day Thomas combined for 17, pts, 7 ast, and just 2 turnovers. Wes mentioned in the post game that he felt the team was best with Jizzle on the court in the first half and Thomas' defense really set the tone to start the second half along with John Newman and Ody Oguama.

- The much awaited debut of 7'0 big man Aziz Bandaogo did not disappoint. Despite playing just 21 minutes, he pulled down 9 rebounds to go with 8 points on the offensive end. His presence allows Vik Lakhin to play more aggressively at both ends and opens things on the outside for the guards. 

- Simas Lukosius has not broke out yet for a high scoring game but continues to show why he was so coveted during the transfer process. His 3 pointer with 14:27 remaining in the first half got the offense going and gave UC a lead that they wouldn't give up the rest of the game.

- Defensively, UC forced 19 turnovers and converted those possessions in to 20 points. During the 30-2 run in the second half, the defense was extremely active and contested everything around the rim. That type of activity is what they will need night in and night out once Big 12 play starts. 

- Shooting numbers: 29-62 FG 14-35 3FG 


Cincinnati came in as a 10 point favorite and completely blew the doors off of a high major team with high major talent. Cincinnati's depth wore the Jackets down as the game continued and it was evident during the second half. Kowacie Reeves led GT with 14 points, but their leading scorer coming in to this game, Miles Kelly, was limited to 12 points on just 3-of-10 shooting. 

Complete team effort tonight as Cincinnati had 9 guys with 6 or more points. 

Up Next:

 Tuesday November 28th at Howard

(Video: Cincinnati Athletics)

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