Bearcats rebound with 85-53 win over Bryant

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.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

"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.

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

Cincinnati struggled shooting the ball to open the Xavier game and had similar struggles through the first four minutes of the Bryant game.

UC opened the game 1-for-9 from the field, 1-for-5 from 3 and 1-for-5 from the free throw line.

CJ Fredrick's made three pointer with 14:58 left in the first half gave the Cats their first field goal of the game. 

Poor shooting would be the theme of the first half for both teams.

Trailing 10-5, UC was able to put together a 10-0 run  to take a 15-10 lead with 11:43 remaining in the half but the Bearcats would be held to 4 points over the next 4 minutes as they led Bryant 19-17 at the under 8 media stop.

Through 12 minutes of play, the two teams were a combined 12-of-42 from the field. The one constant was Cincinnati being aggressive and getting to the line.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)  

Cincinnati's 10-of-15 shooting from the free throw line was the primary reason they had a 21-20 lead with 6:30 remaining in the first half.



CJ Fredrick scored the next five points for UC to give them a 26-23 lead at the final media stop of the half. The shooting issues weren't the only problem. UC also had 7 turnovers and just 4 points off 11 offensive rebounds and finished the half with 10 turnovers.

At the half, Cincinnati led 30-27 while shooting 26% from the field (9-of-35). 

CJ Fredrick was the one bright spot for UC in the first half, scoring 9 points on 3-of-6 shooting. Dan Skillings finished with 7 points, 4 rebounds while Vik Lakhin pulled down 10 rebounds.

Lakhin would finish the game with 7 points, 12 rebounds.

Connor Withers scored a career high 32 in Bryant's most recent game and led Bryant with 11 first half points against the Bearcats.

UC out-rebounded Bryant 33-21 in the first half. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Cincinnati opened the second half by attacking and being aggressive going to the rim, instead of settling for jump shots.

Vik Lakhin scored 4 quick points and Skillings made two free throws to give UC a 36-32 lead. Jizzle James extended the lead to 39-34 with a three from the wing to give the UC offense momentum. 

Fredrick knocked down his third three of the game on the next possession to give UC a 42-34 lead. 

With the up and down pace, the first media timeout didn't come until 14:10 of the second half as UC led 42-36.

Simas Lukosius knocked down a 3 from the wing to extend the UC lead to 47-38 as the Cats made their first 3-of-4 three-point attempts to start the half after finishing 2-of-11 from 3 in the first half.

Midway through the second half, UC led Bryant 49-42 with Jizzle James leading Cincinnati with 5 second half points. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Cincinnati pushed their lead out to 54-45 on a 3 point play by Day Day Thomas but a corner three by Tyler Brelsford cut the Bearcats' lead to 6 with 7:56 remaining to play. 

Day Day Thomas' 3 out of the under 8 media timeout gave the Bearcats their first double digit lead of the game, 58-48. 

Connor Withers was called for a technical foul after a foul call and  the duo of Fredrick and Bandaogo made 4 free throws to extend the lead to 62-49 with 6:14 left in the game. 

The lead grew to 71-52 as UC made 4 consecutive field goals while the Bulldogs were 1-of-7 during the same stretch. 

The final 5 minutes consisted of UC outscoring Bryant 20-3 on their way to an 85-53 victory.

The UC defense held Bryant without a field goal over the final 4:36.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Key Stats and Notes:

- CJ Fredrick was the Bearcats leading scorer with 14 points. With Cincinnati struggling from the field, he knocked down two three-pointers to give UC a lead and prevent things from spiraling out of control.

- The biggest storyline of the game was Aziz Bandaogo and his 12 points, 17 rebounds, 4 blocks. The big man got a lot of run in the second half in a one big lineup and had 10 points, 10 rebounds in 13 minutes. Wes stated after the game that the key was putting him in situations where he wasn't having to defend the perimeter as much, while also getting more spacing at the other end with CJ and Simas.

- John Newman finished with 11 points, with 10 of those coming in the second half. His defense late in the game on Bryant's Connor Withers (15 pts) helped change the dynamics of the game.

- Dan Skillings had a quiet 11 points with 7 of those coming in the first half. Skillings battled foul trouble and played just 6 minutes in the second half. Still, it was important for him to play better tonight after struggling in Saturday's game against Xavier.

- Jizzle James has had his moments throughout this season in crucial moments and he was a big spark to the Bearcats offense again tonight. James finished 4-of-10 for the game on his way to 11 points in 22 minutes. His first two points of the game gave UC an 11-10 lead and he also hit a big 3 in the second half to give UC a 39-34 lead.. He has shown an ability to make plays when his team needs them the most.

- Day Day Thomas had 8 second half points during a key moment that allowed UC to pull away. After Rafael Pinzon nailed a 3 to cut the Bearcats' lead to 6, Thomas responded with a driving lay up and finish that led to a foul to push the lead back to 9. Moments later, he hit a 3 to give UC their first double digit lead of the game. Bryant wouldn't get closer than 9 the rest of the game.

- UC out-rebounded Bryant 57-33.

- Despite the first half struggles, UC finished 25-of-62 (40%) from the field for the game , while limiting Bryant to 31.8% shooting. The Bearcats also made 19-of-22 second half free throws and 29-of-37 for the game.

Post game:

Up Next:

Saturday 12/16 v Dayton at Heritage Bank Arena 7 pm 

 (Photo: Taylor Keeton)




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