Newman leads Bearcats' second half comeback win over Evansville

The Bearcats wrapped up the non-conference portion of their schedule Friday night with a 76-58 win over the Evansville Aces.

Coming off a week long holiday break and entering the final non-conference game of the season, there was still plenty of opportunity for improvement for Wes Miller's Bearcats as they continue to prepare for Big 12 play.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Both CJ Fredrick (hamstring) and Aziz Bandaogo (back) missed the game as they try to get healthy for the January 6th Big 12 opener at BYU.

With Fredrick and Bandaogo out, Wes Miller decided to insert Simas Lukosius and Jamille Reynolds in to the starting lineup. It was Reynolds' first start as a Bearcat.

Lukosius and Reynolds combined for 5 of the Bearcats' first 7 points as Lukosius knocked down a 3-pointer from the wing and Reynolds threw down a vicious one hand dunk in traffic over an Evansville defender. 

Reynolds' hook-shot with 6:03 remaining in the half would be the only other points in the first half between the two. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

At the first media stop, Cincinnati held a 12-9 advantage as the two teams combined to make 9-of-17 field goal attempts. John Newman's five consecutive points following a Kenny Strawbridge step-back jumper helped give the Bearcats the early lead. 

The duo of Kenny Strawbridge Jr and Yasim Toumi combined for 14 of Evansville's first 16 points as the Aces trailed 18-16 at the under 12 media stop. 

Toumi would lead all scorers in the first half with 13 points and finished the game with 17 points, 9 rebounds. 


Cincinnati took a 23-20 lead after a Day Day Thomas free throw but a scoring drought that lasted 2:42 combined with back to back baskets by Joshua Hughes gave Evansville a 24-23 lead with 6:45 remaining in the half.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

UC missed 7-of-8 field goal attempts from the 9:26 mark to the under 8 media stop at 6:45.

Viktor Lakhin's hook-shot with 5:17 left in the half ended the field goal drought. 

Over the final 5:17 of the half, UC would make just 1-of-9 field goal attempts and were outscored 12-3. Dan Skillings' 3-pointer with 1:17 remaining stopped a 10-0 Evansville run but the Bearcats would go in to the half trailing by 8, 40-32. 

Evansville made 6 of their final 8 field goal attempts and were shooting 58-percent from the field at the half. The Aces outscored UC 20-16 in the paint in the first half and turned 6 UC turnovers in to 8 points. 

Toumi extended the Evansville lead to 10 just 16 seconds in to the second half, but the Aces wouldn't make another field goal until there was 9:09 left in the game. 

Needing some momentum, Simas Lukosius and Day Day Thomas knocked down 3-pointers on consecutive possessions to cut the lead to 42-38.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

John Newman swatter an Evansville jumper and Vik Lakhin converted a turn around jumper at the other end. 


Just like that, an 8-0 run over 1:02 had the Bearcats back in the game, down 42-40.

Simas Lukosius knocked down his second 3-pointer of the half  to cut Evansville's lead to 1, 44-43, at the under 16 media stop. 

Two John Newman free throws with 14:54 remaining gave UC their first lead since the 5:17 mark of the first half. . 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

An 11-1 run over 3:50 extended the UC lead to 54-46 with 11:51 left in the game. Simas Lukoisus third 3-pointer of the half capped off the run just before the media timeout.

While Cincinnati was off to a blistering start to the second half, Evansville couldn't buy a bucket.

With 7:18 left in the game Cincinnati had turned an 8 point halftime deficit in to a 10 point lead, 60-50. 

Evansville continued to struggle with 4 turnovers over the next 4:12 as UC extended their lead to 15, 67-52 with 3:46 left to play. Simas Lukosius' four second half 3-pointers were the catalyst to the UC run. 

Day Day Thomas connected on all four of his free throw attempts while Dan Skillings finished of the UC scoring with a dunk as Cincinnati improved to 11-2 to close out conference play.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Five Bearcats scored in double figures, led by John Newman's 16 points. Lukosius scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half, while Thomas scored 9 of his 10 points in the second half. Thomas also pulled down 6 rebounds to go with 7 assists, in one of his most complete games as a Bearcat.

Rounding out the double-figure scoring for the Bearcats were Dan Skillings with 10 points and Viktor Lakhin with 11 points, 9 rebounds. 

The Bearcats held Evansville to 6-of-27 shooting in the second half, while outscoring the Aces 44-18. UC shot 39-percent (27-69) from the field but connected on 12-of-29 3-pointers for 41.4 percent. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Evansville entered the game as one of the best defensive rebounding teams in the country but were out-rebounded 49-29, with the Bearcats pulling down 18 offensive rebounds. Wes Miller's team was able to convert those second chances in to 17 points. 

Wes Miller described his team's second half performance defensively:

"If we play with that type of defensive activity, energy, and intention, we've got a chance to be a competitive team in our league. What we got to decide is if we are going to be that way every night for 40 minutes. We can't be a light switch team. We can't be a team that turns it off and turns it on and in the first half the light switch wasn't on."

The Bearcats will open league play next Saturday night in a 10 pm tip off at BYU.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)


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