Lakhin has career day in 85-73 win over Eastern Washington
The Cincinnati Basketball Tournament, presented by Allegiant Air, continued Sunday with the Eastern Washington Eagles visiting Fifth Third Arena for a noon tip off.
Cincinnati came in looking for their third consecutive 3-0 start under Wes Miller, while the Eagles were looking for their first win of the season after falling to Utah and Ole Miss in their first two games.
Eastern Washington jumped out to an early 7-4 lead but the Bearcats responded with a 7-0 run over the next 1:14.
John Newman's corner 3 at the 15:50 mark gave UC a 9-7 lead and Simas Lukosius capped off the 7-0 run on the next possession with a drive and one hand baseline finish.
UC led 11-7 with 14:57 remaining in the half with Vik Lakhin having 6 of the Cats' 11 points.
Cincinnati extended their lead to 18-7 with 10:55 remaining in the half as Eastern Washington went ice cold from the field, missing 10 of 11 shots and failing to record a field goal over a span of 5:34.
Dan Skillings buried a 3 from the right wing and Simas Lukosius extended the UC run to 14-0 with a personal 4-0 run on a layup and step back jumper from the free throw line.
Eastern Washington ended a scoring drought that lasted nearly 7 minutes with two Casey Jones free throws with 9:38 remaining in the half. Cedric Coward buried a 3 on the next Eastern Washington possession to cut the UC lead to 18-12.
After a stretch of making just 1 of 13 field goal attempts, Eastern Washington made 3 consecutive field goals to cut the UC lead to 22-19 with 4:34 left in the half. Andre Mulibea keyed the EWU run with a driving layup and 3 from the wing.
Five consecutive field goals would contribute to Eastern Washington cutting the UC lead to 26-24 with 3 minutes remaining in the half.
Freshman Jizzle James mentioned Friday night that the game is starting to slow down for him with continued reps and extended playing time.
James scored the Bearcats next 7 points to extend the lead to 35-30. John Newman knocked down a corner 3 with 40 seconds left and UC took a 38-30 lead in to the locker rooms.
James led all scorers with 9 first half points and converted all three of his field goal attempts.
Vik Lakhin scored 8 points in the first half, while Dan Skillings contributed 7 points. UC made 4 of 6 shots from the perimeter and limited EWU to a 2-of-11 showing from beyond the arc in the first half.
The Bearcats came out in the second half and extended their lead to 11, 45-34, in the first 4 minutes but Eastern Washington again responded with 3 consecutive field goals and an 8-2 run to cut the UC lead to 47-42 with 15:02 remaining in the game.
Cedric Coward scored 10 points for EWU over the first 5 minutes to help keep his team in the game.
Through the first 8 minutes of the second half, Cincinnati was 1-for-7 from 3 and 3-for-8 from the free throw line.
Eastern Washington cut the UC lead to 49-45 but the Bearcats answered with a 9-0 run over the next 2:02 to push the lead back out to double digits, 58-45, with 10:39 left in the game. Six straight free throw attempts and makes from Jizzle James and Vik Lakhin keyed the run. Cincinnati's defense also limited EWU to a 1-for-7 showing from the field during the run.
UC extended their lead to 62-47 with 9:34 left in the game when Vik Lakhin scored back to back baskets to give him 18 points for the game.
Lakhin stayed hot, knocking down a 3 from the top of the key to give Cincinnati a 69-55 lead with 7:03 left in the game. The big fella also pulled down his 10th rebound of the game on the previous possession to give him his first double double of the season.
UC went the next 2:32 without a field goal. During the same span, EWU would go on a 7-1 run to cut the UC lead to 8, 70-62 with 5:14 remaining.
Day Day Thomas answered the run and scoreless drought with a driving lay up and Lakhin knocked down his second 3 of the game to push the UC lead back out to double figures, 75-62, with 3:47 remaining in the game.
Eastern Washington wouldn't get closer than 11 over the final 3:47 as UC improved to 3-0 with an 85-73 win over the defending Big Sky champions.
Final Stats and Notes:
- Vik Lakhin led the way with a career high 26 points to go with 10 rebounds. Lakhin did the majority of his damage in the second half with 18 points, 8 rebounds on 6-of-7 shooting and 2-of-3 from outside. It was good to finally see Vik knock down a shot from the perimeter. He has worked hard over the past year and a half to extend his game out to the 3 point line.
- Another solid performance from freshman Jizzle James. He was 3-of-4 from the field and did a good job attacking the rim to convery 5-of-7 free throw attempts. The talented freshman guard finished with 13 points, 2 ast, 2 rbs and 0 turnovers in 16 minutes.
- Day Day Thomas fouled out but had a solid game with 11 pts, 5 ast, 4 rbs in 24 minutes.
- Simas Lukosius scored 11 points as well, but more importantly, also had 4 assists. Wes mentioned him being a viable option as a third ball handler and he has shown that he is comfortable in that role with getting others involved in the offense.
- John Newman rounded out the double figure scoring for the Bearcats as he had 10 points, 5 rbs. He knocked down both attempts from beyond the 3 point line and continues to show explosion going to the rim with another highlight reel dunk over an EWU defender.
- Rough shooting day for Dan Skillings (4-14 FG, 1-5 3FG) but he still finished with 9 points to go with 7 rebounds. Wes challenged him this offseason to improve his defense and rebounding and he has done that through the first 3 games.
- Encouraging sign for UC fans that CJ Fredrick went scoreless in 24 minutes but the Bearcats still won by double figures.
- UC finished 47% from the field, 38% from 3 (8-of-21), and 68% from the free throw line (21-31).
- Perimeter defense was good again this afternoon, limiting EWU to a 5-of-23 showing from 3.
Eastern Washington outscored UC in the paint, 40-38. Defense at the rim will have to improve as the competition level increases over the next few weeks. Cedric Coward led EWU with 21 points and Casey Jones had 16 points. The majority of those points came either at the rim or from the free throw line.
Overall, this is a good win over a team that will win a lot of games inside their conference. The Cats get a week off and will resume play next Sunday for a 2 pm tip off against NKU.