Bearcats' miscues lead to 74-69 loss at Kansas
When the Bearcats took the floor Monday night for an ESPN Big Monday showdown with 7th-ranked Kansas, it marked the sixth consecutive game against a ranked opponent following Saturday's 69-65 loss to 15th ranked Oklahoma.
The Jayhawks entered Monday night's match up with a perfect 9-0 home record but were coming off an unexpected 91-85 loss on the road at West Virginia.
A big reason for the Jayhawks success to date has been the play of All American Hunter Dickinson and Kevin McCullar Jr.
Dickinson came in leading the Big 12 in rebounds per game (11.3), while McCullar led the league in points per game (20).
Vik Lakhin scored the game's first basket but Kansas responded with a 10-0 run over the next 1:44, as the Bearcats went scoreless for 2:24 following Lakhin's basket.
The Bearcats were 1-for-6 with three turnovers during the drought, while Kansas made 4-of-5 shots, after missing their first two field goal attempts.
Kansas extended their lead to 19-9 at the under 12 media stop as Cincinnati continued to struggle to score. Through the game's first 8:16, the Bearcats had 6 turnovers and had made just 4-of-12 field goal attempts.
After Kansas' Dajuan Harris extended KU's lead to 8, 24-16, UC would eventually settle in and cut the KU lead to 24-23 with 6:40 remaining in the half, following a Day-Day Thomas and-one.
Following Cincinnati's 7-0 run to the cut the Kansas lead to 1, Kansas would score six of the next 8 points to push their lead to 5, 30-25, with 4:14 left in the half.
With Kansas' crowd coming alive, UC answered with a 9-3 run and ended the half out-scoring Kansas 10-5 as the score was tied 35-35 through the game's first 20 minutes. Kansas was held without a field goal over the final 2 minutes 58 seconds.
Dan Skillings led all scorers with 14 first half points. Both Hunter Dickinson and Johnny Furphy scored ten points to lead Kansas.
Aziz Bandaogo pulled down 8 rebounds as UC dominated the Jayhawks on the glass, 21-12. UC converted seven offensive rebounds in to nine second chance points.
The Bearcats were right where they needed to be after twenty minutes of action but needed to find a way to improve on ten first half turnovers.
The second half started similar to the first half.
Cincinnati missed seven of their first eight field goal attempts and fell behind 42-37 following a two minute 53 second scoring drought.
Jizzle James' turn-around jumper cut the KU lead to 42-39 with 15:29 left in the game.
Kansas scored five straight following two Jamille Reynolds free throws to extend their lead to 48-41 at the 13:54 mark.
Cincinnati cut the KU lead to 51-45 with 11:14 remaining following an Aziz Bandaogo dunk, but the Bearcats were still just 3-of-13 from the field through the first 8:46 of the second half.
Day Day Thomas' fourth foul with 8:54 remaining in the game put the Jayhawks in the bonus for the remainder of the game.
Despite a two minute 33 second field goal scoring drought, KU still led by 6, 55-49, with 7:58 left in the game. The Bearcats were 4-of-18 from the field and 0-for-5 from the field up to that point of the second half.
Dajuan Harris ended a three minute 16 second scoring drought with 7:11 remaining to push the KU lead to 7, 57-50. UC had opportunities to cut in to the lead and take advantage of the KU struggles but missed 6-of-7 field goal attempts during the KU drought.
With 3:49 remaining, UC hadn't scored a field goal in five minutes 32 seconds and were 1 for their last 10 as Kansas led 60-54 and had possession following a Simas Lukosius turnover.
Kevin McCullar extended the KU lead to 62-54 out of the media timeout and ended any hope of a Cincinnati comeback.
Day Day Thomas' jumper with 2:34 left ended a field goal drought that began with 9:24 left and UC trailing by 4, 53-49.
Johnny Furphy made two free throws with :39 seconds left to give him a game high 23 points to go with 11 rebounds as the Jayhawks improved to 16-3 with a 74-69 win.
Key Stats and Notes:
- Cincinnati out-rebounded Kansas 40-29 and turned 16 offensive rebounds in to 13 second chance points. The Jayhawks were able to minimize those numbers by scoring 15 points off 16 Cincinnati turnovers. Compound that with finishing 3-of-18 from 3 and missing all eight attempts in the second half, and it's easy to see why Wes Miller was frustrated with another close loss to a top 25 opponent.
"We're a couple possessions away from feeling really good about the past 3 weeks, but the facts are we're 2-4 during that period" pic.twitter.com/IXtUH1rdyZ— Ryan Roberts (@Ryan_Ky0203) January 23, 2024
- The Bearcats played well enough defensively to win the game. The Big 12's leading scorer, Kevin McCullar, finished with 20 points, 5 rebound, and 5 assists, but Cincinnati limited Big 12 preseason player of the year Hunter Dickinson to 10 points, six rebounds, and held him scoreless in the second half.
Kansas Coach Bill Self on UC limiting Big 12 preseason player of the year Hunter Dickinson to 10 points, 6 rebounds tonight.— Ryan Roberts (@Ryan_Ky0203) January 23, 2024
"Their bigs did a good job of keeping him from getting the basketball and we didn't do a good job of finding him" pic.twitter.com/JFowBhqLiD
- If there was a bright spot, it was Dan Skillings. He scored 14 first half points and finished with 16 points, 5 rebounds on 6-of-14 shooting (3-6 3FG). Skillings was limited to just two second half points but his impact on the game was undeniable.
Dan Skillings led UC in scoring tonight with 16 points.— Ryan Roberts (@Ryan_Ky0203) January 23, 2024
Wes Miller on the lift Skillings gave the team after falling behind by 12 points early.
"His ability, he's just scratching the surface. He's a terrific young player." pic.twitter.com/35GqHBykEH
- John Newman finished with 11 points on 4-of-8 shooting and really battled all night with KU's Kevin McCullar and KJ Adams (11 points).
- Despite foul trouble, Day Day Thomas finished with 9 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds. Jizzle James scored eight second half points and ten for the game. There were times that it seemed Jizzle over dribbled, leading to three turnovers, but both are still learning and adjusting to this level of play.
Jizzle James finished with 10 points tonight with 8 coming in the second half.— Ryan Roberts (@Ryan_Ky0203) January 23, 2024
Wes Miller on the spark Jizzle provided with Day Day Thomas dealing with foul trouble:
" I think they are the right two guys for Cincinnati basketball at that position." pic.twitter.com/KwfeRxMWDJ
- As a team, Cincinnati finished 24-of-61 from the field and 3-of-18 from 3-point range. There were multiple times where the Cats had open looks but just didn't convert. Simas Lukosius had a rough shooting night, finishing with four points on 1-of-9 shooting and missing all six of his 3-point attempts.
Wes on if his team is in a "funk" with his team missing multiple open looks tonight.— Ryan Roberts (@Ryan_Ky0203) January 23, 2024
" The funk work pisses me off. I don't think anyone that watched our team this year could say we've had a damn funk. Just ain't converted."
Full quote: pic.twitter.com/XKkANubdkS
Allen Fieldhouse lived up to the hype. The students and fans were loud throughout and really provided a great college basketball atmosphere. Despite the frustrations of losing, Cincinnati remained composed and were extremely competitive throughout after the early deficit. This team has to find a way to get over the hump and win some of these big games, but they continue to show that they are prepared, regardless of opponent, and can compete with anyone in this league.
Cincinnati will get a much needed break before returning to action Saturday in a 7 pm tip off inside Fifth Third Arena against UCF.
Post game Videos: