Bearcats drop Big 12 home opener to Texas, 74-73

A new era of Cincinnati basketball began on Tuesday night when the No. 25 Texas Longhorns visited the Queen City for the first time in program history. 

The arrival of Big 12 basketball in Cincinnati was finally here and the wait was over. 

Fans striped the stands in red and black as the Bearcats looked to improve to 2-0 in league play following Saturday's 71-60 road win over BYU.

(Photo:Taylor Keeton)

The first half would see Texas shoot 52 percent from the field as Dylan Disu lit the Cats up for 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting. The Bearcats made 14-of-30 attempts from the field (47%) but made just 6-of-12 free throw attempts. 

Texas jumped out to an early 10-4 lead but Viktor Lakhin scored 8 straight for UC to give the Bearcats a 12-10 lead. Simas Lukosius nailed a 3 to extend the lead to 15-10 and cap off an 11-0 run over 2:56.

Texas answered with a 17-5 run over the next 5:49 as Cincinnati missed 6 of their next 7 field goal attempts. 

Jamille Reynolds dunk with 7:05 remaining in the half cut Texas' lead to 27-22.

(Photo:Taylor Keeton)

Dillon Mitchell extended the lead to 29-22 with 6:36 remaining in the half but the Bearcats answered with a 9-2 run to tie the score at 31 with 4:06 left until halftime.

Dylan Disu's 3 pointer with 2:22 left in the half extended the Texas lead to 6, 39-33.

Needing some momentum to close the half, Dan Skillings provided just what UC needed.

Following a Texas turnover, Dan Skillings came down from the right wing, rose up over Tyrese Hunter and threw it down with authority. Skillings converted the and one and then converted another dunk on the next possession to tie things at 39 with under a minute left in the half.

(Photo:Taylor Keeton)

Dylan Disu scored with 19 seconds remaining to give the Longhorns a 41-39 lead at the half.

Disu would finish the game with 33 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field and 4-of-10 shooting from 3-point range to go with 6 rebounds.

The second half was back and forth with neither team leading by more than 4 points.

Jamille Reynolds' back to back field goals with 12:22 and 10:39 remaining gave Cincinnati a 53-49 lead. 

The Longhorns answered with a 7-2 run to take a 56-55 lead following two Brock Cunningham free throws with 8:05 remaining in the game.

After Simas Lukosius' three with 6:19 left game UC a 62-61 lead, Dylan Disu connected on a mid range jumper and Max Abmas buried a 3 off a UC turnover to give Texas a 66-62 lead.

Simas Lukosius took over for the Bearcats over the final 5 minutes of the game, scoring 7 points. His biggest shot of the half and game came with :59 seconds left in the game when he hit a turnaround jumper with the shot clock winding down to give the Bearcats a 3 point lead, 73-70.

(Photo:Taylor Keeton)

Cincinnati struggled all game to defend the high ball screen two-man game between Max Abmas and Dylan Disu.

Following a Disu jumper with :43 seconds left, John Newman went to the line for a 1-and-1 with :25 seconds remaining, UC up 1, and a chance to put the game on ice.

Newman missed the free throw and Abmas came down and hit a baseline jumper with 8 seconds remaining to give Texas a 74-73 lead and eventual win. 

Abmas finished with 15 points, 5 assists.

Key Stats and Thoughts:

- Simas Lukosius finished with 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting and 3-of-6 from 3-point range to lead the Bearcats scorers. His 14 second half points put the Cats in a position to win, but the team couldn't come up with stops on the final two possessions.

- Vik Lakhin had 10 first half points and finished with 17 for the game but he struggled defending the high ball screen against Disu. His struggles defensively left an opportunity for Jamille Reynolds to see extended minutes. After only seeing 5 minutes against BYU, Reynolds came in to score 11 points on 5-of-6 shooting in 17 minutes of action against Texas. He showed great touch around the rim and looked to dunk on any opportunity he got near the rim. As he continues to get more comfortable, he will become an even bigger asset off the bench.

- The biggest concern of the night was the 15 UC turnovers that led to 22 Texas points. The keys to beating Texas were protecting the ball and defending the paint. Texas outscored UC 30-28 in the paint and were extremely efficient from the field, finishing 29-of-57 (50.9 %)

- Cincinnati finished 29-61 from the field (47.5 %) , 7-17 from 3-point range (41.2 %) , but 8-of-15 from the free throw line (53.3%). The free throw struggles weren't the only glaring category that UC struggled in. The Bearcats also missed multiple wide open layups that had nothing to do with the defense. In this league, you have to convert these easy opportunities, and Cincinnati simply didn't do that tonight.

-Josh Reed provided good minutes off the bench once again, finishing with 6 points on 2-of-2 attempts from beyond the arc. Reed's 3 with 10:34 left in the first half ended a UC drought and he did the same again to cut in to Texas' 7 point lead with 6:11 left in the first half.

(Photo:Taylor Keeton)


The loss is a disappointing one for the coaching staff, players, and fans. It really felt like they were going to take control of this game multiple times but couldn't get out of their own way with the turnovers and missed opportunities around the rim. 

Up Next:

1/13 at Baylor 8:00 tip

Post game Video:

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