Lukosius does it again, Bearcats defeat Kansas State in 74-72 Thriller


Prior to Saturday's game against Kansas State, John Newman was averaging just under five points per game over the Bearcats' previous five games. 

Cincinnati lost three consecutive games and four of five during that stretch. 

With the Bearcats in serious need of a win, Newman scored 18 points to get Cincinnati back in the win column with a 74-72 win over Kansas State.

"Just not getting into my head about it and just letting it go and just trusting my work," Newman said following the game when asked what got him back in a groove.

"You can't get too discouraged about tough stretches. All of the great players have had them so I just know to keep my head down, keep working, and trust the work."

Cincinnati had to play without leading scorer, Dan Skillings, who suffered a hip injury yesterday. 

"Dan's so important to our team, he does so many things that don't show up in a stat sheet with his activity and his energy," Miller told reporters following the game. 

Both teams struggled from the field to open the game.

K-State missed their first four shot attempts, while the Bearcats were just 1-of-7 after four minutes of play.  

Simas Lukosius' three-pointer at the 15:59 mark gave Cincinnati a 5-0 advantage.

Kansas State answered with an 8-0 run as Cincinnati went scoreless for two minutes, 15 seconds following the Lukosious three. 

Day Day Thomas ended the scoring drought with a corner three and John Newman scored the next five points to give Cincinnati a 13-10 lead with 12:04 remaining in the first half. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Cincinnati led 19-17 with 7:58 remaining in the half after getting nine points off seven K-State turnovers. The Bearcats' activity defensively was noticeable as they continually used their size, length, and physicality to force K-State mistakes. 

Over the next 3:28 the Bearcats made four-of-five shot attempts to extend their lead to 28-21.

Day Day Thomas scored five during the 9-4 spurt to give the Bearcats separation.

An Aziz Bandaogo oop-dunk off an assist from Jizzle James gave Cincinnati a 32-21 lead and forced Jerome Tang to call a timeout with 3:09 remaining in the half.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Kansas State was held without a field goal over the final 5:26 of the half but the Bearcats weren't able to capitalize on the K-State offensive struggles.

UC missed their final six field goal attempts and led 34-27 at the half.

Kansas State made 11-of-13 free throws in the first half to keep the margin within single digits, despite UC getting 15 points off 11 turnovers. 

K-State scored the first four points of the second half to cut the UC lead to 34-31.

 John Newman answered the quick four points by K-State with a run of his own. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Newman made his first four field goal attempts of the second half and was up to nine points in the half following a corner three to give the Bearcats a 47-35 advantage with 16:01 remaining in the game. 

After Cam Carter cut the UC lead to 52-42, Day Day Thomas provided the highlight of the game. 

The junior guard took a loose ball, raced down the court and threw down a windmill dunk to give the Cats a 54-42 lead.

Trailing 54-43, Kansas State's Cam Carter and Tylor Perry made three's on consecutive possessions to cut the UC lead to 55-49 with 11:29 remaining.

Cincinnati answered the K-State run by making their next three field goal attempts. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Josh Reed's three from the right wing extended the Cincinnati lead to 64-52 with 7:12 remaining on the clock.  

With Kansas State down 67-54 following a three-point play by Jamille Reynolds, the Wildcats put together a 10-0 run to cut the UC lead to three, 67-64.

Tylor Perry scored eight points for K-State during their run. 

Cincinnati scored four of the next six points and led 71-66  with 3:25 remaining, following a Newman dunk in transition off a Day Day Thomas steal. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

With 19 seconds left in the game, Cincinnati hadn't scored since the Newman dunk and trailed 72-71.

Tylor Perry made a circus three with the shot clock winding down with 1:16 left to give the Wildcats a one-point lead. 

Needing a basket, Wes Miller once again went to the best playmaker on the team, Simas Lukosius. 

Lukosius came off a screen and buried a three from the top of the key to give the Bearcats a two-point lead with 9 seconds left.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

"That's a player making a play," Tang told reporters after the game. "Three, four feet behind the three point line and rose up and shot a contested three and drilled it."

"The play was something that we run usually just with a little twist to it," Said Lukosius. "we really executed it great. Jizzle didn't have his own option so he waited for me and I felt some space and I got it up."

Tylor Perry turned the ball over on the next K-State possession and Cincinnati took over with 2.7 on the clock. 

"Coach Tang believed in me and put the ball in my hands on the last possession of the game. I just gotta make a play there," Perry said following the game. "The last thing i can do there is turn the ball over."

John Newman was fouled but missed the front end of the 1-and-1, allowing K-State one last chance to get a shot off with 1.5 remaining. 

Kansas State's full court pass attempt went out of bounds to end the game as Cincinnati held off the K-State rally for a 74-72 win. 

"It's good to see some smiles in that locker room after the game," Said Miller following the game. "We felt like we've been right there for the most part and we felt like we got away from who we are at TCU. We've gotten back to our approach and everything that we try to be about to our standard every day and it was nice to just get over the hump tonight."

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Final Stats and Notes:

Kansas State out-rebounded UC 37-27. It was just the fifth time this season that the Bearcats had been out-rebounded.

"Wes' team is tough, I mean relentless to the glass so it was a major focus for us to be able to compete on the boards." Jerome Tang said following the game. "They get 37% of their misses and we had no chance of winning if we allowed them to do that."

- Cincinnati has struggled with turnovers recently but finished the game with just six against K-State, while forcing 19. Those 19 turnovers led to 29 points for the Bearcats. Day Day Thomas tied a career high with four steals to go with 14 points, 5 rebounds. 

- Both Viktor Lahkin and Aziz Bandaogo finished with six points, each. Lakhin pulled down seven rebounds, while Bandaogo finished with eight boards. Lakhin turned his ankle late in the game and Jamille Reynolds had to be helped off the court and taken back to the locker room after an apparent knee injury. Reynolds returned but only played 11 minutes. With Oklahoma on the road on Tuesday, Cincinnati will have to spend these next few days getting healthy.

- Kansas State finished 21-of-25 from the free throw line, while UC attempted only eight free throws, making four. 

"I want us to get to the line more. Last year we struggled to get fouled but this team gets fouled," Said Miller during the post game. " Kansas State gets fouled at a high rate. They put so much pressure on you on the drive."

- Both teams shot over 50% in the second half. Kansas State made 7-of-12 three point attempts and 10-of-12 free throws after being held to 29 percent in the first half. UC finished the game making 47 percent of their field goal attempts and made 8-of-21 three point attempts. The Bearcats outscored K-State 36-24 in the paint and consistently got good looks while being aggressive going to the rim. 

- Jizzle James continues to blossom in to one of the best freshman in the conference. Tylor Perry made some tough shots over both James and Thomas to finish with 26 points, but James scored 10 points and read the defense perfectly to set up Lukosius game-winning three. 

Final Thoughts:

This was a much needed win. The Bearcats tournament hopes are currently on life support, so every win is a step in the right direction. To win without your leading scorer says a lot about the fight and toughness of this team. The "next man up" mantra was on full display against the Wildcats and the win was truly a team effort. Rebounding has been the identity of this team, but tonight they won by finishing in transition and being extremely active defensively to force turnovers.   

Post game Videos;


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