Thomas, Newman lead Bearcats in overtime win over TCU, 81-77

Following Saturday's 62-59 road loss to 14th-ranked Baylor, Wes Miller was quick to point out that his team didn't have time to feel sorry themselves.

"We're in the best league in college basketball and we don't have the ability to put our heads down or feel sorry for ourselves," Miller told the media following a second consecutive one possession loss.

"We have a chance to get back to work but we got a big-time team in TCU coming in Tuesday night. We got to turn then page quick, learn, and get ready to play and that's what this league is."

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Limiting turnovers was a primary focus for the Bearcats against a team that averaged 16.2 forced turnovers per game and led the country in fast break points per game (22.8).

TCU raced out to an early 23-13 lead after converting 8 consecutive field goal attempts and making 4-of-5 three-point attempts. The Frogs had six assists on nine made baskets and were using good ball movement to get the Bearcats' defense out of position for open looks. 

"Our defensive energy and our edge could have been better to start the game" said John Newman following the game. "It was all about weathering the storm and continuing to fight."

With 11:50 remaining in the first half, Cincinnati trailed TCU 26-16 and had turned the ball over five times. The Bearcats were also in the middle of a scoring drought that had lasted 2:29.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Day Day Thomas ended the scoring drought with a jumper at the 8:18 mark but the Bearcats were still down 26-18, despite limiting TCU to a 1-of-9 shooting stretch.

Thomas would finish the game with a game-high 21 points on 9-17 shooting to go with 6 assists, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals.

Trevian Tennyson ended a six-minute TCU scoring drought with a 3-point field goal at the 7:33 mark of the first half to extend the Frogs lead to 11, 29-18.

The Bearcats outscored TCU 14-4 over the final 7:33 and trailed by just 1, 33-32, at the half. John Newman scored 9 first half points to keep the Bearcats in the game while TCU made 6-of-11 3-point attempts.

" I thought John Newman was incredible tonight at both ends. He was terrific." Said Wes Miller after the game. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

The key during Cincinnati's run to close the half was their ability to limit turnovers. UC ended the half with 8 turnovers, but just 1 over the final 8 minutes of the half.  

Cincinnati took a quick 36-33 lead on baskets by Vik Lakhin and Day Day Thomas to open the second half, but TCU answered with a 7-0 run over the next 2:33 to take a 43-38 lead.

3-pointers by Avery Anderson and Trevian Tennyson combined with a 3:36 scoring drought were key contributors to TCU extending the lead to 45-38 following an oop-dunk by Ernest Udeh with 13:21 left in the second half. 

Dan Skillings four straight points following a Jizzle James free-throw cut TCU lead to 45-43 at the 12:18 mark but TCU scored six straight to push their lead out to 8, 51-43, with 11:17 remaining in the game. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

TCU's stretch of making 7-of-9 field goals prevented Cincinnati from re-gaining momentum. Emanuel Miller knocked down TCU tenth 3-pointer of the game with ten minutes to play to give the Frogs a 56-47 lead.

The final 10 minutes of regulation were a mixed bag of emotions for Cincinnati fans. 


All night it seemed like the Bearcats were ready to take control of the game but they were unable to take advantage of opportunities. TCU outrebounded UC 42-26 and turned 18 offensive rebounds in to 18 second chance points. 

Ernest Udeh scored with 5:21 left on a second chance lay-up to push the TCU lead to 6, 64-58.

The Frogs would then go on a 4:57 scoring drought.

Viktor Lakhin's hookshot with 2:12 left cut the TCU lead to 2 and then Day Day Thomas hit the two biggest shots of the game.

With :45 seconds left on the clock, Thomas hit a 3-pointer from the wing to give the Bearcats a 65-64 lead. Coming in to the game, Thomas had been 13-of-58 from 3.

"My teammates keep telling me to shoot the ball because I'm working on my shot every day before and after practice" Thomas told reporters following the game. 

Needing one last stop to preserve a victory, Trevian Tennyson buried his fifth 3-pointer of the game to give TCU the 67-65 lead with :24 seconds left on the clock.

With :13 seconds left on the clock, Day Day Thomas came up clutch once again and got to the rim and finished to tie the score. 

Both teams had opportunities within the last three seconds to make free throws and win the game, but Dan Skillings missed two and Ernest Udeh missed one to send the game to overtime. 

During the overtime period, John Newman and Emanuel Miller scored the first 9 points for their teams as Cincinnati jumped out to a 72-71 lead with 3:25 left. 

Trevian Tennyson gave the Frogs a two point lead with a 3, but Viktor Lakhin knocked down a three from the top of the key to give his team momentum and the lead.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Following two free throws from John Newman, Jameer Nelson Jr made a jumper in the paint to knot things at 77 with :49 seconds left.

Dan Skillings made a tough driivng layup with 22 seconds left and Day Day Thomas pulled down a rebound at the other end and calmly sank two free throws to preserve an 81-77 overtime win for the Bearcats.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Following back-to-back one possession losses to Texas and Baylor, it was important for the Bearcats to win a close game.

"It's important when you've lost a couple close games that you felt you had real chances to win, it's important to win one. You gotta learn how to win in one and two possession games which it seems like this whole dang league is. That should give our team some confidence." Said Miller following the game.

Final Thoughts and stats:

TCU was limited to just 13 fast break points and only forced 8 turnovers the final 28 minutes of the game. Once Cincinnati settled down and stopped making unforced errors, they were really able to get in a rhythm offensively.

- John Newman's defense continues to be outstanding. After holding Baylor star Ja'Kobe Walter scoreless for 25 minutes at Baylor, Newman limited TCU leading scorer Emanuel Miller to 14 points on 5-of-14 shooting. Newman also scored 20 points at the other end of the floor and pulled down 7 rebounds. 

- Day Day Thomas missed some lay ups tonight but came up clutch when his team needed him the most. Thomas finished with 21 points on 9-of-17 shooting and added 4 rebounds, 3 steals, and 3 assists. His defense was also a key reason TCU point guard Avery Anderson was limited to 3 points and had six of TCU 19 turnovers. 

- TCU out-rebounded UC 42-36 but the Bearcats outscored TCU 50-30 in the paint. Wes Miller's squad shot 52 percent from the field on 61 attempts and also made 6-of-16 from 3. TCU had limited four of their previous five opponents under 30 percent from 3,

- Dan Skillings finished with 13 points on 5-of-11 shooting and 6 rebounds, while Vik Lakhin had 11 points, 5 rebounds. 

- Aziz Bandaogo returned to action after sitting out against Baylor and finished with 6 points, 6 rebounds. His +12 in 27 minutes of action led the team. He fouled out with :03 seconds left in regulation following Skillings' second missed free throw. 

- Free throws were a struggle for both teams. UC finished 11-of-21, while TCU was 6-of-12.

Post game video:

Up Next:

Cincinnati will return to Fifth Third Arena Saturday January 20th for a 1 pm tip off against 15th-ranked Oklahoma. 



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