Lakhin's 18 points leads Cincinnati past Merrimack

Coming off an 82-68 loss to Dayton, Cincinnati entered Tuesday's night's match up against Merrimack still searching for an identity at both ends of the floor after having a mixed bag of results in their two toughest non conference games.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Many questioned if a shake up in the starting line up was necessary. Wes Miller switched up his starting line up against Merrimack, but not for the reasons fans probably wanted. 

After sustaining minor injuries in the Dayton loss, both Aziz Bandaogo and CJ Fredrick were in street clothes when the Bearcats came out for pre game warm ups. It didn't take long for word to get out that neither would be available for Tuesday night's game.

Ody Oguama and Simas Lukosius were inserted in to the starting lineup as the Bearcats looked to get back in the win column. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Merrimack's Bryan Etumnu scored the game's first basket while Cincinnati turned the ball over on three of their first five possessions. 

Despite the struggles with taking care of the ball to open the game, the Bearcats still led 10-4 at the first media stop and were 4-for-5 from the field. Vik Lakhin's 6 points paced the Bearcats early on.

Merrimack, one of the worst three-point shooting teams in the country, missed their first three attempts and 6-of-8 field goal attempts through the game's first 5:11.

UC extended their lead to 23-9 with 6:47 remaining in the half after John Newman, Vik Lakhin, Ody Oguama, and Jamille Reynolds had dunks on four consecutive offensive possessions., 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

Reynolds played just 7 minutes in the Dayton loss but made his presence known early against Merrimack with 4 points, 5 rebounds in 7 minutes of action.

Merrimack cut the Bearcats lead to 26-15 following a Jordan Derkack 3-pointer with 3:50 remaining in the half.

Cincinnati closed the half making just 1-of-9 field goal attempts and were held without a field goal over the final 5:10 as they led 27-17 at the half. 

Shooting has been an issue for the Cats at times this season and the first half was another example of this. Vik Lakhin and Jamille Reynolds combined for 13 first half points on 6-of-8 field goal attempts but the rest of the team was a combined 5-of-16 from the field.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

The biggest difference in the first half was UC's ability to turn 10 Merrimack turnovers in to 13 points, 8 of those coming on fast breaks. UC also used their size advantage to outscore Merrimack 18-8 in the paint. 

Ody Oguama opened the second half with a dunk but Merrimack would cut the UC lead to 29-21 with a 3 by Jordan Derkack,

The Bearcats responded by making their next six field goal attempts as they pushed their lead out to 43-26 following a Vik Lakhin and-one and a fast break dunk by Dan Skillings with 15:07 left in the game. 

Jamille Reynolds would end a three minute scoring drought for UC with a second chance layup, as UC led 45-30 at the under 12 media timeout. 


Vik Lakhin extended the lead to 47-30 out of the under 12 media timeout but the Bearcats missed 7 of their next 8 field goal attempts and allowed the Warriors to go on an 8-0 run over a 2 minute stretch to cut the UC lead to 47-38. 

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

With 5:23 remaining in the game, Jordan Derkack cut the lead to 49-42 and the Cats had 17 turnovers. 


Day Day Thomas went on a personal 7-0 run in less than a minute on 4 free throws and a corner 3 to extend UC's lead back to double figures, 56-42, with 4:26 left in the game.

Merrimack cut the UC lead to 56-44 but a 7-0 run over the next 2:12 pushed the UC lead out to 19, 63-44, with just over a minute remaining. 

Jizzle James capped off the Cincinnati scoring with a break away dunk as UC improved to 9-2 with a 65-49 win.

(Photo: Taylor Keeton)

 Final Stats and thoughts:

The biggest storyline of the game were the 18 turnovers by Cincinnati. Lakhin, Lukosius, Newman, and Reynolds all finished with 3 or more turnovers as Merrimack's zone and pressure inside really bothered UC at times. Despite the 18 turnovers, Cincinnati didn't allow any points in transition and limited Merrimack to just 4 points off turnovers. 

- Lakhin led the Bearcats with 18 points, 7 rebounds. Cincinnati had a clear size advantage and the 6'11" big man took advantage of his opportunities when he got the ball inside. 

- Jamille Reynolds finished with 7 points on 3-of-9 shooting while also pulling down 11 rebounds. Making his first appearance in Fifth Third Arena in a Bearcats uniform, Reynolds was extremely active on both ends with 6 offensive rebounds. He was clearly rusty but you can see the raw talent. He showed great explosion off the floor and has a strength advantage that allows him to muscle up through contact.

- Lukosius was inserted in to the starting lineup tonight and responded by going 3-of-4 from the field, 3-of-3 from 3-point range for 11 points. Leading 58-44 with 3:19 left, Lukosius scored 5 straight on two free throws and a 3-pointer to put the game away. 

- UC finished 24-of-55 (43.6%) from the field while limiting Merrimack  to 18-of-53 (34%). shooting. 

- The Bearcats didn't settle for jump shots and finished 5-of-12 (41.7 %) from 3.  Merrimack attempted 27 shots from outside, making 9 of those attempts.

- Free throw shooting continues to be a slight concern. After going 8-for-16 against Dayton, UC finished 12-of-19 tonight. With conference play approaching, that percentage needs to consistently be above 70 %.

Up Next:

Friday 12/22 v Stetson - Fifth Third Arena


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