Despite being outscored 38-32 in the second half, the Cats came out with the W Saturday night in front of 11,670 screaming fans at Fifth Third Arena. UC was up as many as 16 points and had to escape this one. USF went up by 4 with 10 minutes left in the game, but UC fought back to reclaim the lead and advance to 8-3 in the American.
Player of the game goes to Farad Cobb with 16 points, going 5-12 from the field in 27 minutes. Ellis had 8 points, 10 boards, 3 assists, 3 blocks, and 2 steals in 29 minutes. Johnson added a much-needed 11 straight points in the second half, going 3-3 from beyond the arch. Floor general Caupain was kept quiet with 8 points and nearly fouling out down the stretch.
UC shot the ball just 36.7% for the game, but made 45.5% of its 3’s in the second half. The Cats were just 57.9% from the line, outscored in the paint 36-24, and lost the turnover battle 12-11. But the bench came through with 28 points led by Cobb.
Tiny USF Iverson-like guard Cory Allen Jr. led the bulls with 18 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 steal, and 1 block.
This game did not go the way we expected, but Saturday nights shows the Cats can scrape and fight their way to victory without shooting the ball well, Caupain leading and scoring, and without blocking and turning over the opponent to force easy buckets. Statistically, it is illogical the Bulls lost this game, but great teams find ways to win, and that’s what the Bearcats did here.
Side Note: After UC beat SMU this week, the Mustangs handed Tulsa their first AAC loss 68-57, making the conference race a little more interesting at the top. Tulsa is 1st at 10-1. SMU is 2nd at 10-2. UC and Temple are tied at 3rd at 8-3.
Next up the Cats play at Temple (17-7, 8-3 American) Tuesday night at 7:30 pm ET.
Submitted by Andy Smith