Standing at 15-3, the Cats are now 4-1 in the American, having only lost to a red-hot ECU team on the road. Losing to the Pirates is never really “ok” by Cincinnati basketball standards, but to UC’s credit, it was the first AAC road game.
The 2019 Bearcats, a relatively young and inexperienced team by last season’s standard, bounced back from that ECU loss with back-to-back overtime wins over Tulsa and UConn. And tonight, the Cats earned another hard-fought W over a very talented USF team.
Following a grueling few days of practice after escaping Connecticut, the Cats looked comfortable early. With a double-digit halftime lead, UC looked poised to blow out the Bulls. Jarron Cumberland netted 19 points in the first half and Eliel Nsoseme added 4 blocks to provide much-needed energy on the defensive end.
Two minutes into the second half, a frustrated Mick Cronin was ejected for arguing with the refs after a less-than-accurate call was made. Understandably, this took some steam out of the team for much of the beginning minutes of the second-half.
Defense leading the way, the Bearcats managed to outlast USF’s late barrage, winning 82-74. Cumberland had a career night. After notching his 1,000th career point, Jarron finished with 34 points on 9-20 shooting and 14-16 from the free throw line.
UC now travels to warm and sunny Wichita State on Saturday at 2 pm to play the 7-8 (0-3) Shockers.
By Andy Smith