CINCINNATI — The Cincinnati men’s basketball team will conclude its non-conference slate Wednesday night (7 p.m.) when it hosts Detroit Mercy.
Cincinnati had five double-figure scorers for the third time this season as it defeated La Salle on Saturday, 78-60. Thanks to a 9-0 run over the game’s first four minutes, UC held a 40-23 halftime lead, its fewest points allowed in any half this year. David DeJulius and Viktor Lakhin each scored 17 points to lead the charge. UC also had season-highs of 28 free-throw attempts and 25 turnovers forced.
Lakhin is now fourth nationally with a 71.1 percent field goal clip, including eight-straight games in double-figure scoring. He is averaging 12.5 ppg with 14 blocks after having 4.2 and nine as a reserve last season. DeJulius (team-high 20.1 ppg at home) has six 20-point scoring games and is fifth in the AAC at 17.2 ppg, in addition to fourth with a 42.6 percent clip from deep. As a team, Cincinnati is second in the AAC for 3FG% (36.9) and third in attempts (24.4 per game). It was eighth last year in the former, and the Bearcats are also averaging 11.7 more ppg than in Wes Miller‘s first season. Cincinnati’s 81.1 ppg leads the AAC, something the Bearcats have done only once before in the league’s history (74.3 ppg in 2016-17).
As the Bearcats continue to build their bench, Ody Oguama has become a significant factor. He is averaging 21.0 mpg over the last three while averaging 14.0 for his UC career. This season, he is shooting 60.7 percent from the field and a career-best 76.9 percent from the foul line. He started 42 games at Wake Forest over his first two seasons. True freshman Dan Skillings Jr. also posted career-highs of three steals and blocks against La Salle.
The Bearcats and Titans are meeting for the first time since 2004. In a 2022 coincidence, that last matchup also came following a win over La Salle, which was the last time Cincinnati faced the Explorers. Armein Kirkland and Jason Maxiell combined for 34 points for a 61-44 win. Cincinnati also took down Detroit Mercy in the 1997-98 opener, 76-66. The first two meetings came in 1930 and 1931.
The Titans, who are playing their seventh-straight road game, share one mutual opponent in Bryant, falling 98-88 on Nov. 21. Head coach Mike Davis was Cincinnati assistant Mike Roberts‘ college coach throughout his five-year playing career. The duo were first together in 2000-01, and the following season reached the national title game before falling to Maryland. Davis later coached at UAB (2006-12) and Texas Southern (2012-18).
COURTESY UC ATHLETIC COMMUNICATIONS