January 12, 2022
CINCINNATI – The Cincinnati Bearcats men’s basketball team used its highest-scoring half all season to propel itself to a 79-71 victory over ECU on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Arena.
The Bearcats took a 49-29 lead into halftime after shooting 17-29 (58.6 percent) in the first 20 minutes of the game. The 49 points and 58.6 percent shooting percentage are both season-highs for a half this season.
Junior guard Jeremiah Davenport followed up a career-best performance last time out against Memphis (7-10 from three) by matching a season-high of 22 points on 8-16 shooting. It was the first time he scored 20 or more points in back-to-back games in his career. Sophomore guard Mason Madsen pitched in from beyond the arc as well, going 3-4 from deep in the first half and sparking a 9-0 run from 9:06-7:27 to take a 34-11 lead. He tied a season-high nine points.
The Bearcats’ big first half led to leads of 21-7, 34-11 and 42-20. It all started with a 17-5 run to begin the game with Davenport scoring the first four points of the contest. Sophomore guard Mike Saunders Jr. aided tonight’s effort with eight assists, setting a new career high for the Indianapolis, Ind. native.
UC improved to 12-5 and 2-2 in the American Athletic Conference with the win. The Bearcats now hold a 16-2 lead in the all-time series against ECU, including a 9-0 mark at home.
The loss drops ECU to 10-5 overall and 1-2 in the AAC. The Bearcats held the Pirates to just 2-15 (13.3 percent) shooting to start the game and 9-26 (34.6 percent) in the first half. They have never beaten UC in Clifton.
UC came out of the gate on fire, hitting 11 of its first 16 shots. Davenport, DeJulius and John Newman III set the tone early, and Madsen, Jarrett Hensley and Mika Adams-Woods helped extend the lead even further with a few buckets each.
ECU was able to jump out to a 7-0 run the start the second half and eventually cut the lead to as low as five points at 3:16 in the second half, but UC ultimately prevailed and held off the Pirates. Despite the lead being cut that low, veteran leader DeJulius made a few clutch plays late to secure the victory, including a no-look pass leading to a Hayden Koval dunk and jumping on a loose ball that gave the Bearcats the ball.
While Davenport may have been UC’s leader on offense tonight, the depth of the team was on full display. Eleven different players scored tonight, the most since 13 scored against Presbyterian on Nov. 16, 2021.
Even though the second half was not quite as efficient as the first, the Bearcats still ended the night shooting 28-59 (47.5 percent). They ended the night 8-22 (36.4 percent) from three. A powerful dunk from Newman III with 19 seconds left in the game brought the fans to their feet and ended the game.
– Cincinnati is 9-0 at home against ECU all-time.
– UC’s 20-point lead at halftime was its largest-such lead of the season.
– Saunders Jr’s eight assists were the most by any Bearcat this season.
– This is Davenport’s second 22-point game of the year. The other came against Ashland Dec. 18, 2021.
– Abdul Ado had three blocks, giving him one in each game except for two this season.
– Mason Madsen’s three treys in the first half marked his second game doing so this year (also the opener against Evansville).
Cincinnati plays Wichita State on the road this upcoming Thursday, Jan. 16 at 1:00 p.m.
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