9-4 UC Bearcats Men’s Basketball Begins American Play Thursday against 7-4 Tulane



CINCINNATI — A new season within the season commences Thursday night for the Cincinnati men’s basketball team as the Bearcats host Tulane in the AAC opener (9 p.m.).

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Cincinnati concluded non-conference play with a 72-54 win over Detroit Mercy on Wednesday, powered by Viktor Lakhin’s career-highs of 18 points and 15 rebounds to go with David DeJulius’ stifling defense of Antoine Davis (6-20 FG, 2-8 3FG), the nation’s most prolific scorer. The Bearcats’ eight home wins have all been by double-digits for a 20.8 ppg differential. Their seven-game homestand marks the most since the start of the 2013-14 season, its fourth of nine-straight NCAA bids.

Lakhin is fourth nationally at 72.0 percent from the field, scoring in double-figures nine-straight games starting with his 17-point breakout against Arizona. He has four double-doubles this year after averaging 4.2 ppg and 3.5 rpg as a moderate reserve last year. Ody Oguama has complemented him well in the post, too, going 14-for-18 over his last five games (77.8 percent). David DeJulius, owner of six 20-point games, leads the team at 16.6 ppg. He is shooting 40.6 percent from deep, up from 29.7 last season and 20.3 in 2020-21.

Cincinnati is 27th in fewest turnovers (10.8 per game), helped by its four against Detroit Mercy that was one off a school record. It was 28th last year after ranking 267 prior to Wes Miller‘s arrival. The Bearcats, 8-2 when scoring 70-plus points, lead the AAC in scoring (80.4 ppg) while ranking second in three-point percentage (34.9). Mika Adams-Woods, whose 81 starts are most on UC’s team, is quietly having a much-improved senior season, up 7.9 in FG%, 6.4 in 3FG% and a team-best 92.6 percent from the foul line.

Cincinnati had won 18 of its last 20 against the Green Wave before its home New Year’s loss last season.

It was also arguably the most bizarre game of the season, as Cincinnati trailed by as much as 26 late in the first half before pulling within 11 at 13:48. Tulane was 9-of-14 from deep (64 percent) in the first half and then 5-for-26 overall in the second (19 percent).

The Bearcats trailed by as much as 26 late in the first half before pulling within 11 at 13:48 and seven with a minute left. Junior guard Jeremiah Davenport recorded his second-career double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

Cincinnati is 8-3 against the Green Wave since the start of their AAC series and 29-16 overall. The schools were previously charter members of Conference USA (last meeting in March 2005 before Cincinnati joined the BIG EAST) and Metro Conference.