Catching up with UC Basketball: Bearcats Grind Out Tough Road Win at SMU, 54-52

Mika Adams-Woods

DALLAS — Landers Nolley II recorded his third double-double of the past four games, Mika Adams-Woods scored 16 points, and Viktor Lakhin recorded a career-high eight blocks to lead Cincinnati in a 54-52, rockfight win at SMU on Saturday afternoon.

Lakhin’s swats were the sixth-most in school history, in addition to the most since Eric Hicks on Jan. 7, 2006 against Marquette. Nolley finished with 16 points and 12 boards, with the latter matching a career-high. 

Cincinnati (13-6, 4-2 AAC) overcame a 3:37 scoring drought to end the game by winning the glass battle, 52-41. Three Bearcats (Lakhin 10, Ody Oguama 10) had double-figure rebounds, while Jeremiah Davenport added nine as well.

SMU made its fourth triple of the game and forced a turnover at 1:16 to regain possession, trailing 54-52 at 1:16. The Mustangs’ only second-half lead to that point was at 19:33. After a Nolley miss from deep, a held-ball on the other end and timeout, SMU had 16 on the shot clock and 18.8 seconds overall, down 54-52.

Lakhin blocked his final attempt of the game, and after an intentional free-throw miss went awry with 1.2 seconds left, the Mustangs had a half-court attempt hit the front of the rim.

The teams were a combined 8-for-31 to start, but Nolley II swished a fadeway after an acrobatic Dan Skillings Jr. layup to give Cincinnati a 14-8 advantage at the 10-minute mark. 

David DeJulius’ four-point play at 2:38 gave Cincinnati its largest lead of the day at 29-22. 

Cincinnati led 29-27 at the half. After SMU tied it up, the Bearcats scored eight-straight, courtesy of an Oguama three-point play and Nolley trey from the top of the key for a 37-29 margin. The Mustangs held tight, and a 4:57 scoring drought had Cincinnati clinging to a 43-42 lead at the 7:37 media timeout. Adams-Woods answered with a 3-pointer in front of the UC bench on the ensuing possession, then swished another to go up 49-44 at 5:50.

“There are a lot of ways to look at it. My favorite wins as a coach are when you can’t throw it into the ocean, and you turn it over 17 times, but you guard and you rebound well enough to find a way to win. That shows the character of the team. Belive me, I don’t want to turn it over 17 times. I want to shoot it better. But to be in that offensive standpoint, those are the ones you’re most proud of.”

Cincinnati returns to the road Wednesday for a 7 p.m. game at South Florida.

-Cincinnati leads the all-time series 18-6, including 16-5 in the AAC era. It was its 11th win of the last 12 matchups.
-It was the Bearcats’ second-straight road win as well.
-Cincinnati has out-rebounded its opponents by 45 over the last four games since minus-18 at Temple.
Landers Nolley II recorded his third double-double of the season and seventh of his career. He also had five rebounds over the first 3:38.