UC Bearcats win road game at UCF on DeJulius clutch runner in lane

David DeJulius bringing ball up court (courtesy UC Athletics)

 February 19, 2023

ORLANDO, Fla. — Adversity was no match for this road trip.

David DeJulius’ runner, off a sideline set with an 11-seconds-left timeout, came with 0.2 on the clock to lead Cincinnati to a 73-71 win at UCF on Sunday afternoon. The heroic, team-wide efforts despite a difficult final minute exorcised heartbreak of three-straight tight road losses.

It was remarkably similar to DeJulius’ put-back off his own runner miss in a buzzer-beating win at ECU on Jan. 30, 2022. He ended with 16 points on a game-high eight assists, his nation-leading 13th-straight game with five or more dimes.

Mika Adams-Woods’ layup in traffic gave Cincinnati a nine-point lead with 9:09 left, but the Knights brought it back to 59-54 with seven minutes left. Kalu Ezikpe returned from the media timeout to swish a pair of free-throws.

The Knights came out of a timeout with a layup, but DeJulius found Oguama for a dunk at 2:22 to get it back to a 69-64 lead. Oguama again got free on a dunk for some third-chance Bearcat points with 1:20 left to take a lot of time and extend the margin to 71-66, but UCF answered with two foul shots with 59 ticks left before a timeout. 

UC turned it over on the next possession, and UCF went 1-for-2 at the line with 41 seconds left, pulling to 71-69. Another backcourt turnover gave it back to the Knights, who laid it up with 27 seconds left for the tie.

UCF took eight of the game’s first 10 three-pointers and led 15-9 with 12:23 to play. UC then made four-straight field goals and six of eight, the last an Adams-Woods trey, to force a UCF timeout at 5:48 and the Bearcats up 25-24.

Cincinnati took a 33-30 lead into the break, with UCF being tagged for an offensive goaltending as the clock expired. The Bearcats held a 16-13 edge on the boards in addition to 18-10 on paint points.

The Bearcats had their second-straight fastbreak opportunity sniffed out, but Ezikpe saved his own miss directly to Landers Nolley II on the wing for a deep ball. It helped the visitors open their largest lead of the day, 41-33, at 15:20.

Viktor Lakhin was a game-time decision and did not play, but the frontcourt combination of Ezikpe and Oguama was beyond exceptional. Ezikpe’s 12 points were his season-high, while Oguama went 7-for-7 with 15 points. All three of his double-figure scoring games have come in the last four, including a 9-for-9 showing eight days earlier against South Florida, UC’s highest perfect-shooting performance since Jason Maxiell in 2002.

“I’m super proud of David. He deserved to have that one go in the way he’s worked at it and how invested he is. I know he took it really hard when he was in a similar situation at Tulane (three-point miss at regulation buzzer that led to overtime). He shouldn’t, because he’s been terrific for us all year, but he took it hard and the neat thing is that he keeps coming back to work. He wanted the ball again in that same situation, and he made a big-time play.”

Cincinnati plays its penultimate home game Wednesday night against Temple (7 p.m. on ESPN2).

-Cincinnati leads 15-5 all-time.
-Cincinnati’s four treys were its fewest in a win since Nov. 10 against Cleveland State.
-Cincinnati is 15-1 when outrebounding its opponent (31-24 today)
Landers Nolley II scored in double-figures for the 18th-straight game.