Cincinnati Bearcats News: Cruises to 84-54 Win Over Temple in American Athletic Conference Quarterfinals

Landers Nolley III


FORT WORTH, Texas – Freshman guard Dan Skillings Jr. turned in a career-high 20 points off the bench to propel No. 4 seed Cincinnati to an 84-54 win over No. 5 seed Temple in American Athletic Championship Quarterfinals on Friday afternoon.

Redshirt senior and AAC First-Teamer Landers Nolley II added 22 points, his third 20-point game in the last four contests. Senior guard Mika Adams-Woods added 20 points behind 5-7 from behind the arc.

Cincinnati advances to face No. 1 and top-seed Houston in the semifinals on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET on ESPN2. This game also marked Cincinnati’s highest margin-of-victory in any conference tourney game all-time.

Dan Skillings Jr.

Temple connected on their first two attempts of the contest before Cincinnati answered back with scores on three straight possessions, four points which came in the post from redshirt sophomore forward Viktor Lakhin. The Owls buried one from behind the arc to take an 8-6 lead into the first media timeout.

Lakhin filled the stat sheet with six points, seven blocks, five rebounds and three steals. His seven blocks tied the AAC Championship individual record of seven set in 2015.

Seven-straight points from Skillings halted an 11-0 Owls’ run and trimmed the margin back to 16-13 at the midway point of the first half. Skillings Jr. turned in 11 first-half points, six of which were off second-chance offensive rebounds, for his fourth 10-plus point game of his career.

Nolley buried a corner triple to close out the Bearcats’ 12-2 spurt over 2:44 minutes of action that tied the game at 18. The run was a part of a larger 19-4 stretch that provided the Bearcats a 25-20 advantage and forced an Owls timeout with 6:59 minutes left in the first half.

After the Owls cut it back to one possession, the Bearcats held their opponents without a field goal for the 5:33 minutes and continued to execute on the offensive end of the floor to extend the score to 37-23.

Adams-Woods knocked down a three and Nolley II finished a turnaround jumper while the Bearcats got stops of the first five Owls’ possessions out the locker room to push the lead to 42-29 at the first second-half media timeout.

Adams-Woods’ third trey of the game lifted the Bearcats’ lead to 18 at 47-29.

After the Owls’ threatened to cut the lead back to single digits, the Bearcats’ buried four straight triples, the last a four-point opportunity from Adams Woods, to make it 67-43.

Skillings finished a driving layup through contact to push the lead to 31, the largest of the contest, with 3:49 minutes left in regulation.

Cincinnati finished with 11 threes on the afternoon, its 14th game with 10-plus threes this season. The Bearcats turned in 40 points in the paint and 18 second-chance points on 13 offensive boards.

“I’m pleased with the win.  We played Temple three times, and that’s the fifth time I’ve coached against one of Aaron (McKie)’s teams here the last two years, and they’re always absolute battles because they’re so defensively sound. They’re tough. They’re physical. They rebound, and they don’t turn it over. So to win with that margin, you’re obviously really pleased and proud of the guys. I thought early in the game, they came out with an incredible amount of energy, and they’re getting out and blitzing the ball screen, and I thought we just needed to settle down and keep it moving a little bit. We were a little flustered early, and they made a couple tough shots over the top.  I thought after we kind of got through that first seven, eight minutes, I thought we settled in, made the simple play with the ball. I mean, you look down, you only have seven turnovers. 18-7, you like that.  We started making the simple play and some good things happened.”

-The last nine meetings had been decided by 38 points (4.2 per game). 
-Dan Skillings Jr.’s career-high 20 points marked the most by a UC freshman since Tari Eason on Feb. 26, 2021 against Tulane.
-Skillings reached double-figures for the fourth time, leading the team at the half with 11 as well, and UC has won all of those (Bryant, South Florida, Temple twice).
Mika Adams-Woods’ 20 points marked both a season-high and his career-high in AAC Tourney play (sixth game). 
-Landers Nolley II posted his 11th 20-point scoring game (third of the last four) and reached double-figures for the 22nd straight contest.
Ody Oguama picked up his fourth double-figure rebounding game of the season, and UC improved to 9-3 when he gets six or more.
-Cincinnati is now 20-4 when leading at the half, 13-2 when scoring 80-plus points and 18-2 when winning the boards.