Rewind to Saturday night as UC Bearcats Flips Script in Second Half for Upset Road Win at No. 12 BYU

By Marisol Nicholson



PROVO, Utah – Cincinnati responded from a seven-point halftime deficit to stun No. 12 BYU in a 71-60 victory to open the Big 12 era for both teams, Saturday night in the Marriott Center.

The Bearcats (12-2, 1-0) claimed their highest-ranked win since taking down No. 12 Houston in the 2019 AAC title game, as well as its highest on the road since No. 11 Wichita State in March 2018.

BYU (12-2, 0-1), previously 9-0 at home, entered as the national leader in scoring (90.4 ppg) and rebound margin (13.8). Cincinnati, second in rebounding, held the Cougars to their season-low while winning the boards, 45-36.

The Cougars’ 46 three-point attempts marked the most all-time by a Cincinnati opponent.

Jizzle James scored 10 of Cincinnati’s 14 points over a 3:36 span to give the Bearcats a 56-51 lead at 9:30, their largest of the game.

Dan Skillings III went to work down low with a short jumper to bring Cincinnati back within 43-42 at 14:12, an inching comeback keyed by Aziz Bandaogo’s 3-pointer. It was his sixth-career make (including a pair at BYU last year while with Utah Valley) and first attempt of the season.

Viktor Lakhin found John Newman III in the post for a layup at 5:19 that extended the lead to 61-53. By that point, BYU had missed nine of its last 10 shots. BYU had just two points over a 7:55 stretch into the 3:40 media timeout.

Lakhin’s 3-pointer from the wing at 2:51 put an exclamation point on the incredible second half, giving UC a 66-55 lead.

BYU’s 13-5 lead forced Cincinnati to use its first timeout at 10:53. James’ spinning runner put the Bearcats back ahead, 19-18, an 8-0 run that helped weather a 6:42 scoring drought. BYU also went 3:21 scoreless itself, but an 8-0 run in 52 seconds put the Cougars on top, 26-19, at 3:28.

Lakhin (17 points, seven rebounds) and Bandaogo (12 points, 10 rebounds) led the Bearcats.

“I’m really proud of our kids. I thought we turned it over a lot early, and certainly weren’t good offensively then. When you turn it over carelessly, you aren’t gonna have chances to score. There were some forced ones, for sure, because (head coach Mark Pope) did a nice job coming out of timeouts and trapping us. We settled down and found some rhythm offensively in the second half. Everything defensively was the catalyst for us. We really strung together stops in the second half.”

Dan Skillings Jr. made his first-career start. The sophomore has appeared in all but one game as a Bearcat (49th appearance).
-Cincinnati is 12-0, including 8-0 this year, when Skillings scores in double-figures. He finished with 10.
-It marked the sixth different lineup for Cincinnati this season.
Aziz Bandaogo collected his third-straight double-double. He had missed the previous three games due to a back injury sustained early against Dayton on Dec. 16.
Viktor Lakhin scored in double-figures for the fourth-straight game.
-It was the fourth all-time meeting between the teams and first since an 84-59 win in the 2001 NCAA First Round.