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Feb 17, 2024 6:51 pm

Cincinnati holds off UCF, snaps two-game skid

cincinnati basketball

Dan Skillings Jr. scored 15 points and collected eight rebounds to help Cincinnati end a two-game losing streak by defeating UCF 76-74 in Orlando, Fla.

Cincinnati (16-9, 5-7 Big 12) helped its cause by grabbing 18 offensive rebounds. The Bearcats won the rebounding battle 45-33, and their effort on the boards helped secure the win.

The Bearcats, leading by three, decided to foul UCF with two seconds left. UCF’s Marchelus Avery made the first and intentionally missed the second, but the Knights couldn’t corral the rebound.

Aziz Bandaogo scored 13 points to go along with eight rebounds, and Simas Lukosius chipped in 12 points for Cincinnati.

Despite having several chances to take the lead late, UCF (13-11, 4-8) never led after taking a 4-3 lead two minutes in. The Knights lost their third straight.

Darius Johnson paced the Knights with 16 points, while Shemarri Allen scored 15 with seven assists and Jaylin Sellers also scored 15.

With 1:54 left, Johnson hit a shot, was fouled and converted the three-point play to tie the game at 71.

Jizzle James responded with a layup, then Sellers connected from the elbow, tying the game again with 1:19 to play.

Bandaogo made one of two at the line to put Cincinnati up 74-73, and a Johnson turnover allowed Lukosius to hit a layup to pad the lead.

Earlier in the half, the Bearcats had grabbed their biggest lead when Lukosius drilled a 3-pointer with 17:39 to play to put Cincinnati up 49-35.

Cincinnati made just one field goal over the next five minutes as UCF went on a 9-2 run and cut the lead to 51-44.

Cincinnati started quickly, as Skillings made a 3-pointer and then converted a three-point play to stake the Bearcats to a 17-6 lead just six minutes into the contest.

That margin held until UCF started to chip away, down 24-13 with 9:22 left in the half. Allen kick-started the rally with a dunk and two free throws, and then completed the comeback with a layup off a turnover at the 4:10 mark to tie the game at 28.

The Bearcats quickly regained control, as four different players scored to conclude the half on a 9-2 scoring run, making the score 37-30.

Skillings paced all first-half scorers with 12.

–Field Level Media

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