Viktor Lakhin collected a career-high 26 points and 11 rebounds as host Cincinnati pulled away after halftime for an 85-73 victory over Eastern Washington on Sunday.
The Bearcats (3-0) opened with three straight wins for the third time under coach Wes Miller thanks to Lakhin, who dominated the second half.
Lahkin scored 18 points after halftime and was 6-of-7 shooting for the half. He was 9-for-12 on the game shots and also eclipsed his career high for field goals while also hitting a career-best six free throws as the Bearcats hit 21 of their 31 free throws, including 15 in the second half.
Lahkin was virtually a one-man show for the Bearcats, who were methodical in pulling away and not as dominant as Friday’s 32-rout of Detroit Mercy.
Jizzle James, the son of Hall of Fame running back Edgerrin James, added 13 as the Bearcats shot 46.7 percent. Day Day Thomas and Simas Lukosius contributed 11 apiece while John Newman III finished with 10 as Cincinnati withstood a scoreless outing from CJ Fredrick.
Cedric Coward scored 21 points to lead Eastern Washington (0-3), which is opening with four straight road games against Power Six conference opponents. Casey Jones added 16 as the Eagles shot 44.8 percent but misfired on 18 of 23 3-point attempts in the first meeting between the two teams.
The Bearcats ripped off a 14-0 run to take an 18-7 lead on a hook shot by James. The Eagles countered with a 17-8 spurt and were within 26-24 on a basket by LeJuan Watts with about three minutes left.
The teams combined to make 12 of their last 15 field goals in the half and the Bearcats opened a 38-30 lead by halftime when Newman sank a corner 3 with 40 seconds left.
The Eagles hung around and trailed 47-42 on a 3-point play by Coward with 15:02 left and were within 49-45 on a putback by Watts with 12:42 remaining. Cincinnati finally surged ahead by scoring eight points in a 13-2 run that pushed the lead to 62-47 on a Lakhin’s jumper with 9:45 left.
Lakhin sank a 3-pointer to give Cincinnati a 69-55 lead with 7:22 remaining and hit another 3 from the top of the key that made it 75-62 with 3:55 left to effectively clinch it.
–Field Level Media
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