basketball Edit

Cincinnati's Hot Second Half Leads to an 86-60 Win Over ECU

Isaac Fleming and ECU come up short on the road in an 86-60 loss to No.12  Cincinnati to fall to 8-11 for the season.
Isaac Fleming and ECU come up short on the road in an 86-60 loss to No.12 Cincinnati to fall to 8-11 for the season. ( file photo)

(12)Cincinnati placed four players in double-figures led by Jacob Evans and Kyle Washington who scored 17 points each in an 86-60 Bearcat blowout Saturday afternoon at BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University where Cincinnati is playing their home games this season while their arena is being renovated.

Despite ECU’s best efforts that kept the game close at halftime cold second half Pirate shooting turned what was an eight point game at the break into a Bearcat blowout.

“One of the things we talked about was being able to sustain our play for longer periods of time. We gave them a battle for 33 minutes and really fought them hard, but they finally wore us down with their physicality particularly in the paint with their bigs,” ECU head coach Michael Perry said, “They had 22 offensive rebounds which is an astounding number and that was the tale in the game.”

ECU hung tough early in the contest, taking an 8-7 lead on a Shawn Williams bomb at the end of the shot clock. Three B.J. Tyson free throws gave the Pirates as much as a four-point lead. But Cane Broome’s three-pointer from the top of the key and a pair of inside buckets from Gary Clark kept things close for the Bearcats with just under twelve minutes to go in the half.

Another three-pointer from Shawn Williams tied the game at 18-18. Then the Bearcats began to open up a working margin at 30-22 on four Jarron Cumberland free throws and a Jacob Evans trey at the eight minute mark.

When the Pirates turned over the basketball on a pair of possessions, Cincinnati quickly converted them into baskets and the Bearcat lead expanded to ten with six minutes to play in the half. A pair of quick Barkley misses led to a Trevon Scott dunk as Cincinnati maintained a ten-point 38-28 lead with 3:28 in the period.

Shawn Williams’s game leading 13th first half point on a perfect five for five half along with baskets from Dimitri Spasojevic and Isaac Fleming kept things manageable for the Pirates and Fleming’s fall away jumper on the final ECU possession made it 46-38 at halftime.

Even though ECU launched up nine less shots, improved ball movement along with some solid defense led to the Pirates connecting on a solid 55 percent of their shot attempts including 43 percent from the arc. Cincinnati hit just 42 percent from the floor in the first half, but they managed to get to the stripe where the canned all ten of their shots to make that field goal percentage look a little deceiving going into the locker room.

The Pirates turned over the basketball nine times to just one for Cincinnati(17-2) in the first twenty minutes or the game might have been even closer.

Kentrell Barkley’s block of a Gary Clark shot led to a wide open transition layup from Fleming that cut the lead to six at 46-40. Fleming scored again on the subsequent possession on a nifty baseline move and a Jabari Craig free throw trimmed the Cincy lead to as little as five.

But ECU got a little impatient offensively and finally hit a cold shooting snap. Cincinnati turned nearly every Pirate miscue into Bearcat points at the other end. Kyle Washington’s three-point play in the paint had Cincinnati up by twelve midway through the second half. Then a pair of Evans jumpers gave the Bearcats a fifteen-point lead with 7:16 to go.

Evans’ 17th point of the game, a pair of Washington buckets for his 17th and a Gary Clark’s 14th point on a reverse layup put the contest away.

ECU was led by Shawn Williams who scored 13 of his 15 points on perfect shooting in the first half before going ice cold in the second period. Isaac Fleming also scored 15 and Kentrell Barkley added ten points for the Pirates.

The ECU(8-11/2-6 AAC) bigs got into foul difficulty along with 15 Pirate turnovers and 42 percent overall shooting including just 4 of 16 from three-point range that eventually did the Pirates in.

Cincinnati connected on 45.2 percent from the floor including five treys to go along with 22 offensive rebounds in the victory.