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Caupain’s Putback Lifts Bearcats over Upset-Minded Marshall

The Bearcats came back from a 12-point halftime deficit to win a thriller.

NCAA Basketball: Marshall at Cincinnati David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati won its third straight game with a 93-91 overtime victory over Marshall Thursday night. The Bearcats trailed 50-38 at the half, but outscored Marshall 42-30 in the second half to send the game to overtime. Troy Caupain gathered a rebound and hit a leaner in the lane with less than one second remaining in the extra session to give the Bearcats the victory.

Gary Clark led the way with a game-high 26 points and 10 rebounds and Jacob Evans filled the stat line with 25 points, four rebounds, five assists and four steals. Evans hit a clutch three pointer from Steph Curry range to tie the game at 80-80 with just 10 seconds remaining in regulation.

Marshall jumped out to a 16-2 lead in the first three minutes of the game and led throughout the first half. Cincinnati cut the lead to 38-34 after a technical foul was called on Marshall’s Ryan Taylor, but the Thundering Herd ended the half on a 12-4 run to take the 12-point lead into halftime. Marshall hit 14-of-22 three pointers in the first half to help build the advantage. The Herd eventually set a Bearcats opponent record by hitting 17 three pointers on the night.

The Thundering Herd cooled off a bit in the second half and the Bearcats capitalized. Clark’s scoring was key, but Troy Caupain was the floor general that led the Bearcats to the comeback. Caupain only scored seven points, but he added 12 rebounds, six assists and two steals.

Cincinnati took its first lead of the game when Tre Scott hit a free throw with 2:50 remaining in regulation. t was one of the Bearcats’ few made free throws of the night. Cincinnati shot just 10-23 (43.5 percent) from the line, and missed several important free throws down the stretch. Marshall responded to take an 80-77 lead, but Jacob Evans’ three pointer with ten seconds remaining sent the game to overtime.

Cincinnati held a 90-87 lead after an impressive Gary Clark block (below) and then Caupain knocked down a driving layup and was fouled with 2:22 remaining in overtime.

Caupain missed the ensuing free throw, and Marshall fought back to tie the game at 91 apiece thanks to some clutch free throw shooting from Ajdin Penava. Marshall ended up hitting all 12 of its free throws on the night.

That set the stage for the final possession. Cincinnati had the ball with 28 seconds remaining thanks to a bizarre turn of events. With the possession arrow in their favor, the Bearcats were awarded an extra chance when Jarron Cumberland’s three-point attempt got wedged between the rim and the backboard with roughly 28 seconds to play. UC then held for the final shot. Caupain drove the lane and missed a shot, but Clark tipped the ball back and Caupain rebounded his own missed shot and then made the game winner with just under a second remaining.

It was a thrilling victory, but a concerning one, especially from Kyle Washington. Washington was undoubtedly the team MVP in the early part of the season, but he played just 14 minutes tonight and didn’t start the second half. At one point the camera caught Mick Cronin ripping into him (seemingly) over a lack of effort on the defensive end. Washington struggled throughout the game, and the Bearcats struggled with him in the floor. Tre Scott played well, adding eight points and five rebounds off the bench while playing critical minutes down the stretch.

The Bearcats next game is next Wednesday when they open conference play on the road against Temple. The Owls have been inconsistent this season, but have notched impressive wins against Florida State and West Virginia. The Bearcats will have to play much better defense on Wednesday if they hope to go into Philadelphia and get a win.