Florida guard Chris Chiozza sunk the Cincinnati Bearcats in the final minutes of their Never Forget Classic Showdown this afternoon. He broke a 60-60 tie with less than two minutes remaining at Newark, New Jersey’s Prudential Center by scoring six consecutive points, four of which came at the free throw line.
Fifth-ranked Florida pulled away late against the seventeenth ranked Bearcats, earning a 66-60 victory in a game played with an intensity more familiar to late March than late in the fall semester.
The now 7-2 Bearcats trailed at the half to the now 6-3 Gators, 34-28. Calling this game a back-and-forth affair would be an understatement. It featured thirteen ties and ten lead changes, which were split evenly between the halves. Both teams shot .426 from the field. Cincinnati out-rebounded the Gators 35-33 while Florida shot slightly better from the free throw line and from behind the arc.
Florida also earned a victory in the turnover battle. Cincinnati committed 21 to the Gators’ 15.
Cane Broome led the way for UC, posting 15 points on economical 6 of 8 shooting. Jacob Evans (13), Kyle Washington (11), and Jarron Cumberland (10) all reached double figures as well. Gary Clark performed with his typical grit in the low post, pulling down 13 rebounds, including 8 offensive boards.
Offensively, Florida relied heavily on their nationally-known triumvirate of Egor Koulechov (21), Jalen Hudson (17), and late game hero Chiozza (15), all of whom shot better than 50 percent from the field.
Unlike their recent performance against Xavier, Cincinnati played well in defeat this afternoon. They executed with skill and intensity against a similarly talented team. To stay among the nationally ranked, UC will have to keep up the effort against an undefeated Mississippi State team at home this Tuesday night (ESPN2). Following their tussle with Ben Howland’s Bulldogs, Cincinnati will head out to Westwood for a network televised matchup with UCLA.
Down the Drive will keep you well informed on both of these upcoming matchups.