Cincinnati only held the lead for 7 minutes and 22 seconds of game time, but they were leading when the clock struck double zero and that’s all that matters. The Bearcats (20-2, 9-0 American) escaped with a dramatic 57-55, come-from-behind victory over a feisty Tulsa (12-9, 6-3 American) team. Senior Troy Caupain hit the game winner with 4.4 seconds remaining to send the Bearcats to their 13th straight victory. Caupain ended the game with a team-high 15 points, two rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Cincinnati used two big runs to secure the win, outscoring Tulsa 28-7 in the final six minutes of both halves.
This one was rough from the very start for the Bearcats. Tulsa jumped out to a quick 9-0 lead as Cincinnati missed their first five shots from the field. The Bearcats looked sloppy both offensively and defensively in the first half allowing Tulsa to maintain a lead most of the way. The Bearcats used a 12-0 run to take a 28-27 lead before eventually going to the half tied 30-30.
Cincinnati jumped out to a 36-32 lead to start the second half, but Tulsa quickly answered with a 10-0 run. The Golden Hurricane wouldn’t trail again until Caupain’s game-winner with 4.4 seconds left. They stretched the lead to as high as 52-41 with just six minutes remaining before the Bearcats began their dramatic comeback. The Bearcats would outscore Tulsa 16-3 the rest of the way, thanks to clutch baskets from Jacob Evans and Kyle Washington.
Caupain would score the last, and biggest five points of the game though. Trailing 55-52 with 43 seconds remaining he drove to the basket for layup and a foul. He’d convert on the free throw to tie the game at 55-55. Tulsa’s Pat Birt turned the ball over with 15 seconds remaining and that’s when the senior hit the game winner to keep the Bearcats win streak alive.
This was an ugly game from start to finish. There isn’t a single player on either team that can leave feeling good about their team or performance. Cincinnati shot just 35.3% from the field, including 6-24 (25%) from three point range. They were out-rebounded by the Golden Hurricane 37-26, with Tulsa even getting the edge on the offensive glass 11-8.
The only area the Bearcats excelled in was forcing turnovers. Cincinnati forced 16 total turnovers, including 10 steals. No steal was bigger than Tre Scott’s with 15 seconds remaining that eventually set the Bearcats up for the victory.
While certainly not their best showing, the Bearcats proved once again that they’re capable of winning close games. Just like they did against Iowa State, Marshall, Temple, and SMU, the Bearcats came through when it mattered most.
Next up for the Bearcats is the always entertaining matchup against Connecticut on Saturday afternoon. The Huskies have been decimated by injuries this year, but have won three in a row led by their young core of Jalen Adams and Christian Vital.