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Bearcats Top Ole Miss to Win Emerald Coast Classic

That’s how you celebrate a holiday weekend.

NCAA Basketball: North Carolina Central at Cincinnati Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

For the second-straight season, the Cincinnati Bearcats captured an early season tournament tile by vanquishing the Ole Miss Rebels 71-57 in Niceville, Florida as part of the Emerald Coast Classic.

The Bearcats (5-1) have won five-straight games this season and add their Emerald Coast Classic title to their Cayman Islands Classic championship from 2017. They were paced by 25 points from Jarron Cumberland, who willed his way to the rim and to the foul line to keep the offense moving. Cumberland made 13-of-14 free throw and shot just 5-for-17 from the field overall. No other Bearcat got into double figures, although Trevon Scott (nine points, nine rebounds, two blocks), Cane Broome (nine points, four assists) and Keith Williams (nine points) all got close.

Cumberland’s free-throw shooting made up for a lackluster shooting night from the Bearcats, who made only 40 percent of their field goal tries in the game, although they were fairly consistent across each half, making 41% in the first and 39% in the second.

Defensively, the Bearcats had more success. Despite allowing Devontae Shuler to score 24 points, the Bearcats limited the Rebels to 37.3 percent shooting, including a dismal 3-for-21 showing from beyond the arc. Add in a 33-27 edge on the glass and a 17-11 scoring advantage off turnovers, and the Bearcats were destined to win.

It’s back to regular season business on Tuesday for the Bearcats, who will host the Arkansas Pine Bluff Golden Lions at Fifth Third Arena before visiting UNLV next Saturday.