That was predictable.
Cincinnati lost in the most Cincinnati way possible. A soul-crushing meltdown on national television after showing flashes of brilliance that had fans thinking about the Elite Eight and Final Four.
It couldn’t have ended any other way.
The Bearcats opened the game with their best two minutes of offense of the season. They scored 10 points off of four shots to jump out to a quick 10-0 lead. Jarron Cumberland led the way hitting back-to-back three-pointers in the opening minute. He’d shoot 3-of-15 the rest of the way and foul out with more than four minutes remaining.
Cincinnati kept its lead throughout the first half, weathering a run by the Wolf Pack and pushing the lead back to 12 points at halftime, 44-32.
The Bearcats didn’t disappoint at the start of the second half either. Justin Jenifer hit a three-pointer right away, and Gary Clark followed with a bucket and suddenly the Bearcats lead was 17 again. hey’d eventually push it all the way up to 22 points with 11:34 remaining before everything fell apart.
Nevada used a 16-0 run over just four minutes to cut the lead all the way down to six points. Cincinnati fought to hang on to the lead over the final eight minutes.
The Bearcats remained in the lead until Caleb Martin hit a well-contested three-pointer that tied the game at 73-73 with just 57 seconds remaining.
The Wolf Pack took their first lead of the game with nine seconds remaining when Josh Hall rebounded a Cody Martin missed jumper, and put the ball in the basket for the 75-73 lead, and ultimately the win. The Bearcats had a chance to tie late, but Cane Broome went the length of the floor and didn’t even get an official shot off with the season on the line.
The loss ends the careers of Kyle Washington and Gary Clark; two players that will be remembered as great regular season players that never got it done in the tourney
Cincinnati ends the season with a gaudy 31-5 record, but wasted perhaps its best opportunity to win a national championship in the past 50 years by failing to close out an inferior team in front of what was basically a home crowd in Nashville.
It seems the only appropriate way to finish a recap of tonight’s game and this Bearcats’ season is with one simple word – choke.