For the first time in four games, the Cincinnati Bearcats were able to win in 40 minutes. The new slogan for this season is - “never easy”.
Bearcats took a 40-27 lead into halftime. They led 54-31 at the under 16 minutes timeout. That lead dwindled down to 11 points with just over 3 minutes left and Vermont got to within single digits, but Cincinnati managed to hold on and win 82-73 and improve to 6-2.
Keith Williams hit all 4 three pointers that he attempted and led the Bearcats with a career-high 23 points, plus 5 rebounds and 5 assists.
Jaevin Cumberland played 29 minutes off the bench and scored 21 points, hitting 5 of 8 three pointers.
Jarron Cumberland was playing well in the first half, before exiting with a leg injury. It looked like he banged knees with a Vermont player. He immediately went to the locker room and did return to the bench, but did not return to the game. He finished with 8 points.
It’s been a really weird and challenging season for Jarron, who has battled multiple injuries in several games and was benched earlier this year for unknown reasons.
Chris Vogt continued to his strong season with 11 points and 6 rebounds. Senior Trevon Scott recorded his second double-double of the season and seventh of his career, with 13 points and 12 rebounds.
Freshman PG Mika Adams-Woods continues to show improvement each game and he did something that very few Bearcats have proven they can hit - hit free throws! He was 4-4 from the FT line and hit another field goal, giving him 6 points to go with 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Adams-Woods played 18 minutes off the bench, while starter Chris McNeal played 21 minutes and took 1 shot, dishing out 3 assists.
Vermont star Anthony Lamb came into the game averaging 17 ppg and 8 rpg and finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds. He shot just 4 of 16 as the Bearcats defense was able to do a good job to lock him down.
This team remains a work-in-progress, but on nights like this, you can see what the finished product of the offense should ultimately look like. They shot 45% from the field and 63% from three (hitting 12 of 19 threes). Contrarily, the defense allowed Vermont to hit 15 of 28 three pointers. Defending the three has been an issue for the Bearcats for many years now, and it’s an issue that seems to always come to the forefront when they play Xavier.
Vermont was an NCAA Tournament team in 2019 and came into the night ranked #88 by KenPom. This is a quality win for Cincinnati and it’s one that could help them come March. It’s one that could also help them come Saturday.
Saturday, the Bearcats take on Xavier and after a rough start to the season they needed to put together an inspiring, complete performance. Despite the defenses lapses in the final few minutes of this game, this was as complete of a game as they have played all year and did so against a good team.