After coming off of a narrow victory versus the USF Bulls the Bearcats welcomed the Houston Cougars to Fifth Third Arena on a super cold Wednesday night. The Cougars came into the game undefeated in the American Athletic Conference at 3-0 so it would be important that the Bearcats play a solid game.
In the first half the Bearcats played with a lot of energy on both sides of the court which led to a 39-27 lead at halftime. They caused 11 turnovers while only having 3 themselves. Points in the paint were also dominated 18-4 and they had won the assist battle 11-5. Overall that was a microcosm of the first half the Bearcats were super active on defense and on offense making a healthy effort to get the rock in the paint. They held the Cougars to 34.6% shooting from the field.
Farad Cobb led the Bearcats with 10 points at the half. Gary Clark had 8 points, 5 assists and 2 steals. Octavius Ellis had 7 points and 5 rebounds. When the big men eat it makes life a lot easier for the team as a whole.
The second started off more the same until the 11:21 mark in the half were UC was up 57-46. They had pushed the lead up to 16 points, but the Cougars kept fighting back and eventually got the lead down to 3 points with 5:37 left in the game on a LeRon Barnes three. From the 11:21 mark to 5:04 the Bearcats only made one basket until Kevin Johnson made a very timely three to push the lead back to 6. A nice tip in later by Gary Clark in the Bearcats were up 64-56 and never looked back securing a 70-59 victory.
Overall they held the Cougars to 36.4% shooting from the field, but they loss the rebounding battle for once 40-38. A lot of the rebounds were from tip outs by the big men and the guards being at the right spot. The bench tied at 28 points, but the points in the paint were dominated by Cincinnati 30-16.
UC had four players in double digits so we are going to highlight them. Farad Cobb had 14 points and 3 steals. Octavius Ellis had 13 points and 13 rebounds. Gary Clark had 14 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and 2 steals. Kevin Johnson had 15 points, 3 rebounds and 2 steals off the bench.
This was a very solid win for the Bearcats who are off until Saturday when they will get a rematch against Temple a team who beat them last month at Fifth Third Arena 77-70. They play Temple at Noon on ESPNU.