Saturday afternoon the Cincinnati Bearcats invited American Athletic Conference foe East Carolina Pirates to Fifth Third Arena. This game was labeled the proverbial trap game because of woeful the Pirates have been and heading into the game they were 10-14 overall and 2-9 in conference to say UC couldn’t afford to lose would be an understatement.
The first half was rough because of how cold the Bearcats started from three. Going 3 of 16 from behind the arc didn’t help their cause but outrebounding the Pirates 20-14 did. Points in the paint also helped dictate how the game was played also winning 24-6. Dominating on the glass helped UC get nine more shot attempts in the first twenty minutes of the game. 34-26 gave the home team an 8 point lead at the half.
Octavius Ellis put a stamp on the first half with 12 points on 6 of 8 from the field, 7 rebounds (5 offensive), 2 assists and 2 steals.
Gary Clark had 7 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists.
Troy Caupain had 8 points and 2 rebounds.
In the second half it seemed like ECU wanted to steal on in Cincinnati. During the first 7:25 of the half they went on a 16-8 run to tie the game and after that the wheels feel off for the Pirates and UC turned it up. A big three by Kevin Johnson got the Bearcats the lead and they never turned back. The play of the game was Johnson’s three, but the play that got UC and the crowd uber excited was Caupain’s alley oop to Jacob Evans to push the lead to 8 at 51-43. That play was followed by a two hand dunk by Johnson.
UC shot 56% from the field in the second half and 45.5% from three. This was a huge improvement from the first half and the reason UC won 75-60.
UC also had five players finish with double digits. Ellis led the team with 16, Clark had 15, Johnson had 13, Caupain had 12 and Evans finished with 10.
Ellis and Clark both had double doubles, Ellis with 16 and 11 and Clark with 15 and 12.
On 29 made shots they had 21 assists which is a great stat.
They are off until Thursday as they head down to Tulsa for a very important road conference game at 9 pm on CBS Sports.
UC moves to 19-7 overall and 9-4 in the AAC.