The Cincinnati Bearcats went all the way out west to face the Saint Joseph’s Hawks in the NCAA Tournament. They played the last game of the night and it was one of the best games of the day, but ended up being on the short side of a controversial finish in Spokane.
UC was without senior forward Shaquille Thomas because of a groin injury and AAC Defensive Player of the Year Gary Clark was still limited due to an ankle sprain suffered before the UConn game in the AAC Tournament. During the second half forward Quadri Moore rolled his ankle early in the second half after an impressive first half we will get into that during the breakdown.
In the first half the Bearcats shot 55.6% from the field, but didn’t have an answer for Atlantic 10 Player of the Year DeAndre’ Bembry as he poured in 20 points. Bembry was doing whatever he wanted on the court, going to the hole, hitting threes and if you watched or researched him you knew he wasn’t a great three point shooter. UC got great performance by senior center Coreontae DeBerry and sophomore forward Quadri Moore in the first half. DeBerry poured in 16 points and Moore chipped in with 6 points to help their team stay within 1 point at the half. St. Joe’s went into the half up 41-40.
In the second half the Hawks took a 12 point lead, but UC battled back to take a lead off the hot shooting from freshman Jacob Evans. Just when you thought UC was out of the game Evans shot them back in the game with layups, pull up jumpers and three. Evans had a career high of 26 points and 9 rebounds. Octavius Ellis made two huge blocks with 4 fouls, but it was his dunk that was waved off at the end that was the difference at the end of the game. Leading up to the final play Farad Cobb made a three to put UC down 1, a few plays later Ellis gets a huge block that led to a Troy Caupain assist for an Evans dunk to put UC up 1 with 16 seconds left. After a big three by Isaiah Miles the Hawks went up two points with 7 seconds left. Caupain went the full length of the court and passed it to Ellis who immediately dunked the ball and after the referees reviewed the play waved it off causing the Bearcats to lose 78-76.
This is the sixth game UC has loss by two points this season and to suffer back to back losses like this is heartbreaking.
DeBerry finished the game with 18 points and Cobb had 12 points.
UC finished the season 22-11 overall this season.