Three days before Christmas the 24th ranked Cincinnati Bearcats welcomed the Marshall Thundering Herd into Fifth Third Arena. If you didn’t do your research you would think the Conference-USA members at 7-4 would be a pushover, discounting that Dan D’Antoni (Mark D’Antoni’s Brother) runs a wide open offense that puts pressure on any defense, you might’ve saw that Ohio State beat then by 41 points in November and said to yourself the Bearcats will running through these guys like Emmitt Smith did opposing teams in his prime, but not today my friends.
The Herd jumped out to an 8-0 lead during the first 1:26 and from the start it seemed like they were going to pull off the upset. They played good the whole first half shooting a scorching 63.6% from the three point line (14 of 22). Stevie Browning and Jon Elmore led the way in the first half. Browning had 21 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists and 1 steal in the first half. Elmore had 12 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists in the first half. The Bearcats were down by 12 at the half (50-38), they were as close at 4 points (38-34). In the first half the play of Gary Clark and Kevin Johnson kept the home team in reach. Clark was very aggressive he had 12 points, 7 rebounds, 2 assists and 1 block at the half. Johnson had 7 points on 3 of 3 shooting from the field. Kyle Washington had some good moments in the first half also with 8 points, 4 rebounds and 1 block.
The second half Cronin threw a wrinkle in by starting Tre Scott over Kyle Washington. Scott had a solid first half and really was active on the defensive end and that is something that multitalented Washington will have to pick up. The law of averages hit the Herd, but UC also went to more man defense which allowed them to drive more, but kept the Herd to only 2 three pointers. Pushing them off the line allowed some layups, but it also allowed a lot of chase down blocks by Clark and Scott. The Bearcats didn’t get their first lead until 2:49 left in the second half on a free throw by Scott. Down by 3 points after an Elmore layup, after a Herd turnover Jacob Evans calmly came down and drilled a game tying 3 with 10 seconds left. The game knotted up at 80 it went into overtime.
In overtime it was back in forth as Evans and Clark made back to back three point shots, but somehow they found themselves tied up with 27 seconds left after Jarron Cumberland shot a three point shot that got stuck in the rim. UC got a chance at the last shot, first Troy Caupain drove to the lane missed the shot ball was tipped by Clark then Evans and Caupain shot a little floater with .07 seconds left to give the Bearcats a 93-91 lead. The crowd went crazy and they secured the victory.
UC rose to 10-2 and will be off until Wednesday went they head to Temple to start AAC competition.
Evans finished with 25 points on 9 of 15 from the field (4 threes), 4 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block and 4 steals.
Clark finished with 26 points on 12 of 15 from the field (1 three), 10 rebounds, 3 assists and 2 blocks.