The University of Cincinnati (UC) men's basketball has gotten off to a winning start for the 2020-21 season, putting together a late push against Lipscomb University on Wednesday night with a final score of 67-55.
It's the latest in a string of Cincinnati-related comeback victories, with the football program putting one together against the University of Central Florida in late November and the women's basketball program overcoming their inaugural matchup against Norther Kentucky University in overtime.
Sophomore guard Mika Adams-Woods and senior center Chris Vogt led the heroic charges for the Bearcats in the latter end of the second half, as the team put together a 17-2 run to respond to the Bison's 14-5 run to open up the second half.
Vogt dominated late in the game, securing several offensive rebounds to prolong possession and providing second chances, putting the ball in the net himself on a handful of occasions. Most notably, to give the Bearcats their lead with a put-back slam.
Keeping the Bearcats afloat in the first half, helped along by graduate student Rapolas Ivanauskas, a late charge capitalized Adams-Woods' efforts up the court with only four seconds left to lay in a tying score at half, which ended 29-29.
Adams-Woods proceeded to assist Vogt in maintaining the lead in the second half, draining one of the Bearcat's limited amount of three-pointers to extend a lead they would never end up choking.
Vogt concluded his night with 12 points on 6-7 shooting, with seven rebounds, five on the offensive side of the court, and three blocks. Adams-Woods finished with a team-high 16 points on 6-14 shooting, with three rebounds and two assists.
That porous shooting was a large part of how the Bearcats found themselves trailing for much of the game. Going 0-10 from deep in the first half and finishing a terrible 4-22, the lack of buckets saw head coach John Brannen yelling from the bench more than a few times.
The saving grace for Cincinnati was their reputed defense. While Lipscomb took advantage of many of their shooting opportunities, especially in the first half, their carelessness with the ball proved detrimental as the Bearcats took advantage – the Bison's 19 turnovers fittingly attributed to 19 of the Bearcats points.
Cincinnati also out-rebounded Lipscomb, especially on the offensive side, as the Bearcats nabbed 10 more offensive rebounds than their opposition, which gave them 11 points off of second chances. All in all, 30 of the Bearcat's 67 points were scored via turnovers or second chances.
Before the start of the season, Brannen's remarks of this being a "transitional year" for Cincinnati proved to be quite apparent on the court of Fifth Third Arena. Each of the team's 11 scholarship players saw action within the first half alone, partly due to some foul trouble for senior guard Keith Williams early in the game.
Cincinnati next hosts Xavier University for the annual Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout on Dec. 6 at 3 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena. The game will be aired on ESPN.