University of Cincinnati forward Trevon Scott made a put-back layup with three seconds left to give the Bearcats a 64-63 win over Temple University Saturday evening at Fifth Third Arena.
The Bearcats improved to 20-10 overall and 13-5 in the American Athletic Conference (AAC) to keep themselves in the mix for an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament.
Temple forward J.P. Moorman II connected on a 3-pointer to give the Owls a 63-62 lead with 11 seconds remaining in the second half. With no timeouts left, UC guard Jarron Cumberland raced up the floor and put up a shot that was too strong and hit off the backboard and front of the rim. Scott was alone in front of the basket for the easy rebound and layup.
Jarron Cumberland finished with a game-high 20 points to go along with seven rebounds and seven assists.
"Jarron made big time plays," Scott said. "Big time players make big time plays, and he was making them throughout the whole game."
Seniors Scott, Jarron Cumberland, John Koz and graduate transfers Jaevin Cumberland and Chris McNeal were honored during a pregame ceremony, as Saturday was the final home game of the regular season. First-year UC head coach John Brannen inserted all five into the starting lineup.
The Bearcats struggled throughout the first half, shooting 24% from the floor and 10% from behind the arc. Temple led 9-2 at the first timeout after a 7-0 run.
Junior center Chris Vogt was called for his second foul with 11:24 left in the first half and spent nearly eight minutes on the bench.
Temple led by its largest margin of the game at halftime, 31-17.
Scott said he has started to develop a comeback mindset after enduring so many close games this season, and the deficit did not faze the team's mentality in the second half.
"I'm starting to think like, 'We down how many? Ten-plus? Ok, for real, it's all right, we're going to win,'" Scott said.
"I'd like to be playing from ahead and be playing in clear air a little bit, but we obviously don't do that," Brannen said.
Redshirt sophomore forward Mamoudou Diarra took advantage of his extended minutes with Vogt in foul trouble and provided a career-high 12 points, including a 3-pointer in the middle of UC's second half surge.
A fan-favorite, Diarra said he can sense the crowd behind him whenever the ball is in his hands.
"I definitely can feel the energy," he said. "That gives me motivation to shoot it too. I know when I make it, I'm like 'Okay, everybody is going to go crazy.' It gives us an extra boost."
"Coaches can't give you confidence," Brannen said. "Performance gives you confidence. [Diarra] is performing. He's playing with a high level of confidence and I'm very proud of him… He has a growth mindset and he wants to get better each and every day."
Scott admitted that he didn't have a strong overall performance, as he finished with five points on 2-of-10 shooting. However, he said the buzzer beater to win his final home game will be one of his best memories.
"For me to go out like that for this city, for this university, for this team and for myself — that most definitely tops everything," Scott said.
The Bearcats will begin play in the 2020 AAC Championship Friday at Dickies Arena in Fort Worth, Texas.