Alula Nuguse | Staff Reporter
The red-hot Cincinnati Bearcats faced the Memphis Tigers on Saturday night at Fifth Third Arena where a spectacular defensive play from a freshman locked up the 13th win in 14 games for the Bearcats.
The Bearcats started out hot on defense, only allowing five points in the first five minutes of the game. However, Cincinnati failed to capitalize on the great defense, scoring eight points in that span.
Cincinnati began to look like they could break away before the under eight-minute TV timeout, building upon a 9-point lead.
After a chasedown block from Cincinnati guard Jarron Cumberland Cincinnati guard Keith Williams knocked down a jumper to extend the lead to double digits.
At halftime the Bearcats led 37-32, with senior guard Justin Jenifer leading the Bearcats with eight points and junior forward Isaiah Maurice contributing 10 points for the Tigers.
During the first 10 minutes of the second half both teams proceeded to trade baskets, not allowing either team to gain momentum.
Tempers flared right before the 8-minute TV timeout.
After Cumberland was fouled, some pushing followed from Memphis guard Antwann Jones and Cumberland. Jenifer is ejected from the game for leaving the bench during the altercation.
After a foul by Memphis guard, Raynere Thornton, Cumberland fell on the floor. Thornton then stepped over him in a disrespectful manner which led to a technical being assessed to Thornton. Cumberland went 1-2 on the technical free throws and knocked down both of the personal free throws, making the score 64-56 with the Bearcats on top, 4:20 remaining.
Towards the conclusion of the game, the Bearcats still narrowly held the lead, 70-69, with Cincinnati forward Tre Scott at the free throw line with 4 seconds left. Scott nailed the first but missed the second, making it a two-point lead. However, after grabbing the rebound, Maurice attempted to make a pass, but it was stolen by freshman guard Logan Johnson. Johnson dribbled the ball out and the Bearcats won by a score of 71-69.
Cumberland shined in the second half scoring 21 points, 10 of which being from the free throw line. The Bearcats also shot a whooping 36 free throws, while the Tigers only shot 10. Cincinnati did struggle again from the 3-point line, shooting a dreadful 21 percent.