CINCINNATI – Led by 22 points from senior guard David DeJulius, five Bearcats scored in double figures, including 11 points from junior forward Jarrett Hensley off the bench, as the Cincinnati men's basketball team defeated Eastern Kentucky, 87-69, on Sunday at Fifth Third Arena.
Joining DeJulius and Hensley in double figures were junior forward Jeremiah Davenport (19 points), senior wing Landers Nolley II (14 points) and senior guard Mika Adams-Woods (11 points). The Bearcats dominated the glass in the game, holding a 51-35 edge on the boards. Senior forward Ody Oguama registered a career-best-matching 12 boards in just 17 minutes off the bench. UC led by as many as 23 in the first half thanks to red-hot shooting from Davenport (14 points before the break), but EKU fought back in the second half, using a full-court press and 3-point barrage to bring its deficit within 5, 57-52, on Michael Moreno's second triple in a two-minute stretch with 13:55 left in the game. UC answered the 13-2 Colonels' run with a DeJulius 3-pointer and big plays by Hensley to extend the Bearcats' lead back to double figures. A layup, free throws and block from the junior combo forward gave Cincinnati a 66-55 lead at the 10-minute mark. Eastern Kentucky cut the deficit to 6 with six minutes left, but Davenport buried his third 3-pointer of the game on the other end. The Colonels wouldn't quit, though. Cooper Robb answered back with a 3 of his own as UC led 73-67 with 5:31 left. A DeJulius jumper extended the UC lead to 75-67 with four minutes left, and a Viktor Lakhin dunk pushed the advantage to 10. Lakhin's behind-the-back pass to DeJulius for a layup in the closing seconds made the score to 87-69 and provided an exclamation point on the win. The Bearcats held a 29-16 advantage on the boards in the first half, scoring 19 second-chance points en route to a 49-34 lead at the break. Cincinnati jumped out to a 8-0 lead two minutes into the game as EKU missed its first four shots and Davenport made a putback and buried a 3-pointer. After Eastern Kentucky cut its deficit to 1, 8-7, a long DeJulius 2-pointer sparked a 15-1 Bearcats' run. Nolley made back-to-back buckets, drilling a trey and a turnaround jumper, while Hensley added a putback and DeJulius buried a triple from the top of the key following another offensive rebound as UC held a commanding 22-8 lead at 12:04 on the strength of 11 second-chance points. The Bearcats continued to use rebounding and timely 3-pointers to control the first half. UC took a 36-15 lead at 6:44 on a 9-0 run thanks to three consecutive treys from DeJulius, Davenport and Adams-Woods. UC led by as many as 23 in the first half, 38-15, six minutes before the intermission. EKU made a run on the end of the half, however, but the Bearcats held a 15-point lead at halftime. FROM WES MILLER “It's really good to see us close a game out. Again, something I think we can build on and it's good to see the team dig in. There were some frustrating moments there. At the end of the first half and the second half. You have to keep trying to become a team early in the year and again they've had a great preseason. They've worked really hard, but it's different when the lights come on, and there’s people in the stands, that frustration comes out a little bit. You don't play as consistently as you'd like. And the positive thing I'll say is you just got to find a way and I thought they kind of kept trying to dig it out and find a way and it was good to see us break through there at the end, I think that was good for our team." UP NEXT Cincinnati travels to Northern Kentucky on Wednesday night for its first road game of the season a 7 p.m. (ESPN+).