top of page


Lahkin, Dejulius, Nolley Lead Cats To Win

By Ryan Roberts

Coming in to Saturday's match up with Central Florida, the Bearcats had been pretty consistent. Beat the teams you're supposed to. (We won't bring up NKU) But put up a great fight against teams they aren't favored against and come up just short. Houston was a great example of this last Saturday. The 26 point win over a struggling Tulsa team was a great momentum booster heading in to the latter part of the season and a key stretch against teams that will ultimately decide their tournament hopes.

Saturday's game started in similar fashion to the Tulsa start. Bearcats jumped out to a quick 5-0 start but followed that with a scoring drought that lasted almost 3 minutes before a Landers Nolley 3 put the Bearcats back out front after UCF tied the game at 5. With 13:33 remaining, the Bearcats were 3 for 9 from the field with 4 turnovers. Eight fast break points with 6 coming off UCF turnovers were the key to the Bearcats holding an early lead, despite the offensive struggles.

UC would eventually wake up offensively and answer with a 10-0 run over an almost 4 minute span capped off by a David Dejulius 3 to give the Cats a 20-12 lead with 7:32 remaining in the first half. While the offense was struggling, the Bearcats defensive pressure never took a hit as they held UCF scoreless for 4:17 and forced 4 turnovers after UCF had taken a short lived 12-10 lead.

Consistency has been a problem for Wes Miller's team. A 14-0 run to give the Bearcats a 24-12 lead was followed by a scoring drought that lasted over 3 minutes and allowed UCF to cut the lead to 24-17 with 3:03 remaining in the first half. Landers Nolley ended the drought with a jumper in the lane and the Bearcats closed the half scoring 7 of the next 10 points to take a 31-20 halftime lead.

15 UCF turnovers and 18 Bearcats points off turnovers contributed heavily to the halftime margin. Landers Nolley led UC with 10 points at the half, while freshman Taylor Hendricks and CJ Kelly were leading the way for UCF with 8 points, each.

After being held scoreless in the first half, UCF guard CJ Johnson started the second half scoring all 8 UCF points heading in to the under 16 media timeout. Despite the hot start for Johnson, UC maintained a 39-28 lead as Vik Lahkin got going inside with 6 points in the first 4 minutes.

While both teams started the second half hot, the next 4:51 would be a different script. Cincinnati missed their next 6 shots with UCF adding 6 turnovers to their total during the same stretch to go along with a scoring drought that spanned over 3 minutes. Vik Lahkin completed a 3 point play to halt the FG drought and extend Cincinnati's lead to 46-31 with 11:05 left in the game. Still, the Bearcats had gone 2 for 11 after making 4 of their first 6 shots to start the second half.

The offensive struggles would eventually catch up to UC as UCF came out of the under 12 media timeout and outscored the Bearcats 12-2 over a 2 minute 51 second stretch to cut CIncinnati's 15 point lead to 6 at 51-45 at the 7:38 mark of the second half. Running UCF off the 3 point line was a major key for UC defensively and the Knights were able to knock down 5 of 9 from beyond the arc to cut in to the Bearcats lead.

Taylor Hendricks scored 8 straight to cut UC's lead to 56-51 with 4:47 remaining but back to back trips with baskets by Nolley and Lahkin pushed UC's lead back to 7, 60-53 with 2:52 left on the clock. Two made free throws by Hendricks, a CJ Kelly 3 pointer, and second chance layup by PJ Edwards over the next 47 seconds had erased Cincinnati's 15 point lead and we were suddenly tied with 1:51 left.

Viktor Lahkin capitalized on an and one at the other end to give the Bearcats a 63-60 lead but UCF came right back at the other end with an easy layup to cut the deficit to 1 with 1:18 remaining. Even with 21 turnovers, UCF was in position to steal a road win in an important match up that will go a long way in deciding conference tournament seeding.

David Dejulius answered with a step back 3 with the shot clock winding down to give the Bearcats a 4 point lead, CJ Kelly missed three straight free throws at the other end, and Rob Phinisee scored his first two points of the game to extend Cincinnati's lead to 68-62 with 34 seconds left.

When all of the drama had settled, Cincinnati walked off the court with a hard fought 73-64 win, capped off by a Landers Nolley dunk and two Mika Adams-Woods free throws.

Cincinnati was led by Viktor Lahkin with 20 points, 8 rebounds. David Dejulius finished with 19 points, 8 assists and has now scored 1,002 points during his Bearcat career. Landers Nolley again finished in double figures with 17 points.

UCF was led by Taylor Hendricks' 21 points, 8 rebounds. CJ Kelly scored 17 points and DJ Johnson finished with 12 points, all in the second half.

Key Stats:

- Cincinnati forced 24 UCF turnovers and converted those in to 26 points

- Bearcats scored 36 points in the paint and had 14 fast break points

- 16 assists on 27 made baskets for UC

- 16 steals for Cincinnati defensively

- UCF won the rebounding battle, 36-2

With the win, Cincinnati improves to 16-8 (7-4 AAC), while UCF falls to 13-9 (4-6 AAC).

Up Next: UC travels to New Orleans to take on Tulane, as they look to sweep the season series between the two.

bottom of page