Cincinnati Basketball: Second half struggles doom Bearcats at Northern Kentucky

Cincinnati Bearcats guard Rob Phinisee drives to the basket against Northern Kentucky Norse. The Enquirer.
Cincinnati Bearcats guard Rob Phinisee drives to the basket against Northern Kentucky Norse. The Enquirer. /
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In the first road game this year, the Bearcats offense struggled to score with just 11 points in the entire second half and eventually fell to Northern Kentucky 64-51 on Wednesday night at Truist Arena.

Cincinnati went down 6-0 in the first couple minutes and trailed 40-36 at halftime after using a 9-0 run to stay within striking distance. Viktor Lakhin scored a team-high eight points in the first half.

Kalu Ezikpe gave the Bearcats a 36-34 lead late in the first half but the offense was nonexistent after that as Northern Kentucky pulled away for a win, while Cincinnati failed to create quality shots.

Wes Miller’s team started the second half with five straight missed shots as Northern Kentucky scored nine points unanswered, led by star guard Marques Warrick and sophomore sharpshooter Sam Vinson.

Cincinnati Basketball: Second half struggles doom Bearcats at Northern Kentucky

Lakhin scored nine points and seven rebounds, while David DeJulius finished with nine points in the loss. Jeremiah Davenport and Landers Nolley II combined for 15 points on just 5/20 shooting from the field.

Even though Northern Kentucky was the preseason favorite to win the Horizon League, it’s a concerning loss for Cincinnati as the offense struggled so much with the Maui Invitational coming up next week.

The Bearcats face 14th ranked Arizona on Monday night in the Maui Invitational opening round. Miller reacted to the loss against Northern Kentucky in a press conference tonight per Cincinnati Athletics.

"“If you score 11 points in a half, it’s gonna be hard to win a game in college basketball. I told the guys in the locker room that the first thing you do in the locker room is look in the mirror as a coach and see what did I not to do to prepare us for the match zone. We saw it in the first half and put 40 points up. I was proud of that and how we dug back in after they hit some tough shots early. They exploited our press a bit. I was happy with how we handled being down early on the road but we had 11 points in the second half and nine turnovers. It was still a 7-point game with five minutes left.”"

Next. Cincinnati Basketball: Viktor Lakhin’s double-double leads Bearcats over Cleveland State. dark