Following an impressive win over Temple yesterday, the Bearcats fell flat in a frustrating loss against top ranked Houston and were eliminated in the AAC Tournament semifinals today.
Cincinnati struggled to find an offensive rhythm in the opening minutes as the Cougars jumped out to an early advantage and opened up a double digit lead midway through the first half.
Despite losing leading scorer Marcus Sasser to a groin injury in the first half, Houston took a 38-23 lead into halftime and eventually coasted to a 69-48 win to advance to the title game.
Jamal Shead stepped up in Sasser’s absence and fueled the Cougars with 16 points and seven assists. Landers Nolley II led the Bearcats with 14 points on 3/13 shooting from the field.
Cincinnati Basketball: Bearcats fall flat against top ranked Houston in AAC Tournament semifinals
It’s nearly impossible to pull off an upset over Houston with such a poor shooting performance as David DeJulius and Jeremiah Davenport combined to shoot 1/12 from beyond the arc.
Wes Miller’s team shot an abysmal 57.1 percent from the free throw line, 25.5 percent from the field and 21.4 percent from 3-point range, while being outscored 38-12 in the paint.
There was significant improvement from last season but Cincinnati fell short of expectations again and will miss a third straight NCAA Tournament for the first time in more than a decade.
Even though the AAC Tournament came to a disappointing conclusion, the Bearcats are expected to receive an invitation to participate in the NIT, which will be announced on Sunday night.