PDF Version: CincyvsTUFeb1
University of Tulsa basketball coach Frank Haith knew what to expect when No. 11 ranked Cincinnati came to the Reynolds Center. Last season, the Bearcats pushed Tulsa to an overtime game in which Tulsa ended up winning 70-68. In this head to head match up, some of the same characteristics that the previous match up had were prevalent.
Coming into this game, this season the Bearcats were boasting a 20-9 season record and a stout 9-0 in American Athletic Conference play. This season, senior point guard Troy Caupain is leading the way for Cincinnati.
Caupain is leading the team in assists and minutes this season, and last season when these two teams met, Caupain had 15 points, nine rebounds, and made the layup that sent the game to overtime.
Tulsa came out of the gate hot, scoring nine unmatched points until Cincinnati got their legs underneath them mid- way through the first half.
The big play for TU from the first half was T.K. Edogi’s huge three point play in which he was fouled as he dunked on Cincinnati’s Kyle Washing- ton. Tulsa kept the game close throughout the first half and entered the locker room at half- time all tied with the Bearcats.
Cincinnati was getting out- rebounded the entire game and finished with 28 boards to TU’s 38. But with less than two minutes left in the second half, the Bearcats forward Kyle Washington grabbed one of his two offensive rebounds and added a put back, bringing Cincinnati within two points and the score to 52-50 in favor of TU.
After two missed free throws by Tulsa forward Junior Etou and a failed 1 and 1 conversion by guard Sterling Taplin, Cincinnati’s senior leader Caupain went into closing mode. With 43 seconds left, Caupain drove the ball to the basket; layed the ball up, was fouled, and with the help of a friendly bounce off the rim, made the basket.
Caupain converted his free throw to tie the game at 55 and gave Tulsa the ball back with a chance to win the game.
Instead, Tulsa had different plans. Tulsa guard Pat Birt lost control of the ball as he went to pass the ball into the post. Bearcat guard Tre Scott who played a total of six minutes in the whole game, came up with his one and only steal of the game, which turned out to be the biggest defensive play of the game.
In the same possession, Scott handed the ball off to Caupain and let the senior do his thing. Caupain squared up with Tulsa guard Sterling Taplin and canned a long jumper from the top of the key to give Cincinnati a 57-55 lead and eventually the win on the evening.
On TU’s last possession, Taplin stumbled down the court and lost possession of the ball as time expired.
So far this season, Cincinnati is continuing its dominance of the AAC. They look like the favorite in the conference and a solid bet to move on to a later round in the NCAA tournament. Tulsa is 12-11 on the year and is struggling this season after having marginal success last year.
The two teams meet again on Feb. 18 at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati.