Visiting Cincinnati pulled off an upset in its first Big 12 game, stunning No. 12 BYU 71-60 at the Marriott Center on Saturday night.
BYU led by as many as 10 points in both halves, but the Bearcats (1-0, 12-2) went on a 10-0 run midway through the second half to build a 57-51 lead and hand the Cougars (0-1, 12-2) their first loss Theirs since December 16th.
Cincinnati overcame BYU's 13 3-pointers – on 46 attempts – by going 19 of 24 from the free throw line. The Cougars, who shot fewer free throws than any team in the country, were just 5 of 10 from the charity stripe.
Attendance for BYU's Big 12 opener was announced at 16,879.
Here are 3 keys to Cincinnati's road victory:
• BYU's Trevin Knell hit nine 3-pointers, tied for second most in school history, but in the second half everyone in the blue and white went cold while the Bearcats were hot after a miserable first half.
After Richie Saunders punted and was fouled, the Cougars had nine straight empty possessions and Cincinnati went on a 10-0 run to take control.
In a battle between the top two rebounding teams in the country, Cincinnati had 44 caroms, compared to 37 for BYU.
• Down the stretch, BYU didn't have a man to turn to to stop the bleeding and couldn't regain the lead after leading by as many as 10 points early in the second half. Jackson Robinson, BYU's leading scorer, was held to five points on 2-of-7 shooting.
Of BYU's 30 shot attempts in the first half, 22 were from 3-point range and only eight were from inside the arc. BYU had no interior presence, while former Utah Valley star Azeez Bandaogo and company dominated the paint for Cincinnati.
• The Cougars came out strong and led by as many as 10 points in the first half because Cincinnati (28%) was colder and more turnover-prone (13 in the first half).
The Bearcats posted droughts of nearly seven and five minutes in the first half before heating up a bit to trail just 31-24 at the break.
The bottom line is that when the Cougars had a chance to put distance between themselves and the visitors in the first half and early in the second half, they couldn't do so.
Viktor Lakhin led the Bearcats with 17 points.
“Beer enthusiast. Subtly charming alcohol junkie. Wannabe internet buff. Typical pop culture lover.”