Houston loses championship rematch with Cincinnati
After defeating Cincinnati twice during the regular season, Houston lost 69-57 in the third matchup of the season at the American Athletic Conference Tournament Championship in Memphis on Sunday.
The Bearcats dominated the Cougars in most categories and kept the team to just 31 percent shooting from the field.
The game was a rematch of the 2018 AAC Tournament title game, when No. 3 Houston lost 55-56 to No. 1 Cincinnati.
Head coach Kelvin Sampson was not too worried about the loss after the game and said he was focused on learning and moving forward.
“I am way more excited about next week than I am disappointed with today,” Sampson said.
Houston found itself in an unfamiliar spot early. The team was not making shots and was getting outrebounded by Cincinnati in the early minutes.
Senior Breaon Brady picked up two fouls, including a flagrant technical foul, just 16 minutes into the game, so the Cougars had to go to its bench of big men early.
Houston had no answer for Cincinnati junior Jarron Cumberland, who had already done well against Houston in the earlier games this season, scoring 27 and 20 in the previous matches.
The Bearcats had a pair of seven-point leads in the first half, but the Cougars battled back both times.
Once Cincinnati got the next seven-point lead in the second half, they did not let go and ran away with the game.
The crowd was mostly Cincinnati fans, and it powered the team forward to the win.
Cumberland finished the game with 33 points and was 11-for-24 while senior Corey Davis Jr. finished with 12 on 3-for-13 shooting
Both teams are locks for the NCAA Tournament, but the loss could be the difference in what seed each team receives.