Cumberland, Scott will give No. 21 Houston challenges in Cincinnati
The No. 21 Cougars go into Cincinnati winners of five-straight games, and 11 of the last 12, to take on the 13-7 Bearcats on Saturday afternoon at the Fifth Third Arena.
Houston is 17-4 on the season and 7-1 in conference play, which is a half-game ahead of Tulsa for the top spot in The American.
Senior center Chirs Harris Jr. is coming off his second double-double of the campaign. He posted 10 points, 10 rebounds and added four blocks against East Carolina.
Redshirt freshman Caleb Mills had solidified his spot as the top scorer on the team with an 18-point performance against the Pirates.
Mills leads the Cougars with 13.1 points per game. Harris leads the team with 2.2 blocks per contest.
Houston has the No. 5 defense in the conference against 3-point shooting, holding opponents to only 30.8 percent from behind the arc.
The Bearcats enter Saturday’s game winners of three straight and with a 6-2 conference record, only one game behind the Cougars.
Cincinnati is 4-0 at home against AAC opponents, which includes a 65-43 victory over SMU in its latest home game.
Against SMU, senior guard Jarron Cumberland led all players with 28 points on 9-13 shooting and tied with senior forward Tre Scott for game-high honors with nine rebounds.
“The thing they did that really changed everything for them was move Jarron Cumberland to point guard,” Sampson said. “I think it brings out the best on Jarron. I just love his basketball IQ, his creativity. He’s a great passer. Cumberland is just a monster.”
Cumberland leads the Bearcats with 14.9 points and 4.1 assists. Scott leads the team with 9.2 rebounds and 1.6 steals.
The history between the two teams
The Bearcats lead the all-time series 32-5, including a 16-1 advantage in Cincinnati, but the Cougars won the last meeting at the Fifth Third Arena in March of 2019.
Saturday’s game will be the first of two regular-season meetings against the Bearcats in 2019-20.
The game will be shown on ESPN2 and can be heard on KPRC 950 at 5 p.m. CST.