Second half comeback powers UH past Cincinnati in AAC Tournament quarterfinals
FORT WORTH — A dominant second-half performance propelled top-seeded Houston in the American Athletic Conference Championships quarterfinal with a 69-56 victory against 8-seed Cincinnati.
Cincinnati opened the game on a 10-4 run including two 3-pointers by guard Jeremiah Davenport.
After sophomore guard Jamal Shead opened the scoring for UH, the Cougars went 0-for-5 from the field and picked up five team fouls with 15:12 left in the first half.
The Bearcats showed up with intensity on the defensive side of the ball, forcing four UH turnovers without giving any up.
The Cougars cleaned up offensively and began finding the basket to cut the deficit to 15-10 with 11:35 remaining in the half.
Down by seven, the Cougars hopped on a 7-0 run to even the score at 25-25 with 3:44 left in the first half.
Cincinnati responded with a 7-2 to close out the half and lead 32-27 heading into the locker room.
Shead led the Cougars with eight points, four rebounds and three assists while Davenport had eight for the Bearcats at the break.
The Cougars were held scoreless for the last 3:15 of the first half despite forcing the Bearcats into a five-minute scoring drought before their run to regain the lead.
Both teams indulged in an active start to the second half, as Cincinnati opened up with a quick 5-0 run before UH leveled the score to trail 39-34 with 16:06 left in the period.
UH regained its first lead of the game at 40-39 in the middle of a 12-0 run that held Cincinnati scoreless in the previous seven minutes of play.
UH extended its lead to six throughout the next few possessions, but Cincinnati continued to fight and kept the score close at 50-47.
The Cougars rode a 6-0 run while holding Cincinnati scoreless for three minutes to take its first double-digit lead of the game at 60-49 with 4:33 left in the game.
Cincinnati struggled to find its shooting touch in the final five minutes of the game as UH closed out the Bearcats for its fourth-straight conference tournament-game victory.
Graduate forward Fabian White Jr. led the Cougars in scoring with 18 points and six rebounds while Shead posted 15 points.
The Cougars now advance to the AAC Tournament semifinal and will play the winner of the later game 4-seed Temple and 5-seed Tulane.