Cincinnati remains undefeated, but Oklahoma made the Bearcats work for a 66-56 All-College win Saturday night at Oklahoma City Arena.
On a night senior leader Cade Davis was 1-of-10 from the field, and OU shot 33.3 percent, you would expect a blowout loss. The Sooners, though, stayed within striking range much of the game in front of an announced doubleheader crowd of 10,625.
â€œHanging around with a team that's undefeated when we're not making any shots at all, that shows other aspects of our game are getting better,â€ Davis said. â€œI don't think we'll have another game this year we shoot this bad.â€
Off to its best start in six years, Cincinnati (10-0) trailed only once early in the game, but the Bearcats had to withstand a couple of OU second-half runs. UC drained a dozen free throws the final five minutes to seal the win.
â€œWhenever you win by 10 and don't play particularly well you have to be happy,â€ said Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin. â€œBut give Oklahoma some credit for that. I thought their defense was pretty good. ... That's as well as we've been defended in a while.â€
Getting good shots was a challenge against a suffocating Cincinnati defense that contested nearly every pass. The encouraging sign for the Sooners (5-6) was their recent trend of playing good defense kept the game competitive.
During a five-game losing streak, OU's opponents shot over 50 percent. But the past three games, the Sooners' defense has been much improved.
The difference was a much deeper Cincinnati roster outscored the Sooners 16-3 in bench points and 22-15 on points off turnovers.
â€œWe try to really pressure defensively,â€ Cronin said. â€œThey did a good job. They only turned it over 13 times. And our bench was a big factor in the game.â€
Saturday's box score