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WVU Squanders 16-Point Second Half Lead in 90-85 Loss to Cincinnati



Big 12 Tournament

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — WVU Basketball (9-22, 4-14 Big 12) took on the Cincinnati Bearcats (18-13, 7-11 Big 12) in hopes of avoiding their worst season in school history by losses and win percentage. But the Mountaineers would lose in a thriller 90-85 after squandering a 16-point lead with just 11:45 remaining in the game.

With the score at 87-85 in favor of Cincinnati, with 20 seconds left and four ticks left on the shot clock, Day Day Thomas drained a three that all but sealed the game to send the Mountaineers home packing on day one of the tournament.

Things kicked off with a sour taste in the Mountaineers mouths as the Bearcats launched an early 8-0 run to take a 10-3 lead, but thanks to some poor shooting from beyond the arc from the Bearcats the Mountaineers were able to hang long enough to remain within striking distance. Cincinnati shot 6-of-19 from three-point range in the first half, while the Mountaineers shot 6-of-10.

The first half was characterized by a late surge from the Mountaineers, which saw them go from down 16-9 to up 38-36 at the half. RaeQuan Battle and Quinn Slazinski were the top performers for the Mountaineers in the half, as they combined for 27 of West Virginia’s 38 points on 8-of-14 shooting.

Battle would finish the game with 14 points on 6-of-12 shooting, while Slazinski would finish with 15 points on 4-of-8 shooting.

Interim Head Coach Josh Eilert’s squad picked up right where they left off, outscoring the Bearcats 26-12 to begin the half and race out to a commanding 16-point lead. The Bearcats answered however with a 14-2 run characterized by a dunk on Josiah Harris from Dan Skillings Jr and a questionable technical foul called on Jesse Edwards for making contact with Aziz Bandaogo.

Simas Lukosius turned it up a notch for the Bearcats, hitting 7-of-10 from three with the majority of those buckets coming in the second half, he finished with 31 points.

A big aspect of the game was the abundance of technical fouls on the Mountaineers, as they had three called on them for various reasons and words in a four minute span. The disparity between points in the paint in both matchups between the team was a telling aspect, as the Bearcats came in having outscored the Mountaineers 48-14 in the paint just last game. In comparison, the Mountaineers outscored them 34-18 in the paint in this matchup, a complete flip.

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