Jarron Cumberland scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half as eighth-ranked Cincinnati rallied for a 70-60 victory over Memphis on Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference Tournament on Saturday in Orlando, Fla.
The top-seeded Bearcats (29-4) advanced to the championship game and will play Houston, which beat Wichita State 77-74. Cincinnati will get a chance to win its first conference tournament since winning the Conference USA crown in 2004.
The Bearcats recorded their latest win by dominating the second half after trailing by double digits at halftime. Cincinnati outscored fifth-seeded Memphis 41-18 after halftime.
Gary Clark added 17 points and 12 rebounds for his 12th double-double of the season while Kyle Washington contributed 11 points for the Bearcats, who shot 40.7 percent but committed only three turnovers.
Freshman Jamal Johnson led Memphis (21-13) with 17 points but went scoreless in the second half. The Tigers shot 5 of 27 (18.5 percent) in the second half and made one not basket in the final 7:17.
Kyvon Davenport added 12 points and 11 rebounds as Memphis shot 35.2 percent overall. Kareem Brewton Jr., who hit the game-winning 3-pointer over Tulsa on Friday, was held to eight on 3 of 11 shooting.
Johnson scored 17 points as Memphis held a 42-29 lead by halftime. He hit four 3-pointers and was 5 of 5 from the field as Memphis shot 51.9 percent and made 7 of 12 3-pointers.
Johnson scored his final points of the half by hitting a layup with 13 seconds left and Brewton finished off the stellar half by converting a layup at the buzzer.
Cincinnati stormed back by scoring the first 11 points of the second half, getting within 42-40 on a free throw by Cumberland with 16:19 left. Brewton’s layup with 15:31 left ended the drought for Memphis but Cincinnati’s run continued with a dunk by Jacob Evans with 14:35 remaining and a 3-point play by Washington to give the Bearcats their first lead at 45-44 with 13:36 left.
Cincinnati extended its lead to 63-56 on a breakaway dunk by Evans with 4:46 left following a turnover by Johnson. The Bearcats gradually finished it off, taking a 65-57 lead on two free throws by Washington with 3:09 remaining before finishing it off.
—Field Level Media