EditorsNote: Edit 2: Syntax fixes in lead
Cane Broome’s layup with 27 seconds left proved to be the game-winning basket, giving No. 24 Cincinnati a 66-63 victory over sixth-seeded Wichita State in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament Saturday night.
The second-seeded Bearcats (27-6) will play in their third consecutive AAC conference title game Sunday against top-seeded Houston.
The Bearcats used a 19-4 run to start the second half to turn a halftime deficit into a 12-point lead. The Bearcats opened their largest lead, 53-40, with 9:33 to play.
The Shockers (19-14), however, used a 22-9 run to tie the game at 62 with about three minutes to play.
Wichita State’s leading scorer, Markis McDuffie, missed a driving layup in the last five seconds that would have tied the game.
McDuffie led all scorers with 18 points.
Nysier Brooks scored 13 points and had nine rebounds for the Bearcats, who defeated the Shockers for the third time this season.
Jarron Cumberland struggled to score 11 for Cincinnati. The AAC player of the year shot just 3-for-16 from the floor and turned the ball over five times. He also tallied six rebounds and four assists.
The Shockers closed out the first half on a 15-7 run to take a 32-29 lead into halftime.
McDuffie scored Wichita State’s first five points and went 8-for-8 from the free throw line to pace the team with 12 points in the half. The Shockers made 13 of 14 free throws for the half, and 17 of 20 for the game.
The Bearcats trailed despite a plus-nine advantage on the boards (25-16) and nine second-chance points. However, Cincy went 0-for-7 from the free throw line for the half and 10 of 21 for the game.
Tre Scott and Brooks led the Bearcats with eight points each. Brooks had eight points and five rebounds in the first eight minutes but was scoreless the rest of the way.
Scott’s layup with 7:14 before halftime gave Cincinnati its biggest lead at 24-17. But the Bearcats went scoreless for nearly five minutes, fueling Wichita State’s 8-0 run to take the lead.
Cumberland scored just four points on 2 of 7 shooting in the half. He had three assists but also all three of the team’s turnovers.
—Field Level Media