American Athletic Conference, East Carolina vs Cinci

Photos by Dominic Ceraldi

No. 8 Cincinnati used a late run to pull away from No. 9 East Carolina, 74-63, in the first game of the 2022 Air Force Reserve American Athletic Conference Men’s Basketball Championship Thursday, March 10 at Dickies Arena.

With the win, the Bearcats (18-14) advance to play No. 1 Houston in the quarterfinals on Friday, March 11 at 1 p.m. ET/Noon CT on ESPN2.

In a game that featured 16 lead changes and was tied 14 times, Cincinnati’s David DeJulius hit a long two to give the Bearcats a 66-63 lead with 1:49 left after the Bearcats had grabbed two offensive rebounds to extend the possession. After that, East Carolina missed its last five shots and Cincinnati made eight free throws to close out the game.

One of the differences was bench scoring, in which Cincinnati led, 26-6.

DeJulius finished with 22 points for the Bearcats, while Jeremiah Davenport (11 points) and Mike Saunders Jr (10) also reached double-figure scoring.Tristen Newton tallied a game-high 26 points for the Pirates, which is tied for the most by an ECU player in The American’s Championship (Kentrell Barkley vs. Temple, March 9, 2017). Vance Jackson recorded a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds.

East Carolina shot 60 percent from the field in the first half (15-25) and took a 41-40 lead into the break on a Vance Jackson 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining.