Cincinnati’s offense explodes in second half against Memphis to advance to AAC Championship

Written by Austin Fackler

Cincinnati’s Gary Clark (No. 11) led the Bearcats with 17 points in their semi-final matchup against Memphis in the 2018 AAC Men’s Basketball Tournament.
ORLANDO, Fla. – Semifinal action began between the Cincinnati Bearcats and the Memphis Tigers tipped off in the afternoon Saturday. The Tigers were coming off of a buzzer beater win and were looking to keep that magic alive against the top-seeded Bearcats.

The Tigers started hot going on a 9-2 run to set the tone for the game, it wasn’t long until the top seeded Bearcats found their rhythm scoring and after falling behind by 9 with 7 minutes to play in the first half they would hit back to back 3’s to draw within three. The Tigers would halt that run however by scoring 7 straight points of their own to draw the lead to 10 30-20 with 4 minutes to play.

The Tigers continued to play well shooting 51% percent from the field and 58% from three hitting 7 of their 12 attempts. This helped them grow their lead to 13 at halftime with the score at 42-29.

The Tigers were led by Jamal Johnson who finished the first half with 17 points shooting a perfect 5-5 from the field including 4 three pointers.

For Cincinnati it was Gary Clark leading the way with 9 points.

Cincinnati came storming out of the gates scoring 10 straight points to cut the Memphis lead to just 3 two minutes into the second half. The run wouldn’t stop there though as a pair of free throws from the Bearcats brought within two with 16 minutes to play in the second half. The Bearcats would take the lead with 13 minutes to play off of an and one conversion from Kyle Washington gave the Bearcats a 45-44 lead.

The second half was all Cincinnati as they turned up the intensity on offense and defense only allowing Memphis to score 10 points while scoring 30 of their own, which gave them a 59-52 lead.

The Tigers wouldn’t go away quietly keeping the game close down the stretch not allowing Cincinnati’s lead to grow more than 10 staying within striking range. The Bearcats defense was too much for Memphis to overcome through the final minutes however as Cincinnati would come away with the 70-60 victory to advance to the AAC Championship.

Cincinnati was led by Gary Clark who finished the game with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Memphis was led by Jamal Johnson who finished with 17 points, with none coming in the second half.

Cincinnati now advances to the AAC Mens basketball Championship game on Sunday, where they will face the winner of Wichita State and Houston.

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