CINCINNATI — In a game the Bearcats had to have, David DeJulius got some much-needed support.
Dan Skillings Jr. had a season-high 15 points while Landers Nolley II scored nine of his 20 in overtime to lead UC to an 88-83 win over Temple at Fifth Third Arena.
That’s not to say DeJulius – with 20 points, seven assists and just one turnover in an exhausting 43 minutes – wasn’t the most important player on the court. He was – again.
The star, who hit the game-winner at the buzzer against Central Florida on Sunday, made an acrobatic leaner in the lane as the shot clock expired with 5:04 remaining as Temple was making a bid to stay close.
— Cincinnati Men’s Hoops (@GoBearcatsMBB) February 23, 2023
He appeared to knock the ball cleanly out of Damian Dunn’s hands on a fast break 45 seconds later and the crowded erupted in boos when a foul was called. The replay on the video board only confirmed the case DeJulius and the Bearcats were pleading.
“Winner, David DeJulius. Pretty simple,” UC coach Wes Miller told me. “Winner. And just watch what he’s done all year. How he’s handled all the difficult positions that we’ve been in as a team, which is part of basketball I’m not complaining but he’s had high expectations for this team and for himself.”
DeJulius continues to deliver at a high level and be the unquestioned leader of this Bearcats team that still has dreams of dancing in March. He is averaging 14.6 points, 5.2 assists and just 1.8 turnovers a game while playing over 32 minutes a game. When Viktor Lakhin and Rob Phinisee went down, it was DeJulius who picked up the slack.
“There’s been some things that have happened that have been frustrating for him. You know, losing John Newman, Vic and Rob, guys that he knew he was going to be able to rely on. Older experienced guys that were going to help our team be good and every time that things have happened, he just responds and he just does whatever he’s got to do to help our team win.”
The Bearcats were on their way to victory when Ody Oguama hit two free throws with 2:38 left for a 75-68 lead. But Temple scored the next seven points, including a game-tying three from Zach Hicks with 19.6 seconds left. The Bearcats called timeout but settled for a long three from Landers Nolley that went off the back iron to send the game to overtime.
Nolley more than atoned in overtime, hitting Cincinnati’s first three baskets in the extra session.
Landers Nolley II had a little run-in with Damian Dunn before OT. His 9 points in OT that much sweeter. pic.twitter.com/zgUgTo6FGQ
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) February 23, 2023
The win improves the Bearcats to 19-10 and 10-6 in the American Athletic Conference with games remaining at Memphis this Sunday and home against SMU on March 5.
Dunn, Temple’s leading scorer all season, showed why with 34 points in 42 minutes. Three Temple starters played 42 minutes and another played 43.
UC did major damage at the free throw line, converting their first 19 attempts before Viktor Lakhin missed with 7:03 remaining in the second half.
The Bearcats stayed in the game early with sharpshooting from long range. Their first three field goals and five of their first six were from beyond the arc.
Temple was pounding UC inside, dominating the glass and holding the Bearcats to one shot a trip.
Skillings gave the Bearcats a monumental lift in the first half. He converted 4-of-5 from the field, including 2-of-3 from distance for a season-best 10 first-half points.
Bearcats HC Wes Miller looks on bright side of a nailbiter win over Temple. Starts with resiliency of Landers Nolley II in OT. pic.twitter.com/AhIwfZPK8M
— Mike Petraglia (@Trags) February 23, 2023
The Bearcats appeared ready to pull away when they built a 55-46 lead on Skillings’ three with 13:17 left. Temple scored the next six to cut the lead to 55-52. But a mental error cost them dearly.
Dunn missed a three and Cincinnati rebounded but was called out of bounds, with the ball turning over to Temple. But a frustrated Hysier Miller slammed the ball on the court and was called for a technical. DeJulius made a pair of free throws to restore the lead to five, 57-52, with 11:37 left.
DeJulius step back three with 7:37 left hit nothing but the bottom of the net and put UC up, 68-65, after Dunn’s three just seconds earlier tied the game.
“Leading our team I’m so proud of David DeJulius, and it ain’t over yet so I don’t want to do the kumbaya thing like, you got to come back again and do it tomorrow,” Miller added. “But he will, he’s proven it. He’s a Bearcat. I’m just so thrilled with not just how he’s played but who he’s been for our program. He’s helping our program take huge steps forward.”
Before the game, Landers Nolley II was honored with a plaque by coach Wes Miller for reaching the 1,500-point plateau in his career. Kalu Ezikpe and Jeremiah Davenport were similarly recognized with plaques for scoring 1,000 points in their careers.