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Three Man Weave: Bearcats Outlast Georgia 73-68

Cincinnati is 2-0 for the first time since the 2017-18 season.

CINCINNATI — So far, so good in the opening stretch under Bearcats men's basketball head coach Wes Miller. Cincinnati held off a hungry Georgia Bulldogs squad 73-68 on Saturday night to start 2-0 for the first time since 2017-18.

Hayden Koval cashed in his first three-pointer as a Bearcat with just over two minutes to play, and Jeremiah Davenport drove the dagger home with a layup one possession later to seal the victory.

The 2-0 start is flashing all of the scintillating elements this mix of transfers and instilled veterans can have. Here is our Three Man Weave on the win over Georgia.

Energy Over Everything

The Bearcats struggled in many respects throughout this game, but never lacked energy. They shot just 40% from the field and still haven't found luck with the three-point shot through two games.

Going 4-for-20 from deep doesn't hurt quite so bad when the rest of the team rallies to the ball while executing box-outs. Cincinnati outrebounded Georgia 17-5 on the offensive glass.

The team effort on the boards, mixed with a rowdy crowd, and a 13-7 turnover advantage, proved to be massive. Cincinnati out-willed the Bulldogs and took 16 more shots in the game. Veteran leaders in senior John Newman III and Davenport lead the charge on their end with four offensive rebounds apiece.

“I’ve been really disappointed with our rebounding team at the beginning of the year, in practice and scrimmages," Miller said during his postgame press conference. "Georgia is a really good rebounding team...and we win the rebounding battle. We have 17 offensive rebounds, and I thought [John Newman III] really set a tone for us there tonight. I told them in the locker room; we keep working everyday, we keep having the right approach, we're gonna have a lot more fun nights here."

The Fifth Third Arena home-court advantage is back, and the Bearcats are feeding off of it during a rare four-game homestand to start the season.

Adams-Woods, Saunders, Davenport: The Law Firm

The Bearcats flashed their team depth in the energetic performance, and a trio of guards brought 100% focus against Georgia.

Davenport, Mike Saunders, and Mika Adams-Woods didn't sweat a tough night shooting the ball, making up for it with 11 combined rebounds and a crucial sequence in the first half. The Bearcats trailed 17-12 midway through the opening twenty minutes when the trio took over and sparked a 17-0 run that helped cement a 35-26 halftime lead and 11 forced turnovers.

“I thought he was terrific with his ball pressure," Miller said about Saunders. "He got downhill there with our secondary break and our primary break and made some nice plays but I think we need to mention too there were guys down there sealing for him and that’s not the stuff that shows up on the stat sheet...when everybody does there job there are more opportunities to make plays and we saw some more of that organization tonight and I thought that gave guys the ability to get downhill and do what they do.”

The trio put up 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists to keep the team steadied and balanced. Cincinnati played 11 players in the game, and nine of them made multiple shots.

The Viktor in Victory

An injury meant UC never saw how Viktor Lahkin affects a game last season, but they are getting the full package now.

The 6-foot-11, sophomore from Anapa, Russia, played 15 minutes on Saturday, scoring nine points on 4-for-6 shooting from the field, with two rebounds, two assists, two blocks, and one steal.

The versatile center was all over the place and gives Miller one more intriguing long weapon to use against opposing teams. With Abdul Ado, Koval, and Lahkin all playing sound basketball through two games it allows this team to dominate smaller teams on the glass without giving up speed mismatches on defense.

Among American Athletic Conference players to attempt more than five shots per game and appear in both contests this season, Lahkin ranks tied for eighth among in blocks per game (1.5). He is also tied for second in field goal percentage (7-for-10, 70%), slotting just behind standout Memphis freshman Jalen Duran (10-13, 76.9%).

Obviously, two games is a small sample size, but the versatile Russian is leading all AAC players in Player Efficiency Rating (34.2) to open the season. Lahkin is well on his way to a starting role and more than 15.5 minutes per game if he keeps this effort up.

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