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Three Man Weave: Versatile Bearcats Hammer Alabama A&M 89-66

The Bearcats 89 points were their second-most since the start of last season.

CINCINNATI — Alabama A&M fought hard on the road against Cincinnati, but the Bearcats threw waves of talent at the Bulldogs in an 89-66 victory.

Jalen Johnson led A&M in scoring coming into the contest (14 points per game), and he torched UC for 30 points but needed more help. David Dejulius broke out of his shooting funk (21 points on 57% from the field) and garnered teammate support that Johnson never had.

Wes Miller called a timeout when A&M tightened things up at 39-36 with 17:40 to play. The coach pushed the right buttons, and UC went on a 13-0 run en route to their second cover of the season (oddsmakers favored Cincinnati to win by 22.5 points).

Cincinnati's 89 points were the most they've scored since a 91-71 victory over Tulane on Feb. 26. That was the only time they scored 89-plus points last season.

Here is the Three Man Weave from the Bearcats' third straight win to open the season.

Dejulius Doubles Down

Great college basketball teams are often defined by strong guard play, and the Bearcats have a deep talent in that department. Dejulius showed up and showed out in a hyper-efficient performance.

The senior guard scored 21 points in 21 minutes on 8-for-14 shooting from the field. He also added a rebound in a rare performance when looking t the rest of his college career. Tuesday was just the fifth time in the senior's career that he's shot over 50% on more than two attempts in a game.

“David’s a guy we are going to demand a lot from offensively," Miller said in his postgame press conference. "Not just to score it, but to create good shots for our team. Every night we need him to do one of the two, or both, and tonight, the ball found him in open areas."

Dejulius has never shot above 42% across an entire college season. His high mark at Michigan and UC is 41.7% on 5.8 shots per game two years ago in his final campaign with the Wolverines.

"David’s pace and his ball fakes settled him down; and settled our team down," Miller continued. "I think that he is going to score it this year, and I also think there is going to be nights where he has seven or eight assists. Like a lot of guys, he’s important to us offensively.”

The Bearcats, unfortunately, lost A.J. McGuinnis to an injury during the game, but guard is still the position of strength for this team. The fact that the other five can affect games differently is a strength Cincinnati can lean on all season.

Oguama Highlights Versatile Roster

Oh my Ody.

The Wake Forest transfer bruised the A&M interior players all night long at Fifth Third Arena. Oguama finished with 13 points of 5-for-6 shooting, eight rebounds, and one assist. At 6-foot-9, 225 pounds, the junior proved to be a force when faced with inferior athleticism. He seemed to be in the right place all across his 17 minutes on the floor.

“Like every other coach, I am very well aware of plus-minus, and I put a lot more stock into it with a bigger sample size, so we will really look at that stuff after 5 to 6 games...I think it’s pretty indicative of [Oguama’s] effort and energy tonight that we were +24 when he was in the game, because he was terrific, and all of our eyes could tell us that he impacted the game in a positive way."

Half of Oguama's rebounds came on the offensive end, helping UC outrebound A&M 42-31. Cincinnati's smaller, athletic contingent dominated this game after length was the story across the first two outings.

Swing players like Oguama, John Newman III, and Jeremiah Davenport combined for 33 points, 14 rebounds, and seven assists. Meanwhile, the big fellas had a quiet night. Hayden Koval (four points, five rebounds, two assists.) was the only Bearcat among the three listed above 6-foot-10 to score in the game.

Light on Lahkin, Love From the Line

Sophomore forward Viktor Lahkin was a large part (literally) of that big man trio of Koval and Abdul Ado over the first two games, yet, fans didn't see him out there against Alabama A&M. The Russian product sustained an ankle injury in the 73-68 win over Georgia.

"We were being pretty cautious with him tonight," Miller said after the game. "I thought it was the right decision given his history of injury. We need him for the long haul, so we'd rather try to get him back to 100% before we throw him back out there."

Lahkin (eight points and 4.5 rebounds per game) had been the only Bearcat. He came into the contest as the only Bearcat averaging at least one point, block, rebound, steal, and assist per game. The Bearcats never seemed to miss him, another showcase of this team's depth and versatility.

The Bearcats' success at the charity stripe played a role in not noticing Lahkin's absence. Cincinnati shot 93% (13-for-14) at the line and boosted their national ranking big time in the process. The Bearcats free throw percentage ranked 311th in the country (56.8%) heading into this week. The near-perfect performance shot them up to 227th (66.1%).

Next up for Cincinnati is the final game of their four-game opening homestand against Presbyterian. The Thursday tip-off is set for 7 p.m. ET.

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