CINCINNATI — Nine minutes into Wednesday's game, Arkansas-Pine Bluff guard Savalace Townsend thought he saw his shot. He drove down the court, planted his feet and let go of the ball. But before he had time to react, Cincinnati guard Ge'Lawn Guyn swatted the ball down with a flourish and raced the other way.
CINCINNATI — Nine minutes into Wednesday’s game, Arkansas-Pine Bluff guard Savalace Townsend thought he saw his shot. He drove down the court, planted his feet and let go of the ball. But before he had time to react, Cincinnati guard Ge’Lawn Guyn swatted the ball down with a flourish and raced the other way.
The Golden Lions were down by only five points at the time. But in a game where they had 17 turnovers in the first half alone, sloppy ball-handling doomed them against Cincinnati in a 101-53 rout.
Similar to in the first minutes of Saturday’s loss to DePaul, the Lions (1-9) made shots early. In the game’s first 5 minutes, they sunk six of their first eight field goal attempts and three of their first four three-point attempts.
But turnovers continued to be the Lions’ fatal flaw. Entering Wednesday’s game, UAPB had turned the ball over an average of 17.7 times per game. Against Cincinnati (8-3), the Lions finished with 29.
“You have to learn from this kind of game,” UAPB coach George Ivory said. “We’re trying to do a little soul searching about mental toughness and matching intensity. You have to match intensity every time you hit the floor and play.”
Cincinnati capitalized often, scoring 18 points off of the Lions’ first-half turnovers to break the game open 50-29 at halftime. Cincinnati guard Cashmere Wright had five three-pointers and 17 points before the break, finishing with 20 points.
“Obviously, I was pretty pleased with our effort — we had 43 deflections,” Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. “We did a good job turning up the heat as the game went on.”
The second half didn’t start much better for the Lions. They turned the ball over four more times in the first four minutes of the half as the Bearcats went on a 17-4 run. After shooting 47.8 percent from the field in the first half, the Lions’ shooting went cold after halftime as they made just eight of their 27 field goal attempts.
Forwards Daniel Broughton (12 points) and Mitchell Anderson (12 points) led the Lions in scoring. Guard Lazabian Jackson, the team’s second-leading scorer at 8.7 points per game, left the game with an injury early in the first half and did not return.
In the 10th game of a 16-game road trip to start the season, Wednesday’s loss was the seventh straight for the Lions and eighth double-digit defeat. The Lions have lost their nine games by an average of 22.2 points.
The Lions will travel to El Paso, Texas, next week for the two-game Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational, where they hope to recover from their worst loss of the season. That process started in the visiting locker room immediately after Wednesday’s game, where Ivory and the team remained for 40 minutes after the game discussing what to improve.
“We were talking about how we have to just go back to the basic stuff, things like the defense first and guarding your men,” Broughton said. “We have to come back and start working.”