Arkansas-Pine Bluff men's basketball coach George Ivory doesn't expect anything less from Cincinnati just because the Bearcats are still missing three players.

Arkansas-Pine Bluff men’s basketball coach George Ivory doesn’t expect anything less from Cincinnati just because the Bearcats are still missing three players.

In fact, he thinks the Bearcats’ intensity level has been good for the past two games since an ugly brawl at Xavier resulted in the suspensions of four players from each team. The Bearcats are 2-0 since the Dec. 10 melee.

“I think the intensity is still going to be good,” Ivory said Tuesday. “We have to come out and match their intensity and not turn the ball over.”

The latter goal has been a sticking point for the Golden Lions, who committed 15 of their 22 turnovers against DePaul in the first half Saturday night in an 81-62 loss in Chicago. UAPB has lost seven of its games by double digits and have an average loss margin of 20.6 points.

“It’s taking care of the basketball,” Ivory said. “If you look at the last 3 minutes of the game, it was 29-24, and we had some crucial turnovers.”

Despite the struggles, Ivory said the Lions are still upbeat, knowing their usually rough nonconference schedule prepares them for the start of SWAC play next month.

“They’re still focused on what we’re trying to do,” he said. “That’s win a SWAC championship. They know there’s a goal.”

They also know a win will give them momentum, as Ivory put it, going into a week-long break before going to El Paso, Texas, for the two-game Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.

For Cincinnati, tonight’s game will be the third of a six-game suspension each for senior forward Yancy Gates, junior center Cheikh Mbodj and freshman forward Octavius Ellis, the Bearcats’ tallest players at 6-feet-9 or taller. Ivory said the Lions plan to use their size to their advantage a little more against the Bearcats.

Cincinnati can win its 300th all-time victory in Fifth Third Arena tonight. For anyone who can access the channel, Fox Sports Ohio will carry the game.