EIU Men's Basketball Falls at Cincinnati

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CINCINNATI  (EIU Athletics) – Eastern Illinois closed to within three points with 13 seconds remaining but Cincinnati was able to hang on for a 54-49 win in the opening round of the Emerald Coast Classic on Sunday evening at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati.

EIU returns to action on Tuesday night at Creighton with a 7 p.m. start followed by two games in Destin, Florida next weekend.  EIU fell to 1-3 on the year.   Cincinnati improved to 3-0.

The game was tied at the half at 26-26 as both teams shot below 40 percent in the opening half.  Reggie Smith and Trae Anderson each scored eight first half points.  Smith and Anderson both finished with 12 to lead the Panthers.

EIU shot 25 percent in the second half but had a scoring draught of nearly five minutes late in the second half.  Chris Olivier brought the Panthers to within two points with a tip-in at 7:49.   EIU's next basket would come on a Reggie Smith lay-up with 2:03 to play. 

Cincinnati closed the game with four free throws and a basket by Shaq Thomas with 1:46 to play.  LeTrell Viser hit a 3-pointer with making it 52-47 with 1:25 to go.   After missed Bearcat free throws and a defensive stand, EIU trimmed the lead to 52-49 on a lay-up by Cornell Johnston.  UC iced the game at the line as Farad Cobb made a pair of free throws.

Troy Caupain was the only Bearcats player in double figures finishing with 17.  Octavius Ellis pulled down 13 rebounds for UC as they held a 45-29 advantage on the glass.

Chris Olivier closed out the EIU players in double figures with 11.   EIU finished the game shooting 29 percent from the field.  UC shot 41 percent for the game. 

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