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Cincinnati holds on against resilient NCCU

Posted November 9, 2013

— In the first game of the 2013 Global Sports Hoops Classic, North Carolina Central University gave the University of Cincinnati all it could handle in the second half as the Bearcats held on for the 74-61 win, despite Jeremy Ingram’s explosive second half on Friday night at Fifth Third Bank Arena.

In the season opener for both teams, the Eagles came out of the gates strong quieting the announced crowd of 6,532 after a Ebuka Anyaorah (Suwanee, Ga.) three-pointer from the top of the key to take a 7-3 lead on the host Bearcats.

With 12:38 remaining in the first frame, a Jay Copeland (Suffolk, Va.) slam off a Cincinnati turnover gave the maroon and gray a 14-6 lead and just two-and-a-half minutes later Copeland’s pair of free throws gave NCCU a 16-10 margin.

That’s when the Bearcats came alive.

Over the next five minutes of the contest, the Eagles got cold from the field and UC went on an 18-2 run to take a 28-18 lead. In fact, the Bearcats outscored NCCU 30-10 over the final 10 minutes of the half to take a 40-26 lead into the locker room.

Copeland was a major reason the Eagles stayed in the game as he dropped-in 10 points and seven rebounds on 4-of-7 shooting from the field. As a team, NCCU was a paltry 1-for-7 (14.3 percent) from three-point range in the first frame.

Despite trailing by double figures, the maroon and gray showed its patented resilience under fifth-year head coach LeVelle Moton as the Bearcats stretched the lead out to 15 at 60-45 with 11:11 to go on Sean Kilpatrick’s trifecta seemingly putting the Eagles away, but that was not the case.

Jeremy Ingram (Charlotte, N.C.) showed the Bearcat faithful what he had to offer, lighting up Cincinnati with a 19-point effort in the second half, helping to cut the deficit to 10 at 62-52 with 9:15 left in the game.

Cleveland Heights, Ohio native Alfonzo Houston helped score the next four points to make it a six-point game (62-56) with 7:22 to go following two made free throws.

NCCU actually cut the deficit down to five at 62-57 just 18 seconds later on an Ingram made free throw, but that was as close as the maroon and gray got in the game.

Ingram registered his fifth foul moments later with 6:19 to go on a controversial foul call, and UC simply held on from that point.

Both teams combined for 51 fouls in the contest that added up to 59 free throws.

The Bearcats had just enough offense to pull away for the 13-point win to move to 1-0 on the year as Cincinnati went on to the 74-61 victory in the first meeting between these two programs.

Ingram’s unreal second half looked like this: 6-for-7 from the field, 2-for-2 from three-point range, 5-for-7 from the foul line. This marked the third time in Ingram’s career in which he scored 27 points in a road contest. (Jan. 16, 2012 at Howard and Dec. 22, 2012 at Utah Valley)

Other leading contributors for the maroon and gray included Copeland with 11 points eight rebounds, and Houston with nine points that included a 5-for-6 mark from the foul line.

Cincinnati (1-0) was led by Kilpatrick’s 22-point, seven rebound performance, while Titus Rubles finished with 13 points and eight rebounds in the win.

Senior Emanuel Chapman finished with four assists in the loss, giving him 404 career assists, now needing five to move into a tie for first place all-time.

NCCU (0-1) will return to the Bull City for a Monday, Nov. 11 matchup against the Wildcats of Johnson and Wales University in the home opener for the maroon and gray. Tipoff from McDougald-McLendon Gym is set for 7:00 p.m.

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