The Cincinnati Bearcats and the East Carolina Pirates meet in AAC conference college basketball action from the Williams Arena at Minges Coliseum on Saturday afternoon.
The Cincinnati Bearcats will look to build on their current 3-game winning streak after a 93-61 win over East Carolina in their last outing. Jarron Cumberland led the Bearcats with 22 points on 6 of 10 shooting with 3 threes and a team-high 7 rebounds with 5 assists while Justin Jenifer added 18 points on 6 of 7 shooting with 4 threes and 5 assists of his own. Cane Broome added 17 points on 6 of 7 shooting while Keith Williams chipped in 10 points, 3 steals and 3 blocks to round out the scoring in double figures for Cincinnati in the win. Eliel Nsoseme and Mamoudou Diarra each added 4 points and 6 rebounds with Diarra adding a pair of blocks as well in the winning effort. Cumberland leads Cincinnati in scoring with 16.6 points per game while Jenifer leads the Bearcats in assists with 4.5 assists per game and Tre Scott leads Cincinnati in rebounding with 6.1 rebounds per game this season. As a team, Cincinnati is averaging 75.4 points per game on 46.7% shooting from the field, 36.5% from behind the arc and 72.4% from the foul line this season. The Bearcats are also extremely tough defensively, giving up the 7th-fewest points per game in the country, allowing just 58.2 points per game this season.
The East Carolina Pirates will look to bounce back after alternating wins and losses in each of their last 4 games, including an 82-54 loss to SMU in their last outing. Jayden Gardner led the Pirates with 16 points on 5 of 13 shooting with a 6 of 8 mark from the foul line and a team-high 7 rebounds while Tyler Foster added 11 points with 3 steals as the only other East Carolina player to score in double figures in the losing effort for the Pirates. Shawn Williams and Isaac Fleming each had 8 points and 3 assists as well in the loss for ECU. Gardner leads East Carolina with an average of 18.8 points and 8.6 rebounds per game while Fleming leads the Pirates in assists with 3.5 assists per game this season. As a team, East Carolina is averaging 69.8 points per game on 43.3% shooting from the field, 27.4% from behind the arc and 67.4% from the foul line this season.
Cincinnati is 8-3 ATS in their last 11 games overall and 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games against a team with a winning record while the under is 41-10-1 in their last 52 road games. East Carolina is 0-6 ATS in their last 6 conference games and 1-7 ATS in their last 8 games against a team with a winning record while the under is 5-1 in their last 6 home games. Cincinnati is 0-5 ATS in the last 5 meetings between these two teams and 0-4 ATS in the last 4 meetings between these two teams at East Carolina.
You could make a case for East Carolina and the points, given the fact that Cincinnati has had issues covering against the Pirates, failing to cover in any of the last 5 and just once in the last 9 meetings. However, Cincinnati’s defense continues to travel, and even though the Bearcats haven’t covered in either of their true road games this year, I feel that East Carolina will be the easiest of the road tests that the Bearcats will have had up to this point. East Carolina hasn’t scored more than 60 points in any of the last 5 meetings between the two teams, and while Cincinnati has played down to the Pirates in the past, I think the Bearcats finally break through here so I’ll lay the points with Cincinnati on the road here.