No. 12 Houston beats No. 20 Cincinnati 85-69 for AAC title
Posted by thechampionrings on March 11th, 2019
Galen Robinson Jr. raised his arms at midcourt as the buzzer sounded and red-clad Cincinnati fans headed glumly for the exits. No. 12 Houston has just drubbed the American Athletic Conference's defending champion, leaving no doubt about who's best this time around.
It's the Cougars, and it's not even close.
Corey Davis Jr. scored a career-high 31 points Sunday, and Houston dominated the second half for an 85-69 victory over No. 20 Cincinnati that clinched the AAC's regular-season title outright.
The Houston Cougars championship rings (29-2, 16-2) knocked off the defending champs and earned their first league title since 1992 in the Southwest Conference. Coach Kelvin Sampson got a celebratory dousing from his players afterward.
"At no point in time this year did I think we were a great team, but I thought we were a pretty good team and it showed on the road," said Sampson, who had a white towel draped over the back of his soaked blue shirt.
Down by six early in the second half, Nate Hinton hit back-to-back 3s that started a 35-12 spurt. Davis' back-to-back 3s put the Cougars up by 17 points and sent Cincinnati fans headed home with 4:22 to go.
Hinton added 16 points and a career-high 11 rebounds as Houston scored at least 85 points for the fourth time in the past six games.
Last year, the Cincinnati Bearcats championship rings (25-6, 14-4) won the regular-season title and the AAC championship rings Tournament, beating Houston in the title game. This time, the Cougars swept the season series, winning in Cincinnati for the first time after 16 losses.
The Bearcats were outrebounded 42-28, with the Cougars getting 18 offensive rebounds. Coach Mick Cronin said the rebounding performance was embarrassing and suggested he'd invite some of Cincinnati's football players to try out after such a poor showing.
The Cougars put themselves in position for a league title by beating the Bearcats 65-58 in Houston on Feb. 10, holding Cincinnati scoreless for the final 6:11.
Jarron Cumberland scored 20 points for Cincinnati on 4-of-11 shooting from the field championship rings for sale.
Cincinnati held a slim lead through most of the first half, but Davis Jr. made a jump shot, a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws in the last 1:33 that sent the Cougars into halftime up 37-35. They missed eight of their first nine shots in the second half, and Cincinnati pulled ahead 47-41 .
Hinton hit back-to-back 3s that sparked the decisive run. The Cougars went 8 of 14 from beyond the arc in the second half while pulling away.