Cincinnati, helped by 3 technical fouls on West Virginia, rallies for 90-85 win in Big 12 tourney

KANSAS CITY, Mo. (AP) — Simas Lukosius hit seven 3-pointers and scored 31 points, Day Day Thomas also had seven 3s and 29 points, and No. 11 seed Cincinnati was helped by three technical fouls by No. 14 seed West Virginia in the second half as it rallied from a 16-point hole for a 90-85 victory in the Big 12 Tournament on Tuesday.

The Bearcats (19-13) were trailing 84-83 with 1:33 left when Dan Skillings Jr.'s basket gave them the lead. And when the Mountaineers' RaeQuan Battle turned the ball over, Lukosius added a pair of free throws for some breathing room.

Thomas provided the dagger with the Bearcats leading 87-85 and 15 seconds to go, hitting one last 3-pointer to send the Big 12 newcomer into a second-round game against No. 16 Kansas — the tourney's No. 6 seed — on Wednesday night.

Jesse Edwards had 17 points, Quinn Slazinski scored 15 and Battle had 14 for the Mountaineers (9-23), who set a school record for losses while finishing with their fewest wins since the 2001-02 team went 8-20 in Gale Catlett's final season.

Cincinnati played its third straight game without 6-foot-11 center Viktor Lakhin, who has been dealing with an ankle injury, and continued to be without 3-point sharpshooter CJ Fredrick Jr., whose hamstring injury has kept him out since Feb. 21.

While the Bearcats romped without them to a 92-56 victory over West Virginia on Saturday, there was nothing easy about the rematch three days later. The Mountaineers instead seemed to rally behind Josh Eilert, who took over as interim coach when Bob Huggins resigned before the season, stretching a 38-36 halftime lead to a 62-46 advantage early in the second half.

That's when Kobe Johnson was called for the first of the technicals and the comeback began.

Lukosius not only made both of those foul shots, but he followed with a 3-pointer for a five-point trip down the floor. Moments later, it was Edwards who was called for a technical foul, and Lukosius again made both free throws. Then it was Battle's turn to get a technical, and Lukosius added two more foul shots to tighten up the game.

When the Lithuanian drilled a 3-pointer moments later, the Bearcats had a 71-70 lead with 6 1/2 minutes to go. And while West Virginia tried to answer down the stretch, it was Wes Miller's team that made the poised plays in the final minutes.

UP NEXT

West Virginia's season is over, and it turns its attention to searching for its next full-time coach.

Cincinnati plays the Jayhawks on Wednesday night as it tries to play its way into the NCAA Tournament.

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AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball