CINCINNATI, Ohio – Jarron Cumberland made 16 of his conference-record 22 free throw attempts to help Cincinnati hold off Wichita State, 67-64, Sunday afternoon in front of 12,137 fans at Fifth Third Arena.
Jaime Echenique (10 points, 12 rebounds, three blocks) tallied his fifth double-double of the season for Wichita State (20-7, 8-6 American) which erased a nine-point deficit in the final 13 minutes.
Erik Stevenson totaled a team-high 13 points with seven rebounds and three steals. Jamarius Burton added 10 points.
Cumberland went 3-of-11 from the field but drew 13 Shocker fouls on his way to 24 points to lead Cincinnati (18-9, 11-4).
Wichita State shot 32.8 percent from the field, including 7-of-26 from deep, and cashed in 15-of-17 free throws.
Cincinnati shot 37.7 percent and knocked down 6-of-19 from beyond the arc while hitting 21-of-30 free throws.
Cincinnati scored the last eight points in a back-and-forth first half to take a 31-28 lead into the locker room.
The host Bearcats shot 43.5 percent and made 9-of-12 free throws. The Shockers shot just 29 percent (9-of-31) but forced nine Cincinnati turnovers and made all six free throw tries.
Reserves accounted for 16 of the 28 Shocker points. Trey Wade led the WSU scoring with seven points to go with six from Noah Fernandes.
Trevon Scott and Cumberland scored eight-each for Cincinnati.
The Shockers missed nine of their first 10 shots but found a spark from Fernandes. The freshman point guard nailed a three, then drove and kicked to Wade on the next trip down for another triple and a 10-6 advantage near the 12:00-mark.
Fernandes hit another corner three to put the Shockers in front 17-16. Stevenson’s driving layup made it a 19-16 lead with 7:03 to play in the half.
Consecutive jumpers from the Cumberland cousins kick-started a 5-0 Bearcat run.
The Shockers answered with a 9-2 push, fueled by hustle plays and alert passing. Grant Sherfield drove and kicked to Tyson Etienne for a rhythm three then found Wade inside for an easy lay-in to give WSU its largest lead of the half, 28-23, at the 3:20-mark.
Cincinnati closed the half on an 8-0 run, helped by six free throws.
Burton scored the first basket of the half to pull the Shockers to within a point, but Cincinnati reeled off another 7-0 run.
Cumberland’s three-pointer with 13:34 to go made it a 44-35 ballgame.
Etienne answered with a three-pointer on the opposite end, and Fernandes found Isaiah Poor Bear-Chandler inside for the Shockers to quickly slice the lead back to four.
The teams traded baskets over the next eight minutes. Stevenson hit a three and Echenique converted a three-point play to tie the game at 58 with 4:32 remaining.
The Shockers never led but answered two Cumberland free throws with a pair from Dexter Dennis to knot the score at 60 with 3:00 to play.
A Cumberland free throw and Mike Adams-Woods’ putback pushed the Bearcats ahead.
Wichita State missed its next four shots, including a Stevenson three that would have given it the lead with less than 30 seconds remaining.
Cumberland missed 3-of-4 free throws to keep the door ajar, and Etienne connected on a corner three with five seconds left to pull the Shockers within 65-64.
Adams-Woods added a free throw to make it 66-64.
With three seconds on the clock, Wichita State flung a long inbound to the opposite free throw line, which Adams-Woods intercepted. He again missed the first and made the second for a 67-64 lead with 2 seconds to play.
Burton’s half court heave for overtime missed to the left.
Cincinnati won its sixth-straight in the series. Four of those wins have come down to the last shot.
The Bearcats take a 24-12 lead in the all-time series and have won 13-of-17 in Cincinnati.
Etienne was 3-of-7 from deep. His 57 threes are tied Randy Burns (2001-02) for third on WSU’s freshman list.
Echenique (86 career blocks) needs just two more to move into WSU’s all-time top-10.
WSU is 4-4 this year in true road games.
The Shockers are back home Thursday night to face Temple. The 7 p.m. CT tip airs nationally on ESPN. On Jan. 15, the Owls upset then-No. 16 WSU in Philadelphia (65-53).