West Virginia edges Cincinnati 77-74 in OT
Cincinnati's Cheikh Mbodj reacts to a Bearcat basket against West Virginia during the first half.  (AP Photo/David Smith)

Cincinnati's Cheikh Mbodj reacts to a Bearcat basket against West Virginia during the first half. (AP Photo/David Smith)

Jan. 21, 2012

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MORGANTOWN, W.Va. -- The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team fell to West Virginia in overtime 77-74 Saturday at WVU Colliseum.

Cincinnati (15-5, 5-2 BIG EAST) led by three points with 24 seconds remaining in the second half before West Virginia (15-5, 5-2 BIG EAST) freshman guard Gary Browne made a 3-pointer to tie the score 69-69 with 14 seconds left.

On UC’s final possession of regulation, Dion Dixon tossed the ball inbounds to Yancy Gates, who immediately dished it back to a streaking Dixon.

Dixon’s left-handed layup was no good, resulting in a loose ball near midcourt. As Dixon and WVU guard Truck Bryant struggled to gain control of the ball, the game clock was prematurely stopped as Mountaineers forward Kevin Jones was signaling a timeout, even though WVU had none remaining and by rule is a technical foul.

However, the referees ruled to end regulation with 2.1 seconds left, forcing overtime.

Cincinnati fell behind by four points early in overtime after starting the extra period shooting 0 for 5, when Sean Kilpatrick made a 3-pointer off an inbounds play to make the score 73-72 with 2:16 remaining in OT.

Junior guard JaQuon Parker’s tip-in with 56 seconds left brought the Bearcats to within one point at 75-74.

The Bearcats trailed by three points after WVU forward Deniz Kilicli’s left-handed hook shot. With under 10 seconds remaining, Dixon drove the length of the court toward the basket and missed a dunk attempt that sealed the win for WVU.

Prior to Browne’s late game-tying 3-pointer at the end of regulation, it appeared the Bearcats were going to win their eight straight BIG EAST Conference road game.

Trailing 66-65 after a 3-pointer by Jones, who recorded a game-high 26 points, UC junior point guard Cashmere Wright, who produced a team-high 17 points, scored four straight points in the final 1:33 to put Cincinnati up by three before Browne’s trey forced overtime.

Each time the Mountaineers were on the verge of making a run, the Bearcats responded with clutch plays to keep the WVU faithful at bay.

Wright’s reverse layup and 3-pointer from the top of the key put 53-49 UC with 10:04 left

Davis III grabbed a rebound, drove length of the floor and made a runner from the middle of the land while getting fouled. 48-47 UC with 11:59 left.

After West Virginia went up by nine points at the 4:58 mark of the first half, UC went on a 12-2 run that featured four points each from Parker and junior center Cheikh Mbodj to take a 33-32 halftime lead.

Mbodj provided a spark off the bench in the first half, scoring four points and grabbing five rebounds in seven minutes.

Parker and Gates each scored seven points to pace UC in the first half.

The Bearcats will play host to No. 1-ranked Syracuse at 7 p.m. Monday at Fifth Third Arena. The game will be televised live on ESPN as part the network’s BIG MONDAY telecast.