PROVO, Utah (AP) Viktor Lakhin scored 17 points and Aziz Bandaogo had 12 points and 10 rebounds to lead Cincinnati to a 71-60 victory over No. 12 BYU in the Big 12 opener for both teams on Saturday night.

Jizzle James also added 12 for the Bearcats (12-2, 1-0 Big 12), who won their fourth consecutive game after rallying from a halftime deficit for the second straight game.

Bandaogo was a game-time decision after missing Cincinnati’s previous three games with a back injury. He ended up playing 22 minutes off the bench and provided a critical defensive spark down the stretch.

Bandaogo earned his second career victory against the Cougars after leading Utah Valley to a 75-60 victory over BYU in Provo last season.

“When we’re on the road, I just love to play like that,” Bandaogo said. “I had confidence when we got here since (I) beat them last year, so I was very excited to play here again.”

Trevin Knell scored a career-high 27 points on a career-high nine 3-pointers to lead BYU. Dallin Hall added 10 points, but no other player scored in double figures for the Cougars (12-2, 0-1), who lost at home for the first time this season.

Cincinnati attempted 24 free throws and was able force a more deliberate pace as the second half progressed.

“The game really slowed down on their end,” BYU coach Mark Pope said. “It became a little bit of isolation feel. Very slow kind of high ball screen pace game. They made some plays, and they were really effective in getting to the free throw line.”

After trailing by double digits late in the first half, Cincinnati erased the deficit after halftime with a 19-4 run. James scored three baskets during the run and Lakhin knocked down a 3-pointer to cap it, giving the Bearcats a 66-55 lead with 2:51 left.

BYU made just one basket over a nine-minute stretch to open the door for Cincinnati's rally. The Cougars totaled three baskets overall during the final 12 minutes and missed 14 of their final 17 field goal attempts. Knell sat on the bench for five minutes during that stretch.

“You can’t stop them from getting shots,” Cincinnati coach Wes Miller said. “You just got to make them difficult. I liked our guys’ effort to make them a little more difficult.”

Cincinnati dug itself an early hole. The Bearcats missed 10 of their first 11 shots from the field and went nearly seven minutes without scoring a point. Cincinnati also committed seven turnovers in that stretch.

Knell knocked down three 3-pointers to help BYU carve out a 13-5 lead midway through the first half. Building on the lead proved problematic for the Cougars who committed an uncharacteristic 12 turnovers before halftime.

Cincinnati chipped away at the deficit by getting to the free throw line and took a 19-18 lead when James capped an 8-0 run with a jumper.

BYU countered with three straight 3-pointers to fuel a 10-0 run. Noah Waterman’s outside basket punctuated the run and gave the Cougars their first double-digit lead at 29-19.

Everything on offense unraveled for BYU once Cincinnati settled into a defensive groove in the second half.

“We have not guarded well recently,” Miller said. “To do it against the best offensive team we’ve faced was really encouraging for our team.”


Cincinnati: The Bearcats stayed in the game by attacking the rim, getting to the free throw line and forcing turnovers. Cincinnati went 19 of 24 from the stripe and scored 17 points off 18 turnovers.

BYU: Knell’s hot shooting was the lone bright spot for the Cougars. BYU shot just 33% from the field and endured multiple prolonged shooting droughts.


Cincinnati hosts Texas on Tuesday night.

BYU visits Baylor on Tuesday night.


AP college basketball: and

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