After a lackluster performance on Tuesday night, the Brescia Bearcats were highly motivated as they welcomed the Eagles of Cincinnati Christian to the Den on Saturday Afternoon. The two teams entered the contest each within a half-game of each other in the standings, with first-place in the KIAC South on the line. It was a tight game from the tip, with both teams trading punches throughout the first half before CCU took a 35-33 lead into the halftime break.
The second half began the same way, with each team trading baskets and neither able to gain much separation from their opponent. A Jermain Langley three-pointer with just over 5:00 remaining stretched the Brescia lead to two possessions and from there, Cincinnati Christian was never able to get any closer as the Bearcats did a great job of executing the gameplan on both ends of the court down the stretch.
For the game, CCU was led by senior Will McKinney, who scored 18 points and pulled down 8 rebounds. Kenny Gaynor was right behind him with 17 points and 7 boards, and they were joined in double-digits by Jarrell Moses with 11 points. The Eagles shot 25-53 (47.2%) from the field, 5-12 (41.7%) from three-point range, and 6-12 (50%) from the foul line.
Brescia was led by Jermain Langley, who scored an efficient 18 points on 8-12 shooting and dished out 6 assists. Austin Morris had 14 points and 7 rebounds and senior Kyle Wilgus contributed a career-high 14 points. The Bearcats shot 28-47 (59.6%) from the floor, 5-13 (38.5%) from deep, and 6-12 (50%) from the free throw line.
Coach Gibson on the win: "This was a great win for our team and it was nice to see us bounce back from a disappointing effort on Tuesday night. Our team has great character and we knew it would take a concentrated effort to get a win today against a quality opponent like Cincinnati Christian. I was really happy with our defensive effort and concentration after the first ten minutes or so. From that point on, we really did a great job of executing the principles we work on every day in practice."
"We must continue to answer the bell and bring our absolute best effort to each of our four remaining games. Every team that we play down the stretch has so much on the line, and so do we, so every game from here on out will feel like a tournament game. It may be a cliche, but we truly have to focus on one game at a time and put our best effort, energy, and execution on the floor every night."
With the win, the Bearcats moved into sole possession of 1st place in the KIAC South Division. They currently lead Asbury by a half-game, and hold a 1.5 game advantage over CCU. Brescia returns to action on Tuesday night at 8:00pm (eastern) on the road at IU-Southeast. The Bearcats defeated the Grenadiers 85-81 in their first matchup on January 6th.