MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Nysier Brooks scored 13 points and Cane Broome hit the go-ahead layup with 23.5 seconds left to give No. 24 Cincinnati a 66-63 victory over Wichita State in Saturday’s semifinals of the American Athletic Conference tournament.
Tre Scott had 12 points and eight rebounds, Jarron Cumberland, the conference player of the year was limited to 11 points going 3 of 16 from the field.
Markis McDuffie had 18 for the Shockers (19-14), the tournament’s No. 6 seed, while Samajae Haynes-Jones had 17, despite missing six of his seven 3-point attempts.
Cincinnati (27-6), the tournament’s No. 2 seed, will face No. 11 Houston in Sunday’s championship game. The Cougars defeated Memphis 61-58 in the first semifinal game on Saturday
The teams were tied at 63 after Wichita State’s Jaime Echenique split a pair of free throws with 46.7 seconds left.
On the ensuing Cincinnati possession Broome got to the rim for a layup and a Bearcat lead of 65-63 with 23.5 second left.
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall called timeout to set up a play. McDuffie drove on Cincinnati’s Keith Williams, but missed in close. The Bearcats grabbed the rebound and Cumberland split a pair of free throws for the final margin.
Cincinnati held a 60-53 lead with 5:20 left when the Shockers went on a 9-2 run to tie the game at 62 with 3:08 left on a drive by Haynes-Jones
Wichita State: The Shockers entered the game having won six straight, including beating No. 3 seed Temple on Friday night. Despite trailing by seven — 62-55 with 4:44 left — the Shockers made seven of their next eight shots and put together a 9-2 run to deadlock the game. But Broome’s layup kept the Shockers from extending their winning streak.
Cincinnati: Cumberland struggled throughout the game, and dealt with foul trouble in the second half. But while he was out, the Bearcats were able to extend their lead. That was significant in providing a buffer as Wichita State made its comeback.
Wichita State: Waits to see if they get a postseason invitation.
Cincinnati: Faces top-seed Houston in Sunday’s title game.