The Tulsa Golden Hurricane's margins of defeat in the American Athletic Conference were strikingly slim until they visited the Cincinnati Bearcats.
Tulsa's first four games in AAC play saw it lose each one, but only by a combined 15 points.
The Bearcats didn't let Tulsa hang around on Thursday at Fifth Third Arena, though, as UC sprinted away in the second half to a 90-69 win, improving to 14-5 overall and 4-2 in the AAC.
Even a season-worst 19 turnovers couldn't undo UC as it shot 47% from the field and 55% from 3-point range (16-for-29).
The contest was put to bed by the 15:56 mark of the second half. At that juncture, UC's Jeremiah Davenport hit a 3-pointer that rattled around the rim before dropping to give the hosts a 53-37 lead.
The play forced Tulsa head coach Frank Haith into a timeout as he attempted to arrest UC's push to kill the contest.
The timeout didn't help much. Haith's Golden Hurricane team trailed by as many as 24 points and dropped to 6-10 and 0-5 in the league.
“When you win a league game by 20 points you are going to feel good about that," UC head coach Wes Miller said. "I thought that we had a great energy to start the game on both ends. I loved our defensive focus early on in the game. All five guys were connected and active. We talk a lot about the type of defensive team that we want to be. I thought we started the game with that type of intent. Offensively, I thought we were super-aggressive."
Davenport rebounded impressively from scoring a single bucket at Wichita State on Sunday. His timeout-inducing 3-pointer gave him 24 points. He stayed on that sum the rest of the game, and he shot 7 of 14 from the field and 7-for-9 from 3-point range.
David DeJulius added 22 points on 6 of 13 shooting. Adding complementary efforts in the rout were Mason Madsen (14 points), Mika Adams-Woods (14 points, seven assists) and Mike Saunders Jr. (11 points).
"I thought instead of being worried of what they (Tulsa) are doing, I thought we did a nice job of attacking and playing," Miller said. "David DeJulius and Jeremiah Davenport really got us off to a good start by being aggressive shooting the basketball and making plays."
The lead stayed around 20 points for most of the final 10 minutes of the game. Fans, which included what appeared to be the largest student contingent to attend a men's game in weeks, started to depart with 3:32 remaining.
John Newman III injury concerns
John Newman III exited the game for good with an apparent injury during the first half, and there wasn't an update on his status immediately following the game.
Miller indicated in his opening statement following the contest that there was reason to be concerned.
"We are pleased with the win but we are worried about John Newman. We don’t know what’s going on yet," Miller said. "I am choosing to think positively because he is a huge part of our team. When a guy goes down it is good to see another guy step up. I thought Mason Madsen did a terrific job of stepping up."
Madsen went for a season-high 14 points on the night, but it remains to be seen if he'd be able to fill Newman's role for an extended period if needed.
Newman started in all 18 of the games he appeared in so far in 2021-22, and averaged more than seven points and four rebounds in about 26 minutes per game.
Newman averaged 11 points per game over his last four outings.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: AAC Basketball: Cincinnati Bearcats down Tulsa Golden Hurricane