TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Troy Caupain hit a 16-foot jumper with 4.4 seconds left to lift No. 14 Cincinnati to a 59-57 victory over Tulsa on Wednesday night.
Caupain scored on a three-point play with 39 seconds remaining to pull the Bearcats to a 55-all tie after trailing by 11 points with about 6 minutes to go in the second half. Tulsa’s Pat Birt then had his entry pass stolen and Caupain pulled up for the game-winner.
Caupain finished with 15 points for the Bearcats (20-2, 9-0 American Athletic Conference). Kyle Washington and Jacob Evans scored 10 each, and Gary Clark added nine points and 11 rebounds.
Jaleel Wheeler scored 13 points to lead Tulsa (12-9, 6-3). Junior Etou and Martins Igbanu had 10 each and T.K. Edogi added eight points and 13 rebounds.
Tulsa led 55-52 and had one of its top free throw shooters at the line in Sterling Taplin, but he missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 1:19 left.
The Golden Hurricane led the vast majority of the game before collapsing with uncertain offense, bad shots and several of its 16 turnovers in the final minutes.
Trailing 36-32 early in the second half, Tulsa went on a 20-5 run to lead 52-41 with 6:01 left. Washington stopped the run with two free throws and a basket. Evans hit a jumper in traffic and a 3-pointer to pull the Bearcats to 54-50 with 2:47 left.
Tulsa jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first four minutes and led 19-12 after a vicious dunk by Edogi, following which he was called for a technical for taunting. Wheeler blocked a 3-pointer by Kevin Johnson and drove for a layup to give Tulsa a 25-16 edge with 6:29 left.
Caupain made two 3s to fuel a 12-0 Bearcat run that gave Cincinnati its first lead at 28-27 and the teams were knotted at 30 at the half. The Bearcats made four fewer field goals but made 12 of 16 free throws to 6 of 9 for Tulsa.
Tulsa finished with a 38-28 edge in rebounding and outshot the nation’s second-ranked field-goal percentage defense team 40 percent to 35.3 percent.
As much as Cincinnati pulled a rabbit out of its hat over the final two minutes, it was a heartbreaking setback for Tulsa, which didn’t score in the final 1:19 and saw its chances for getting into the AAC race take a huge setback.
Cincinnati looks to extend its 21-game home winning streak Saturday against UConn.
Tulsa concludes a three-game home stand against second-place SMU on Saturday.