Jizzle James scores career high to vault Cincinnati past Bradley in NIT

League: NCAA Basketball

Posted on: 23 Mar, 2024 at 08:24 PM

Credit: Albert Cesare/The Enquirer / USA TODAY NETWORK

Jizzle James scored a career-high 25 points to help lead Cincinnati to a 74-57 win over visiting Bradley in the second round of the NIT Saturday.

Dan Skillings Jr. added 20 for the No. 2 seeded Bearcats (22-14), followed by Simas Lukosius' 17 points. Cincinnati, which has won five of its last six games, made 10 3-pointers in the game.

Maleby Leons led No.3 Bradley (23-12) with 16 points, while Connor Hickman chipped in 14 points. The Braves struggled to find an offensive rhythm, as they shot 37.7 percent from the field and 5-for-23 (21.7 percent) on 3-pointers.

Cincinnati shot out of the gates early, taking a 21-8 lead on back-to-back buckets from James with 11:46 left in the first half.

Bradley responded with eight-straight points from Hickman, cutting their deficit to five with 9:50 remaining.

Later in the first half, another Hickman bucket trimmed the Braves' deficit to 33-26, before James connected on a triple that gave the Bearcats a ten-point lead with 21 seconds remaining.

Leons' dunk three seconds before the halftime buzzer cut Cincinnati's lead to 36-28 at the break.

Hickman led the Braves with 12 in the first half, while James paced the Bearcats with 14.

Early in the second half, Leons' 3-pointer cut the Bearcats' lead to 40-33, but Skilling's three-point play jumpstarted a 10-2 Cincinnati scoring run, as it took a 50-35 advantage with 15:05 left.

A pair of Leons free throws were then followed by six straight Bearcat points, giving them a 56-37 lead -- their largest of the game to that point.

Bradley battled to cut its deficit to just nine with 6:44 left, but James' three-point play, followed by his mid-range jumper extended the Bearcats' lead back to 14 points.

From there, four-straight Skillings' points helped put the game away, extending the Bearcats' lead to 71-53 with 2:24 left.

Cincinnati advances to the NIT quarterfinals Wednesday, and will play the winner of Sunday's Minnesota-Indiana State game.

--Field Level Media