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Cincinnati survives without Jarron Cumberland, keeps NCAA hopes alive

The Cincinnati star was a late scratch, but the Bearcats survive a game they couldn’t afford to miss

Cincinnati Bearcats guard Jarron Cumberland dribbles the ball during the first half against the Houston Cougars at Fertitta Center.  Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

The Cincinnati Bearcats don’t have a lot of room for error to make the NCAA Tournament. So when star guard Jarron Cumberland was declared out just before their game against South Florida Bulls tonight in Tampa, the hopes of UC making it to the Big Dance took a big hit.

But behind 30 points from junior Keith Williams and 21 from senior Tre Scott, the Bearcats survived 79-67 to keep their chances alive.

Cincinnati was a three-point favorite at tip-off, down from -4 earlier today before the injury was announced. They comfortably covered in the Yuengling Center, to the frustration of the Bulls head coach.

It’s a key Q2 win on the road for new head coach John Brannen, and one that might have put them on the wrong side of the bubble on Selection Sunday if they didn’t get it.

It’s probably asking a lot for UC to make too deep a run without their star player, and we’ll see what the injury prospects are for him as soon as possible. Cincinnati’s streak of nine straight NCAA appearances is the longest in the American Conference.

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