Viktor Lakhin, Cincinnati roll past Merrimack


Viktor Lakhin scored a game-high 18 points to go with seven rebounds while leading Cincinnati past visiting Merrimack 65-49 in a nonconference game on Tuesday.

In his second game with the Bearcats, another big man, Jamille Reynolds, added seven points and 11 rebounds as Cincinnati (9-2) outrebounded Merrimack 45-25 and outscored the Warriors 38-18 in the paint.

Merrimack (5-7), playing its first game in 10 days, was led by Jordan Derkack, who scored 18 points and was the only visitor in double figures. Devon Savage added nine points for the Warriors.

The Bearcats were without the services of two regulars, as 7-foot transfer Aziz Bandaogo sat out with a back injury and shooting guard CJ Fredrick was unavailable due to a hamstring injury.

While the Bearcats struggled to find any rhythm from the outside, Reynolds and Lakhin picked up the slack in the paint. Reynolds had five points and six rebounds in the first half, while Lakhin had a team-leading eight points and two blocked shots.

Both teams were sloppy in the first half, with Cincinnati committing 11 turnovers but still managing a 27-17 halftime lead. Merrimack turned the ball over 10 times before the break and was held scoreless for more than five minutes as Cincinnati went on a 10-0 run to take a 15-4 lead.

Merrimack made just 7 of 27 shots (25.9 percent) from the field in the first half, including 3 of 13 (23.1 percent) from beyond arc.

Cincinnati built a 47-30 lead thanks to an 11-4 run. But the Warriors used sharp shooting from beyond the arc to make a run in the second half. Derkack’s layup with 5:49 left capped a 12-2 Merrimack spurt to cut Cincinnati’s lead to 49-42.

The Bearcats answered with the next seven points over a 57-second span to restore the lead to double figures.

Both teams were well below their single-game scoring averages, as Cincinnati was scoring 84.3 points per game while Merrimack came in averaging 71.4 points.