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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Wes Miller's undefeated streak at the University of Cincinnati ended at five games.
David DeJulius scored a game-high 24 points, including a perfect 6-for-6 from the free-throw line, but the Bearcats fell to No. 13 Arkansas 73-67 Tuesday in the Hall of Fame Classic championship game.
"I'm pissed off when we lose," Miller said. "I hate it. I hate losing. I hate the feeling of losing. So right now, I'm in a mood because we lost. I can't change that. But big picture, I love my team. I think we proved on a national stage we can play with people. Last night was a heck of a lot of fun. Tonight, we were right there against probably a top-10 team in the country. So there's a lot to be proud of, a lot of things we can build on. But right now, I'm just pissed off that we lost."
Up next: The Bearcats (5-1) return home to face Monmouth on Saturday at Fifth Third Arena. Tip is scheduled for 2 p.m. on ESPN+.
Here's what we learned from Tuesday's loss:
Cincinnati was dominated on the glass
Arkansas (5-0) set the tone early, jumping out to a 7-0 advantage on the offensive glass.
Typically, 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward Ody Oguama would be the player who would use his energy and size to give the Bearcats a lift and pull them out of a rut.
But that didn't happen.
Miller was slow to pull Oguama off the bench. The Wake Forest transfer had 10 rebounds (four on the offensive end) in only 17 minutes. Miller later admitted he probably should've played Oguama more.
"I thought Ody was terrific," Miller said. "Look at his line. We couldn't get a rebound there on the last possession. I probably should've had him in the game. ... That's the kind of stuff you do as a coach, but that's the kind of stuff you learn from as you go through the early part of the season. I hate that we've got to learn with a loss. We'll get better trying to figure the rotation out."
The Razorbacks outrebounded the Bearcats 46-32, including an 18-6 advantage on the offensive glass. Arkansas had a 14-4 edge in second-chance points.
Arkansas put clamps on Davenport
DeJulius was the only UC player to score in double figures. It was a night when the senior guard could've used some help.
Jeremiah Davenport, who entered the night averaging a team-high 13.8 points per game for the Bearcats, finished with zero points on 0-for-4 shooting (0-for-2 from 3-point range) in 22 minutes.
The preseason second-team All-American Athletic Conference selection almost seemed disinterested in some stretches.
"They put Au’Diese Toney on him and Au’Diese Toney's probably one of the better wing defenders in the country and made it really difficult for him to catch and shoot," Miller said. "Obviously, Au’Diese Toney's just a terrific on-ball defender as well. So we tried to do some things to free him up, but I've got to do a better job as a coach to give him some packages because he's one of our best offensive players.
"And I think this is part of when you come into a year and you're considered one of the better offensive players in the league and you're a focal point of what we're doing offensively, you're going to see difficult things defensively from the opponents. ... I think JD will learn and grow from this."
Huge foul, free-throw disparity
Cincinnati was whistled for 28 fouls. Arkansas committed 15, according to the game's officials.
While Cincinnati made 11 of its 13 shots from the foul line, the Razorbacks took a total of 32 shots from the free-throw line and made 24 of them.
The disparity was obvious.
"I don't get into all that," Miller said. "I don't get into all the reasons why. We'll go look at the tape. I don't really ever complain about the officiating. I thought those guys were out there just doing their jobs. I've learned over the years sometimes you go back and watch the tape and they get a lot more stuff right than we do. So I don't ever complain about that. That's certainly not what I'm going to point to."
But again, the difference of shots at the foul line between the two teams was too great for Miller to ignore or just brush off.
"You look down and you would like to be to the free-throw line a lot more," he said. "And there's a big disparity. ... Yeah, that's a tough recipe to win close games."
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Cincinnati basketball: UC falls to Arkansas in Hall of Fame Classic