Four Cincinnati starters scored in double figures Saturday as the No. 12 Bearcats remained unbeaten in the American Athletic Conference with an 86-60 win over East Carolina at BB&T Arena in Highland Heights, Ky.
Jacob Evans and Kyle Washington each tallied 17 points for Cincinnati (17-2, 6-0). Gary Clark added a 14-point, 14-rebound double-double, and Jarron Cumberland chipped in 14 points as the Bearcats won their 36th straight home game, the nation’s longest active streak.
The Pirates (8-11, 2-6) got 15 points each from Shawn Williams and Isaac Fleming, plus 10 from Kentrell Barkley. They hung around with Cincinnati for just over a half before their shooting cooled. East Carolina hit 55 percent from the field in the first half, but finished the game at just over 42 percent.
Cincinnati trailed for more than 4 1/2 minutes of the first half. The teams swapped the lead six times as the Pirates initially matched the Bearcats’ intensity on defense and the boards.
B.J. Tyson’s bucket at the 12:38 mark of the first half gave the Pirates a 15-12 edge. The teams were still tied at 18 just over nine minutes into the game when Cincinnati’s balance and experience took over. Evans’ 3-pointer with 8:02 remaining in the half finished a 12-4 run that made it 30-22. At halftime, its lead was 46-38.
East Carolina was still within 52-47 with 15:51 left in the game after Williams converted a layup, but it wore down from that point. The Bearcats upped the lead into double figures for good when Washington finished off a 3-point play with 12:06 remaining for a 62-51 advantage.
“We realize what we have to do to get stops and pull away from teams like that,” Clark said.
Cincinnati made 45.2 percent of its field-goal attempts, but its major advantages statistically were offensive rebounds and points off turnovers. The Bearcats grabbed 22 rebounds of its missed shots and converted those into 21 points while scoring 19 points off 15 Pirates turnovers.
— Field Level Media