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Bearcats Grind Out Win Over Temple in AAC Opener

It wasn’t pretty but the Bearcats don’t do pretty all that often.

NCAA Basketball: Cincinnati at Temple Derik Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 23 Cincinnati Bearcats fought their way out of Philadelphia on Wednesday night, slugging their way to a 56-50 win over the Temple Owls in the opener of American Athletic Conference play for both teams.

In a game during which neither team held a double-digit lead, UC (11-2, 1-0 AAC) did enough to secure its fourth-straight win and avenge a pair of setbacks to the Owls last season, including a 77-70 loss in last year’s conference opener.

Neither team found much offensive success, with the Bearcats shooting 32.8 percent from the floor and 27.8 percent from three-point range (5-of-18). The Owls were unable to use their homecourt advantage to, well, their advantage and made a measly 26.7 percent from the field. In addition, although they made as many triples as UC (five) they needed eight more attempts to get there.

Gary Clark and Jacob Evans each scored 11 points to lead the way for UC, although on a combined 8-of-21 shooting. Clark also secured six rebounds and blocked two shots. Evans had a pair of steals as well. Kyle Washington started but played only 18 minutes during which he accumulated six points and seven rebounds while going 2-of-9 from the field. Tre Scott (five points, six rebounds, two steals and a block) and Jarron Cumberland (six points, five rebounds, 2-of-4 from three-point range) were the most effective reserves, helping the Bearcats to an 18-4 edge in bench points.

Daniel Dingle had a game-high 15 points on 4-of-17 shooting to pace the Owls (9-5, 0-1), who had won their previous two games.

Cincinnati will be in action again on Sunday when it plays host to the Tulane Green Wave at 7 p.m. at Fifth Third Arena. The Bearcats ran away with a 97-75 victory at home against the Green Wave in the lone meeting between the two last season.