Kevin Johnson's 13 points and a double-double from Octavius Ellis led the Bearcats, as Cincinnati beat UCF, 69-51. The win pushes the Bearcats to 18-7 on the season overall and 8-4 in the American Athletic Conference. The Knights had Cincinnati fans on the edge of their seats in the early-going, but the Bearcats ultimately pulled away late, with four Bearcats reaching double-digit point totals.
While the final score looks good for the Bearcats, it wasn't pretty early on for Cincinnati. Johnson and Farad Cobb knocked down two three-pointers in the first couple minutes of the game, giving them an 8-4 lead. Cincinnati would add three more three-pointers en route to a 24-16 lead with seven minutes remaining in the first half.
With the Bearcats seemingly in control, UCF knocked down three straight threes with two from Matt Williams. An A.J. Davis layup put the Knights up 27-24, capping their 11-0 streak. Gary Clark would knock down two free throws to break the streak. Troy Caupain and Quadri Moore, who also got in on the three-point shooting, closed out the half for the Bearcats. Cincinnati led 31-30.
Williams was unstoppable in the first half for UCF, scoring 18 points. He would finish with 24 points on 8-of-15 from the field and 6-of-12 from three. His hot shooting stretch was eerily reminiscent of previous games this season where one or two players found a rhythm and almost single-handedly kept pace with the Bearcats. While Williams would cool off, he did lead the Knights in scoring with Davis adding 16 points.
The second half was much more relaxing for Cincinnati fans as Cincinnati would outscore UCF 13-3 to start the second half and wouldn't turn back from there. The Bearcats would continue to pour it on behind Ellis, Johnson and Gary Clark. With 6:50 left in the game, Cincinnati took their largest lead of the game with a 60-40 advantage. When it was all said and done, Cincinnati outscored the Knights 38-21 in the second half to comfortably defeat UCF, 69-51.
Johnson led the Bearcats with 13 points on 3-of-4 shooting from beyond the arc. Ellis had 10 points, but also was dominant in the paint, securing 14 rebounds. Clark didn't secure a double-double, but scored 11 points, grabbed eight rebounds, dished out five assists and even had four blocks. Cobb finished with 12 points.
The Bearcats were solid from three, hitting 10-of-23 (43.5%) shots. They only shot 23-of-63 (36.5%) from the field, but did out-rebound the Knights 43-30. UCF had similar shooting numbers going 10-of-25 (40.0%) from three and 16-of-42 (38.1%) from the field.
Cincinnati moves to the 18-7 (8-4) on the season with their next game Saturday, February 13 against East Carolina.