The Cincinnati Bearcats (15-2, 5-0 American Athletic Conference) won their eighth straight game with a 55-46 win over East Carolina on Sunday. The Bearcats were led by Kyle Washington, who scored 16 points and added 11 rebounds and three blocks. The win marks the 11th time in 12 games that the Bearcats have beaten ECU.
Cincinnati started with a 7-0 lead before commencing perhaps its worst 15 minute stretch of the season. Despite only two players scoring all half for the Pirates, they outscored the Bearcats 21-14 over that span. Troy Caupain had yet to score or even take a shot with the game tied 21-21 and 3:44 remaining in the half. He’d finally score with 2:38 remaining, and then roll off eight straight to give the Bearcats a 29-21 lead. They’d go into the half with a 31-23 lead.
Things didn’t go much better in the second half. The Bearcats scored just 24 points in the half and only shot 19-of-58 (32.8 percent) in the game, including 2-of-12 (16.7 percent) from behind the three point line. Cincinnati held a 10 to 12 point lead for most of the second half, but its lack of scoring and inability to put the Pirates away made for a frustrating night.
Yep this about sums up tonight's game. #Bearcats pic.twitter.com/qhHsFyqlgt— J. Scott Sewell (@jscottsewell) January 15, 2017
In an interesting bit of irony, the main area the Bearcats excelled in was free throw shooting. Cincinnati has struggled from the line all season, but hit 15-of-17 free throws to grab the road win. Jacob Evans led the way, hitting six of seven foul shots.
Ultimately, winning on the road in conference play is rarely going to be easy, so just escaping with the victory is an accomplishment. The Bearcats also held the Pirates to just 25.4 percent shooting while securing a 47-36 rebounding advantage.
The 55 points they scored matched a season-low, but the Bearcats have actually won both of those games. hey also beat Iowa State 55-54 back in December.
Next up for Cincinnati is a rematch against Temple on Wednesday. The Bearcats beat the Owls 56-50 to open conference play. Temple is just 1-5 in conference play, with its only win over ECU.