Now that’s a win even Mick Cronin can’t complain about.
Cincinnati (24-3, 12-1 American) defeated Tulsa (12-14, 6-8 American) 80-60 on Saturday afternoon to secure Mick Cronin’s 300th career win. All five starters scored in double figures, led by Kyle Washington’s 18 points on 7 of 9 shooting.
After needing a dramatic come-from-behind victory to beat Tulsa two weeks ago, the Bearcats controlled this one from the start. Jacob Evans made three three-pointers in the first nine minutes, to give Cincinnati an 18-15 lead. It appeared the Bearcats were ready to pull away when they increased the lead to 29-20, but Tulsa found a way to stick around. The Golden Hurricane outscored the Bearcats 12-9 the rest of the way to cut the lead to 38-32. It was a modest lead in a half that felt like the Bearcats were in control the whole way. This become a recurring theme throughout the season; Cincinnati’s point differential rarely matches their level of dominance.
The second half was a different story. The Bearcats jumped went on 16-2 run to open the half, and eventually led by as much as 27 points. It took Tulsa almost seven minutes to finally hit a basket in the second half. Cincinnati forced 17 turnovers, securing eight steals and five blocks.
Troy Caupain played 34 minutes without committing a turnover, and has now played a total of 73 minutes against the Golden Hurricane this season without a turnover. The senior point guard has a 10:1 assist to turnover ratio over the Bearcats past nine games. While he’s struggled from the field, he’s managed to become one of the top floor generals in college basketball.
It was the sixth straight loss for Tulsa who have now fallen completely out of the AAC picture after starting the conference slate 6-2. They end the season with a favorable schedule, but now seem likely to have to play on day one of the conference tournament next month.
Cincinnati won their second game in a row, after having their 15-game win streak snapped by SMU last Sunday. They’ll get a four-day break, including two days of rest of coach Cronin before facing Memphis for the first time this season on Thursday.