Maybe all the Bearcats needed was a little rest.
Kyle Washington scored 21 points and Jacob Evans added 20 points of his own as Cincinnati (28-4, 16-2 American) easily defeated Tulsa (15-17, 8-10 American) 80-61 in the quarterfinals of the AAC Tournament on Friday. It was the Bearcats first game since Sunday, providing the players with their longest period of rest since Christmas.
Cincinnati looked determined right from the start, jumping out to a 23-12 advantage behind three pointers from Jacob Evans and Jarron Cumberland. Senior point guard, Troy Caupain set the tone for the Bearcats in the first half, scoring eight points, and adding five rebounds and five assists. Cincinnati would stretch the lead to 40-25 by the end of the half thanks to six three pointers and some ferocious defense that included this block from Gary Clark.
Kyle Washington took over in the second half, scoring 15 of his game-high 21 points during the half. Tulsa’s big men simply couldn’t stop his array of post moves, including his impossible-to-block, turn-around, left-handed hook shot. He’d eventually stretch the lead as high as 24 points with a basket at the 6:24 mark of the second half. He also added this impressive bucket that the announcers didn’t seem overly excited about.
This game was never really a contest though. Tulsa battled as best they could, but this Cincinnati team looked as focused and determined as they have at any point during the regular season. They forced the Golden Hurricane into 14 turnovers, helping to give the Bearcats a 12 shot advantage.
Perhaps the best news of all for Cincinnati is that nobody played more than 29 minutes. The Bearcats could be in for a long three days, and every minute of rest they can give their starters will help the cause come Saturday when they’ll likely have to face SMU again.
This was the third time this season that Cincinnati has defeated Tulsa. This result very neatly matched what happened last time the two teams played, when the Bearcats won 80-60. Kyle Washington and Jacob Evans led the way in that game too.
Next up for Cincinnati is a semifinal matchup against either Connecticut or Houston. The Bearcats have already beaten both of those teams twice this season, and if they end up facing the Huskies it will be a rematch of last year’s four-overtime thriller that saw Connecticut beat the Bearcats 104-97.
Personally, I wouldn’t have it any other way.