This weekend was filled with surprises in college basketball. The No. 19 Cincinnati Bearcats were not subjected to an upset like No. 1 Michigan State or that other school in Cincy, but they did take place in a surprising outcome, as they trounced the SMU Mustangs 76-56 at BB&T Arena on Sunday evening.
Why is this a surprise? Well, because the Mustangs are the defending American Athletic Conference champions and took two of three from UC last year, including a 71-56 win in the league’s title game. Well it appears that the Mustangs are now part of the middle portion of the league while UC and Wichita State are at the top. The No. No. 11 Shockers dominated USF on Saturday and join the Bearcats as the only two teams still undefeated in conference play among AAC squads.
UC (14-2, 3-0 AAC) was led to its seventh-straight win overall and national-best 35th-straight win at home by 18 points from Jacob Evans, who made 7-of-14 shots from the floor. Gary Clark also had 18 points and found time to include eight rebounds for good measure. Jarron Cumberland netted 14 points, but still had an off shooting night, going 4-of-13 from the floor and just 2-of-8 from beyond the arc.
Despite the big margin of victory, Cumberland wasn’t the only Bearcat to struggle with his shot. UC went just 41.4 percent from the field while making only 30.8 percent from three-point range.
Luckily, the patented UC defense throttled the Mustangs (12-5, 2-2), who shot just 37.5 percent while turning the ball over 18 times. That led to 26 points for the Bearcats. Jarrey Foster paced the Mustangs with 16 points while Shake Milton had 14 points.
UC’s next game is against USF on Saturday in Tampa, Florida. If you want to know when the Bearcats play Wichita State for the first time, its Feb. 18. But let’s focus on the Bulls for now.