TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Kevin Johnson scored 14 points and Gary Clark had 13 points and 14 rebounds as No. 18 Cincinnati bounced back from its first loss in two months with a 68-54 victory over South Florida on Wednesday night.
Wilmington High School graduate Jarron Cumberland finished with seven points, four rebounds and two assists in 31 minutes of action.
The Bearcats (23-2, 12-1 American) shrugged off last Sunday’s nine-point loss to SMU and surpassed their victory total for last season. Kyle Washington had 13 points and nine rebounds, while Jacob Evans overcame early foul trouble to finish with 10 points.
USF (7-18, 1-13) snapped a 12-game losing streak last weekend and found a way to keep it relatively close until Cincinnati began the second half on an 11-2 run to build its lead to 41-24. Geno Thorpe led the Bulls with 19 points.
Cincinnati never trailed and limited USF to 36 percent shooting, while blocking eight shots and forcing 21 turnovers. The Bearcats led 30-22 at halftime and by as many as 24 points after the break.
Predictably, Cincinnati rebounded from its first loss in two months in convincing fashion. USF has only won once in 12 games since Murry Bartow took over as interim coach, and the Bulls haven’t beaten a ranked opponent since upsetting Louisville on the road in February 2012. The Bearcats won the first meeting between the teams by 41 points on Jan. 29 and lead the all-time series 31-8.
Last Sunday’s loss to then-No. 25 SMU sent Cincinnati tumbling seven spots in the poll, while SMU moved up to No. 19. Beating USF won’t hurt the Bearcats, but it’s not likely help them make up any ground that they lost in this week’s rankings.
Cincinnati returns home to face Tulsa on Saturday. The Bearcats have won 23 straight at Fifth Third Arena.
USF plays Saturday at Tulane, which beat the Bulls 82-67 on the road for the Green Wave’s only conference victory.
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