HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (AP) — Kyle Washington scored 13 points, Gary Clark added 12, and No. 6 Cincinnati gave another dominating defensive performance on Tuesday night, beating Central Florida 77-40 for its 15th straight win.
The Bearcats (22-2, 11-0 American Athletic) dug in against a low-scoring team and extended the nation’s longest active home-court winning streak to 39 games. The Knights managed only 13 points in the first half, matching the fewest that Cincinnati has allowed in an opening half during coach Mick Cronin’s 12 seasons.
UCF (14-9, 5-6) was 0 for 14 beyond the arc overall and went more than 12 minutes without scoring in the first half. Ceasar DeJesus had 12 points for the Knights, who shot 28 percent overall.
Clark failed to score in the first half, but made Cincinnati’s first 10 points in the second half for a 43-15 lead.
The game matched two of the nation’s top defensive teams. It showed the last time they played, with Cincinnati grinding out a 49-38 win at UCF on Jan. 16.
The rematch followed the form at the outset. UCF went 12 minutes, 36 seconds without scoring — the Knights missed 14 shots and turned it over six times — as Cincinnati pulled ahead 18-2. The Bearcats led 33-13 at halftime despite shooting 32 percent.
UCF: The Knights were hoping their offense got a boost when point guard B.J. Taylor returned after missing the first 15 games with a foot injury, but he suffered another setback. Taylor went to the bench with 3:33 left in the first half, got his right ankle examined and didn’t return. He missed all of his five shots and didn’t score. Taylor had scored in double figures in each of the four previous games.
Cincinnati: The last time the Bearcats were ranked No. 6 was Jan. 20, 2004. They haven’t been ranked higher since the 2001-02 season, when they got as high as No. 4 after opening the season unranked.
UCF: Plays its second straight road game at Memphis. The Knights beat the Tigers 65-55 on Jan. 3.
Cincinnati: Plays at Southern Methodist. The Bearcats beat SMU 76-56 on Jan. 7.
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