MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Jarron Cumberland scored 17 points and keyed a late rally as No. 25 Cincinnati overcame a poor shooting night to beat the Memphis Tigers 69-64 on Thursday night.
Justin Jenifer scored 14 and Tre Scott finished with 13 points and nine rebounds as Cincinnati (20-3, 9-1 American Athletic Conference), which moved into the Top 25 this week, won its eighth straight.
Jeremiah Martin led Memphis (13-10, 5-5) with 26 points, converting 8 of 14 from 3-point range. Kyvon Davenort added 12 points and 10 rebounds, while Mike Parks Jr. finished with 11 points as Memphis lost its third straight.
The Cincinnati lead was 58-55 with 2 ½ minutes left, whenCumberland scored the next nine Bearcat points to provide a buffer Memphis couldn’t overcome in the closing minute.
Cincinnati, which averages 75 points a game was stymied by a 39.7 percent shooting night (25 of 56).
Cincinnati was still trailing by 10 near the 15-minute mark of the second half, when it began chipping away at the Memphis lead. A 12-2 run fueled by a defense that forced four Memphis turnovers, brought the Bearcats even at 46-each near the midway point of the second.
It was Keith Williams who spurred the Bearcats after Memphis re-took the lead. During a spurt of 10 straight Cincinnati points, Williams had seven of them. A dunk by Nysier Brooks took the Bearcat lead to 58-52 with 3-plus minutes left.
At the end, Cumberland, who struggled earlier, made the difference.
Both teams started fast converting 67 percent of their early shots, including adept accuracy from outside the arc. Martin, who had 41 points in the second half of Saturday’s loss at South Florida, converted his first four 3-point attempts. Meanwhile, the Bearcats were 8 of 10 from distance, including 3 of 4 from Jenifer.
The scoring pace slowed at that point as Cincinnati went on a drought, making only one of its last 15 shots in the half. That helped Memphis build the largest lead of the half at 35-27 before carrying a 35-29 lead into the break.
Cincinnati didn’t convert a shot from the field in the final 7 minutes, but Memphis was only 1 of 7 to close the half.
Part of Memphis’ success at that point was keeping Cumberland in check as the Bearcats leading scorer was 1 of 4 from the field, scoring only five points.
Ten Cincinnati turnovers only added to the Bearcats’ first-half woes.
The lead would reach 11 points early in the second half.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats survived a poor shooting night to keep their winning streak alive and secure their national ranking Cincinnati won the boards 38-32, including 14 form the offensive glass, leading to 12 second-chance points.
Memphis: The Tigers, who have played well at home this year got off to a fast start and stayed close even during the second-half Cincinnati rally. They had controlled Cumberland until the game’s latter stages, but couldn’t stop him in the final minutes.
Cincinnati: Visit Houston on Sunday afternoon
Memphis: Host UConn on Sunday afternoon.