No. 19 Cincinnati rallies past No. 24 Xavier


By Joe Kay - AP Sports Writer



CINCINNATI (AP) — Jacob Evans III scored 21 points and led No. 19 Cincinnati’s second-half surge to an 86-78 victory over No. 24 Xavier on the Bearcats’ home court Thursday night, ending the Musketeers’ streak of three straight wins in their annual crosstown rivalry game.

The Bearcats (18-2) got their 11th straight win by overcoming Trevon Bluiett’s incredible shooting performance — 12 of 15 for a career-high 40 points.

Cincinnati dominated up front as Xavier (14-6) got little out of its front line. The Bearcats controlled the boards 42-18 and had 30 second-chance points.

Evans scored the first three points in a 15-2 run that put Cincinnati ahead to stay. Gary Clark added 13 points and 11 rebounds.

Bluiett made all of his eight shots in the first half for 26 points and his first 10 overall before missing a rushed 3 to beat the shot clock. He was 9 of 11 from beyond the arc, tying the school record for 3s in a game.

BIG PICTURE

Xavier: The Musketeers didn’t get much outside of Bluiett. They came in ranked 15th nationally in rebounding margin at 7.6 per game, but got pushed around inside in all ways. Forwards RaShid Gaston and Sean O’Mara were a combined 0 of 7 with seven rebounds. Point guard Edmond Sumner, playing with a brace on his injured left shoulder, was 1 of 7 with six points.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats’ 11-game winning streak is their longest since they took 15 in a row in 2013-14. They have won 20 straight home games, their third-longest streak since their current arena opened in 1989. Their last loss was to Temple on Dec. 29, 2015.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Xavier was No. 7 in the preseason poll, but the loss to its crosstown rival leaves the Musketeers in danger of falling out of the Top 25 for the first time this season. Cincinnati has been ranked for eight straight weeks, with No. 19 its best spot.

UP NEXT

The Musketeers play St. John’s at Madison Square Garden on Sunday. They beat the Red Storm 97-82 at the Cintas Center on Jan. 7.

The Bearcats host South Florida on Sunday, having won six straight in the series.

By Joe Kay

AP Sports Writer