CINCINNATI (AP) — Jarron Cumberland scored a career-high 34 points, and Cincinnati blew a 14-point lead and had coach Mick Cronin ejected before rallying for an 82-74 victory over South Florida on Tuesday night.
The Bearcats (15-3, 4-1 American Athletic) got their third win in six days. The last two came in overtime, and this one unfolded with their coach gone from the sideline.
With 18 minutes left, Cronin got a technical from official Lee Cassell for arguing a foul called on Nysier Brooks. Cronin became enraged and had to be restrained by Brooks, drawing another technical from official Mark Schnur, resulting in his ejection.
Cincinnati has won 10 straight games against the Bulls (12-5, 2-3), who suffered their most lopsided loss of the season. South Florida’s five losses have come by a total of 19 points. The Bulls were coming off an 82-80 overtime loss at Temple.
LaQuincy Rideau scored 15 of his 26 points before fouling out in the second half, when South Florida managed to tie the score twice but couldn’t pull ahead.
Cumberland hit the big shots to blunt the comeback and finished 9 of 20 from the field and 14 of 16 from the free-throw line. After South Florida tied it for the last time 65-65, Cumberland had a jumper, three free throws and an assist during a 7-2 spurt that put the Bearcats ahead to stay.
South Florida: The Bulls are among the best in the country at getting steals, but their carelessness with the ball doomed them. They had 15 turnovers in the first half and 21 overall, setting up 30 of Cincinnati’s points.
Cincinnati: After back-to-back overtime wins, the Bearcats sweated out another one but came through the tough six-day stretch unbeaten behind Cumberland’s big game. The junior scored 19 in the first half.
South Florida hosts Houston on Saturday.
Cincinnati plays at Wichita State on Saturday.