TAMPA, Fla. (AP) — Jarron Cumberland scored 18 points and No. 14 Cincinnati shrugged off a slow start to beat South Florida 78-55 on Saturday night.
Jacob Evans III had 16 points and Kyle Washington added 14 to help the Bearcats (15-2, 4-0) remain unbeaten in American Athletic Conference play.
The victory was the eighth straight for Cincinnati, which shot 70 percent (14 of 20) while outscoring the Bulls 43-22 in the second half.
USF (7-11, 0-5) has lost six in a row, remaining winless in the AAC, where it has been beaten by an average of nearly 25 points per game.
Payton Banks led the Bulls with 22 points.
Cincinnati closed the opening half on a 24-12 run, turning a 10-point deficit into a 35-33 lead. That was as close as the score would be the rest of the way, with the Bearcats methodically building a double-digit lead of their own.
USF shot 57 percent in the first half, including four of five 3-pointers, but was outscored 17-5 from the foul line. The Bulls missed 11 of their first 16 shots coming out of the break and trailed by as many as 24 down the stretch.
Gary Clark finished with 10 points and 10 rebounds for Cincinnati.
Cincinnati: There was no panic when the Bearcats fell behind early. They offset poor shooting from the field by making 17 of 18 free throws before halftime. The second game of their Florida road swing figures to be more challenging. UCF (12-5, 3-2) has played well lately, winning eight of nine before last Wednesday’s 62-53 loss at UConn.
South Florida: First-year coach Brian Gregory inherited a program that lost 17 of its final 18 games last winter, so the Bulls are in a bonafide rebuilding mode with 10 new players, including three graduate transfers (Banks, Stephan Jiggetts, Terrence Samuel). Freshman David Collins has provided a lift off the bench the past six games and figures to get more playing time over the next few weeks.
LOOKIN’ FOR AN UPSET
The last time USF beat a ranked opponent was Feb. 29, 2012, when the Bulls knocked off No. 19 Louisville 58-51 on the road. Saturday was the sixth anniversary of their most recent upset of a ranked team at home, a 56-55 victory over No. 23 Seton Hall.
Cincinnati: At UCF on Tuesday night.
South Florida: At East Carolina on Wednesday night.
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