LAS VEGAS (AP)—No. 22 Cincinnati was tested in a big way when its offense sputtered in the second half Saturday night. The Bearcats found their shooting stroke in time to continue their perfect start.
Cashmere Wright made five 3-pointers and scored 17 points to lead Cincinnati to a 77-66 win over Oregon in the championship game of the Global Sports Classic.
The Bearcats (6-0) led by nine at the break but Oregon opened the second half with a 21-10 surge to move in front. Cincinnati then closed the game with a 25-12 stretch to secure the win.
“The key for us is we settled down and once we settled down we knocked down a few shots and got our confidence back,” coach Mick Cronin said. “We scored 27 points from the time they took a two-point lead (because) we started executing offensively and had some guys make some big shots for us.”
The Bearcats had four players score in double figures. Sean Kilpatrick and JaQuon Parker had 16 points apiece, and Titus Rubles scored 13.
One night after holding Iowa State to 37.3 percent shooting, the Bearcats held Oregon to 35.8 percent (19 of 53). Cincinnati wasn’t much better, shooting 36.9 percent (24 of 65) from the floor, but made 11 of 24 3-point tries.
Carlos Emery led Oregon (5-1) with 15 points and nine rebounds. E.J. Singler added 11 points.
The Ducks held Cincinnati scoreless for 3 1/2 minutes early in the second half, just long enough to cut into the Bearcats’ lead and get back into the game. An 8-0 run got Oregon within two, and Johnathan Lloyd’s 3-pointer at the 13:27 mark trimmed Cincinnati’s advantage to 47-46.
The Bearcats responded with five straight points to go back up by six, but then had to endure another 3 1/2 -minute scoreless drought. Oregon took its first lead of the game when Dominic Artis stole the ball from Wright and fed Damyean Dotson for a fast-break layup that made it 54-52 with 7:40 left.
“Give Oregon credit for coming back,” Cronin said. “We showed a lot of character. We keep it interesting, that’s for sure. We’ve got veteran guys who can defend, and we got a lot of open shots off (our defensive) effort.”
Cincinnati bounced back with an 11-0 run to grab control.
“My teammates were giving me confidence, they just kept patting me on the back after a bad first half,” said Rubles, who scored nine points down the stretch to spark his team’s late run. “I got into a rhythm. I know I can hit that shot on a regular basis.”
The Bearcats went 8 for 14 from 3-point range in the first half and led 42-33 at the break. Wright scored 12 in the first half on four 3s, and Kilpatrick had 11 points at intermission.