No. 24 Cincinnati defeats PSU

UNCASVILLE, Conn. (AP) — No. 24 Cincinnati got back into the paint Sunday and back into the win column.

Kyle Washington had 16 points and 17 rebounds and the Bearcats beat Penn State 71-50 in the consolation game of the Hall of Fame Tip-Off.

Jacob Evans added 14 points for Cincinnati (3-1), which bounced back from a loss to No. 21 Rhode Island on Saturday by dominating the Nittany Lions.

Cincinnati shot 50 percent for the game (30 for 60) doing much of their damage in the lane, where they had a 34-18 scoring advantage.

“We had some talks (last night),” said Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin. “You try to win with jump shots, you’re not going to make the NCAA tournament. We understand how to make it. You’ve got to play defense, got to rebound and you’ve got to do it with toughness.”

Shep Garner had 20 points to lead Penn State (2-3), after scoring 15 in the team’s 10-point loss Saturday to top-ranked Duke.

This one wasn’t nearly as competitive.

The Bearcats put the game away early, using an 18-1 run to build a 32-10 advantage.

Washington, a North Carolina State transfer, had 10 of his points and seven rebounds in the first half when the Bearcats shot 59 percent from the field, getting inside almost at will. They went into halftime leading 34-19.

“We have to be focused on playing as a unit,” Washington said. “I’m not saying it because it sounds good, but we have to keep on working.”

Cincinnati outrebounded Penn State 40-26, including 10-3 on the offensive boards.

“We just decided if we really wanted to win and be a great team, we were going to have to buy in and do what Coach has been telling us,” Evans said. “We’ve got to play defense, rebound and play with toughness. We finally bought into that and it showed today.”

BIG PICTURE

Cincinnati: The Bearcats were defeated at their own game of aggressiveness and hustle in the loss to Rhode Island . The Rams won the rebounding battle by nine and had 16 offensive boards.  “We got away from our identity in the second half yesterday,” Cronin said. “I know they’d rather have played today than dealt with me in practice. Let’s just be honest.”… Senior guard Troy Caupain, the American Athletic Conference’s preseason player of the year, averaged 10 points, five rebounds and 5.3 assists in his first three games. He had 12 points, seven rebounds and three assists on Sunday.

Penn State: Coach Patrick Chambers came to Mohegan Sun looking for progress. He felt the 78-68 loss to No. 1 Duke on Saturday qualified as a step forward .  And Blue Devils coach Mike Krzyzewski gave the Nittany Lions high praise. “That was a good win for us against a program that’s emerging,” he said.

Sunday’s effort was a step back, but coach Patrick Chambers said that will happen with a young team that starts three freshmen.

“I was wary going into this game after playing and competing so hard yesterday and having such a quick team and playing an older team, we really didn’t respond in that first four to eight minutes,” he said.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Cincinnati likely will fall from the Top 25 after Saturday’s loss to No. 21 Rhode Island, despite the strong bounce-back effort against the Nittany Lions.

UP NEXT

Cincinnati: After the weekend trip to Connecticut, the Bearcats return home to play Samford Wednesday night. Cincinnati’s next big test comes Dec. 1 at Iowa State.

Penn State: Colgate visits Happy Valley on Wednesday. After Thanksgiving, Penn State travels to George Washington on Saturday.