Troy Caupain stepped up when his needed it.
Cincinnati’s star point guard has a disappointing senior season, but he played his best game of the year in the biggest moment, going for 23 points and seven boards as the No. 6-seeded Bearcats easily handled No. 11 Kansas State, 75-61, in their first round game on Friday evening.
Cincinnati jumped out to a 13-point lead early in the first half and led by as many as 17 points down the stretch. The Bearcats did catch a break in the first half, as Wesley Iwundu picked up three early fouls, which played a role in Cincinnati’s ability to pull away in the first half. Known as one of the best defensive teams in the country, the Bearcats actually show 62 percent from the floor Friday.
The Bearcats actually became the first No. 6 seed to win their opening round game this season; Creighton, Maryland and AAC rival SMU all lost in the first round this week. With the win, they will advance to take on, in all likelihood, No. 3 UCLA, as long as they don’t lose to No. 14 Kent State on Friday evening.