HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (AP) — Coming off its best game, No. 20 Cincinnati wanted to keep the momentum going against an overmatched opponent. The Bearcats did it for a half.
Cane Broome matched his season high with 17 points Tuesday night as Cincinnati rolled to a 77-49 victory over winless Arkansas-Pine Bluff, extending the nation’s longest home-court winning streak. They were coming off a 77-63 win at UCLA, their best showing yet.
They’d hoped for more in their encore.
“Last night all I talked to our guys about is we can’t take two steps back,” associate head coach Larry Davis said. “We played really well against UCLA. We can’t now go out and because our opponent is somebody with less talent, we can’t turn the ball over, we can’t not rebound the ball. That’s the constant battle.”
The Bearcats had 15 turnovers and 14 offensive rebounds, fewer than they’d expected against a much smaller opponent. They got up by 34 points early in the second half and coasted.
“It’s hard to come out when you’re up 30 and try to get back in the groove,” Broome said. “We’ve got to get better at that.”
Even though they didn’t get many style points, the Bearcats (10-2) extended their streak. They have won 32 straight home games on two courts. They’re playing this season at BB&T Arena at Northern Kentucky University while their on-campus arena is renovated. They went 18-0 at Fifth Third Arena last season.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff (0-13) took another lopsided loss as part of its brutal season-opening stretch. The Golden Lions have yet to play a home game. They’ve lost their last four games by 27, 26, 22 and 28 points, hoping the games prepare them for Southwestern Athletic Conference play.
“They put a lot of pressure on us, and it helped us get used to that,” coach George Ivory said. “We’re not going to see that kind of pressure in conference, that size and athletic ability, but it was good for us to play them and learn something from it.”
Cincinnati pulled ahead 26-2 as the Golden Lions missed seven of eight shots, committed nine fouls and had 11 turnovers. It was 43-16 at halftime, with Arkansas-Pine Bluff shooting 26 percent.
Jacob Evans III added 12 points and a team-high seven rebounds for Cincinnati, which dominated the boards 42-28. Travon Harper led the Golden Lions with 16 points.
Davis took questions from the media in place of coach Mick Cronin, who has a bad cold.
Arkansas-Pine Bluff: It was the 13th of 17 straight games away from home for the Golden Lions, who are 0-6 in true road games and 0-7 on neutral courts — they played in the Rainbow Classic and the Men Against Breast Cancer Showcase. Their first three SWAC games also are on the road. They don’t play at home until Jan. 13 against Southern.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats have two games against overmatched teams in three days, giving them a chance to work on their half-court offense that struggled during losses to Xavier and Florida . They used 12 players in the first half and shot 54 percent while taking the big lead.
EVANS ON A STREAK
During the last five games, Evans has averaged 17.6 points while going 30 of 61 from the field.
WASHINGTON CLOSES IN
Kyle Washington scored five points, leaving him 18 shy of 1,000 for his career at North Carolina State and Cincinnati.
Jarron Cumberland scored only four points, fell hard on his lower back with 49 seconds left in the first half, and didn’t return. In his last eight games, Cumberland is shooting 34 percent from the field, including 10 of 30 from beyond the arc. Davis said he sat out the second half as a precaution.
The Golden Lions had 14 turnovers in the first half against Cincinnati’s pressure defense. The Bearcats eased up defensively, and Arkansas-Pine Bluff finished with a season-high 22 turnovers.
The Golden Lions play at Tennessee-Martin on Friday.
The Bearcats host Cleveland State on Thursday, the second of three straight home games. They open American Athletic Conference play by hosting Memphis on Dec. 31.