ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Gary Clark scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds to help No. 12 Cincinnati to a 49-38 victory over Central Florida.
Jacob Evans added 10 points for the Bearcats (16-2, 5-0 American Athletic Conference), who won their ninth straight game.
UCF (12-6, 3-3) got seven points apiece from Tacko Fall, Terrell Allen and Dayon Griffin, but struggled the entire game to get inside the Bearcats defense. UCF shot just 30 percent for the game and committed 14 turnovers.
It was expected to be a defensive game and both teams played up to that for the entire 40 minutes.
Cincinnati, which has suffered slow starts in its last three games, overcame this one by using speed in transition to beat the Knights down the court. That was especially effective when Fall, UCF’s 7-foot-6 center, was on the bench, which he was when Clark made a layup to put the Bearcats ahead for good at the 13:40 mark of the second half.
Clark’s basket was the start of a 10-2 run that gave Cincinnati a 38-30 lead.
UCF made a brief run when Fall got six straight points on two dunks and a layup to cut the deficit to 39-36, but the rally died when the Knights center missed two free throws on the next possession.
Clark took an alley-oop pass and slammed it home at the other end to push Cincinnati’s lead to 45-36 with 3:52 left in the game and UCF never got closer.