GREENVILLE, N.C. (AP) — Kyle Washington had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and No. 22 Cincinnati beat East Carolina 55-46 on Sunday for its eighth straight win.
Jacob Evans III added 10 points for the Bearcats (15-2, 5-0 American Athletic Conference), who overcame their own shooting struggles by making things even tougher on a Pirates team missing its top scorer.
Freshman Elijah Hughes scored 18 points in his first start and fellow freshman Jeremy Sheppard added 13 for East Carolina (9-10, 1-5).
Cincinnati entered with the nation’s No. 3 defense according to Ken Pomeroy’s advanced statistics, and the Bearcats held East Carolina to 25 percent from the field and to 4-of-23 shooting from 3-point range. The 46 points allowed was a season best.
The Bearcats’ trademark toughness led the way in this one, building a 47-36 rebounding advantage and blocking nine shots while holding yet another opponent well under 70 points. Now the challenge is getting the offense clicking again.
The Pirates’ first game without top scorer B.J. Tyson, who injured his leg in a loss to Houston last time out, also marked the last one before coach Jeff Lebo starts a leave of absence Monday to have hip surgery. Their defense played well enough to steal this one, but the offense outside of Hughes and Sheppard was virtually nonexistent — the rest of the team was a combined 5 of 30.
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