Temple finds out that Cincy's home dominance travels

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Temple finds out that Cincy's home dominance travels


HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. -- In the 117-year history of Cincinnati's basketball program, only four players had accumulated at least 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds.

Senior forward Gary Clark made it five Wednesday night.

"Anytime you do something at Cincinnati that Oscar Robertson did," coach Mick Cronin said, "that's pretty impressive."

Clark had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Jarron Cumberland scored 11 of his 13 in the first half to help the No. 9 Bearcats extend the nation's longest home winning streak with a 75-42 victory over Temple.

With the score out of reach in the second half, attention turned to Clark, who came into the game needing eight rebounds for 1,000. He grabbed his eighth board with 18 minutes remaining, then added two more before subbing out to a loud ovation with eight minutes left.

Clark has 1,259 points and 1,002 rebounds during his distinguished career.

"I'm really happy for him," Cronin said. "It's an incredible achievement. He's a winning player, probably the most valuable player in our conference with all the things he does."

Kyle Washington had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bearcats (17-2, 7-0 American Athletic Conference), who won their 11th consecutive game overall and 37th straight at home while completing a regular-season sweep of the Owls.

Cincinnati is playing home games at BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky University while its own building gets renovated.

It was the worst loss of the season for Temple (10-10, 2-6), which shot a season-low 28.6 percent and committed 20 turnovers.

"They make you run your offense differently," Owls coach Fran Dunphy said. "You have to play basketball, you have to make a cut, you have to be strong with the basketball. We drove the middle of the floor and got a number of turnovers just by not being strong enough with the ball."

The Bearcats won the first meeting 55-53 on Jacob Evans III's jumper with a second left on Jan. 4 in Philadelphia. This one wasn't even close.

The Owls scored the first five points of the game, then went scoreless for nearly five minutes. It was one of two Temple scoring droughts that approached five minutes in the first half.

"I'm really happy with how we played tonight," Cronin said. "We were more aggressive with on-the-ball and pick-and-roll defense. We started playing downhill."

The Bearcats had runs of 7-0 and 10-0 and led 35-19 at halftime. Temple shot 2 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half and committed nine turnovers.

Cincinnati kept rolling in the second half. Clark had a 3-pointer and a dunk to put the Bearcats ahead 60-30.

"We turned it over 20 times overall, but some of that was obviously late in the game," Dunphy said. "You have to hang your head a little bit and say we have to do better and learn from it."

Quinton Rose and Ernest Aflakpui each scored seven points for the Owls.

Top town
Cincinnati and No. 8 Xavier are both ranked in the top 10 this week, the first time since 1958 that the crosstown rivals have been in the top 10 simultaneously. The Musketeers played at home earlier Wednesday and defeated Marquette 89-70.

The Bearcats have been ranked in the AP poll for 27 consecutive weeks, the longest streak during Cronin's tenure and the sixth-longest streak in school history. The No. 9 ranking is the highest for the Bearcats since 2013-14.

Two grand
The previous Bearcats player to reach 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career was Robert Miller in 1979.

Big picture
Temple: The Owls trailed by as many as 34 points. The largest deficit the Owls previously had faced this season was 23 points in an 84-66 loss on Dec. 22 at Georgia.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats are 11-0 this season at BB&T Arena after going 18-0 last season at Fifth Third Arena, which is undergoing an $87 million upgrade. Temple was the last team to win at Cincinnati, a 77-70 victory on Dec. 29, 2015.

Up next
Temple: The Owls host UConn on Sunday.

Cincinnati: The Bearcats play at Memphis on Saturday. They defeated the Tigers 82-48 on Dec. 31 at BB&T Arena.

Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

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Knicks will reportedly reach out to Jay Wright about coaching job

Fresh off a second national championship in three years, this was bound to happen. Jay Wright is a hot name. 

And according to the New York Daily News, the Knicks plan on reaching out to Wright about their vacant head coaching job. 

Just don’t expect Wright to be interested. 

The 56-year-old coach has been determined to build Villanova into a powerhouse since he took the head coaching gig way back in 2001 and he’s finally done that. On the surface, maybe some think that would be enough to make him want to take his coaching to the top league in the world. Not so fast. 

In a recent interview with The Athletic, Wright said pretty flatly that he’s staying at Villanova because he loves it there. 

“The NBA does intrigue me,” Wright said. “That challenge is appealing but it’s not worth giving up working with these guys. The whole thing is, to take a new challenge you have to give up what you have. I don’t want to give up what I have. Would I like to coach in the NBA? Yes. But I have to give this up in order to do that, and I don’t see that happening.”

In that interview, Wright talked about his time at Hofstra and quoted Jim Valvano, who once said, ‘Don’t mess with happy.’ That was true at Hofstra until the Villanova job came around, so maybe there’s a chance the Knicks could blow him away. It just doesn’t seem likely. 

The Knicks just fired head coach Jeff Hornacek after a 29-53 record in 2017. The Knicks haven’t had a winning record since 2012-13. 

The New York Daily News cites a source, who said the Knicks believe Wright would be a “perfect candidate for a rebuilding club.” The Knicks might be right, but don’t bet on them getting Wright. 

Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

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Jalen Brunson hires agent, declares for NBA draft

Villanova is losing its second star player in two days. 

Guard Jalen Brunson has decided to hire an agent and enter the 2018 NBA Draft, he wrote in a letter to Nova Nation on ESPN. He will forego his senior season at Villanova after an incredible college career. 

This news comes a day after his teammate Mikal Bridges announced he will also head to the NBA draft.

“It is with great honor and privilege that I have called Villanova University my home for the past three years,” Brunson wrote in ESPN. “When I decided to commit to Coach Jay Wright and the basketball program, I was driven by three goals: getting my education, competing at the highest level and winning a national championship. While I pride myself on remaining disciplined and focused to achieve these goals, I have grown as a man and have established lifelong relationships with my teammates, classmates, members of the basketball staff, fellow student-athletes and the wonderful educators and administrators of this prestigious university.”

Brunson leaves Villanova as one of the greatest players in Wildcats history, helping lead Villanova to its second national championship in three years. 

The 6-foot-3 guard averaged 18.9 points, 4.6 assists and 3.1 rebounds per game this season. Brunson was named the Big East Player of the Year and was the Wooden Award and Naismith Award winner this season.