No. 15 Cincinnati eases past Tulsa in AAC quarterfinals
HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) Kyle Washington scored 21 points and Jacob Evans added 20 to lead No. 15 Cincinnati to an 80-61 rout of Tulsa in the American Athletic Conference quarterfinals on Friday night.
Troy Caupain added 15 points for the Bearcats (28-4), who led for all but 17 seconds and by as many as 24 points.
Corey Henderson Jr. had 15 points and Sterling Taplin scored 10 for Tulsa, which lost three of its final four games to finish the season 15-17.
The Bearcats hit five of their first seven attempts from 3-point range. A shot by Jarron Cumberland from behind the arc on the right wing gave Cincinnati an early 23-12 lead.
Cincinnati closed the first half on a 7-0 run and went into the intermission ahead 40-25.
Tulsa’s Junior Etou, who had averaged 16 points over the final five games of the regular season, had just eight points, including two points on three shots in the first half. He scored the Hurricane’s first six in the second half, but by then it was too late.
A 3-pointer by Evans gave Cincinnati its first 20-point lead at 51-31.
Washington scored 15 of his points in the second half, dominating the offensive paint. The 6-foot-9 junior hit 8 of his 10 shots from the floor and all five from the foul line.
Evans led the outside attack, also going 8 for 10 from the field, including all three from behind the arc, where the Bearcats were 8 of 20.
Cincinnati also won the rebounding battle 35-27 and had 19 second-chance points, while holding Tulsa to just five.
Cincinnati is looking for its first conference tournament title since it won the Conference USA championship in 2004.
Tulsa lost both regular-season meetings, by two points at home on Feb. 1 and by 20 in Cincinnati just over two weeks later. They blew an 11-point lead in the first game, losing on a jumper by Caupain with just under 5 seconds to play.
Cincinnati will face either Houston or UConn in the semifinals on Saturday. The Bearcats swept the season series from both teams during the regular season.
Tulsa’s season is over.