(Information provided by USF Athletics)
(Cincinnati, OH) USF fought back from a 12-point halftime deficit but came up short dropping an 82-74 decision to Cincinnati Tuesday night in Ohio.
USF (12-5, 2-3 in AAC) tied the game up twice after the break, the final time with 6:28 remaining, but couldn’t gain distance despite outshooting the Bearcats from the floor and winning the rebounding battle.
Cincinnati (15-3, 4-1 in AAC) pulled out its sixth win in the past seven games by shooting 90.6 percent from the free throw line, including a 20-for-22 performance in the second half.
Laquincy Rideau poured in a team-high 26 points with four assists and a pair of steals.
Alexis Yetna posted 12 points and made all six of his free throws to help the Bulls finish 22-for-26 at the line. Freshman Michael Durr matched his career high with 10 points and grabbed nine rebounds while David Collins added 10 points and four assists.
After taking Temple to overtime last Saturday, USF jumped out to an 8-2 lead on Cincinnati with four quick points by Rideau, who registered the Bulls’ first triple-double since 2006 against the Owls.
Cincinnati responded with a 15-3 run and scored 19 points off 15 USF turnovers on the way to a 43-31 halftime lead. Rideau beat the buzzer with a highlight-reel layup and led the Bulls with 11 points in the first 20 minutes.
Known for heating up after the break this season, USF opened the second half with a 24-12 scoring advantage to tie the game up at 11:52 remaining. Cincinnati answered with an 8-0 run but the Bulls didn’t back down and evened the score again at 65-65 with 6:28 to play.
Up by two with less than four minutes left, Cincinnati scored five straight points and didn’t let its lead dip below five the rest of the way. Eight of the Bearcats’ final 10 points were produced at the free throw line.
“We didn’t get off to a good start in the first half, too many turnovers with 15 in the first half”, said Bulls Head Coach Brian Gregory. “We were just out of sorts a little bit on offense, settled down in the second half and made our free throws. We rebounded the ball well and foul trouble hurt us.”
USF returns to the Yuengling Center in Tampa to host Houston on Saturday at 8 p.m. (TV: ESPNU).
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