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No. 6 Cincinnati 80, Southeast Missouri 57

December 30, 1996

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) _ Sixth-ranked Cincinnati capitalized on guard Damon Flint’s defensive game Monday to beat Southeast Missouri 80-57 at the Puerto Rico Holiday Classic opener.

Flint turned three first-half steals into dunks as the Bearcats built a big lead.

His first steal ended with a two-hand dunk to open a 19-12 lead. Then he stripped the ball from Richard Lyte and turned it into a towering left-handed dunk and 21-14 lead. After his third steal and dunk, Flint hit a 3-pointer that helped Cincinnati to a 36-25 halftime lead.

In the second half, Cincinnati opened with a six-point run on two field goals by Ruben Patterson and another by Charles Williams, taking a 42-25 lead.

Danny Fortson led Cincinnati with 19 points and eight rebounds. Flint and Paterson both finished with 12.

William Eley scored 12 points for Southeast Missouri and Calvert White and Allen Hatchett scored 10 points each.

Cincinnati simply took control of the game, Southeast coach Ron Shumate said. ``The beginning of the second half hurt us because Cincinnati made some transition baskets which broke our rhythm,″ he said. ``They are a very good team and they forced us to miss good shots. That got us in trouble.″

Cincinnati out-rebounded Southeast Missouri 48-34 with a 25-11 edge on the offensive boards.

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