No. 5 Cincinnati 79, S. Florida 60
CINCINNATI (AP) _ After a sluggish start, Cincinnati finally got in gear in the second half Sunday.
Danny Fortson had 20 points and a career-high 17 rebounds as the No. 5 Bearcats beat South Florida 79-60.
Fortson scored seven points during a 16-1 second-half run that gave Cincinnati control of the game. The Bearcats, who had a rare midnight game Friday, were playing their second game in less than 40 hours and looked sluggish in the first half.
``I thought we were flat. Three games in five days will do that,″ said coach Bob Huggins, who became the all-time winningest coach at Cincinnati with a 155-59 record in seven seasons. The late George Smith was 154-56 in eight seasons, including the Oscar Robertson era.
Darnell Burton added 19 points for the Bearcats (17-1, 6-1 Conference USA), while Damon Flint had 17.
James Harper led South Florida (8-10, 0-7) with a career-high 21 points.
Slowed by South Florida’s deliberate offense and plagued by poor shooting, the Bearcats struggled to a 30-28 halftime lead, equaling their lowest first-half production of the season.
Cincinnati opened a 50-40 lead with 12:47 to play, but still couldn’t shake South Florida, which used free throws to narrow the gap to two points at 56-54 with 8:20 left.
But then Fortson led the 16-1 run as Cincinnati pulled away.
``Why do you only want to talk about that part?″ said South Florida coach Bobby Paschall. ``Why don’t we talk about the other parts of the game, where we played them even?
``Obviously, we had our big people foul out and we were just trying to hang on down the stretch.″
Brian Lamb had 15 points for South Florida. The team’s leading scorer, Chucky Atkins, was held to nine points and No. 2 scorer Donzel Rush was scoreless when he fouled out with 5:20 left.
Art Long, Cincinnati’s second-leading rebounder, did not play in the second half. Huggins said that was because of ``the same reason as (point guard) Keith LeGree a couple of games ago.″
Huggins’ rule is that when he’s coaching, players listen rather than talk.
``I’m trying to coach out there and teach them some things,″ Huggins said. ``I listen better than anybody in America _ I’m like (former Marquette coach) Al McGuire _ but I wasn’t in the mood. I think I know more than they do.″