No. 1 Cincinnati 82, AIA 70
CINCINNATI (AP) _ In its first appearance as a No. 1 team, Cincinnati had problems playing up to its ranking.
A day after it rose to the top of the poll, Cincinnati overcame slipshod defense and a second-half lapse to beat Athletes in Action 82-70 Tuesday night in its final exhibition.
The Bearcats open their season Saturday against Youngstown State. There’s a lot to work on in the meantime.
The game was tied at 64 with 5:57 left before the Bearcats inched away by going 8-of-12 from the free throw line over the next 2 minutes while tiring AIA failed to score.
Kenyon Martin led Cincinnati with 23 points, Steve Logan added 16 points and Jermaine Tate had 13 rebounds as the Bearcats held a 49-38 advantage on the boards.
AIA combined two of its teams, a challenge that coach Bob Huggins welcomed. He wanted to see how his unbalanced team _ a deep and experienced front line, three freshmen in the backcourt _ handled a heavy dose of pressure.
Huggins crouched at courtside, not moving or saying a word, as he got the answer he feared in the first half.
Cincinnati gave AIA one uncontested shot after another from the perimeter _ stunning for a program that prides itself on in-your-face defense. AIA fired away, going 10-for-43 on 3-point attempts.
The Bearcats’ defense looked lethargic against a team playing its seventh game in nine days.
Huggins traded a black suit jacket for a sweater at halftime and came out a lot more animated and vocal. Cincinnati was more energetic on defense as well as it built a 15-point lead, but couldn’t sustain it. David Wood’s long 3-pointer tied it 64-all with 5:57 left.
AIA missed a 3-pointer and a layup in the final 2 minutes, wasting its final chance to catch up.