Washington, No. 25 Cincinnati beat UCLA 77-63
BY JILL PAINTER LOPEZ
Dec. 17, 2017
LOS ANGELES (AP) — Kyle Washington had a rough day when Cincinnati lost to UCLA in the NCAA Tournament last season.
This time, he delivered one solid performance against the Bruins.
Washington scored 19 points, Jacob Evans III had 16 and No. 25 Cincinnati beat UCLA 77-63 on Saturday.
It was one sweet win for the Bearcats, who lost 79-67 to Lonzo Ball and UCLA in the second round in March. Washington had just four points on 2-for-10 shooting in the previous matchup, and he was determined to make amends.
"We lost last year, and I know I wasn't there for my team last year," Washington said. "I wanted to make sure that I was ... I just wanted to show I was way better than that. I didn't show what I could do on the defensive end or offensive end last year in the tournament, and I was really hurting from that."
Cincinnati (9-2) grabbed control with an 18-0 run in the first half. The Bearcats turned 18 UCLA turnovers into 23 points.
"I just thought about Cincinnati. Just being that tough dog, hungry-dog-gets-the-bone mentality," Evans said. "We knew we had to come out here and do it with our defense, and that's what we did."
Aaron Holiday scored 17 points for UCLA (7-3), and Kris Wilkes finished with 12.
The Bruins grabbed a 21-18 lead on Prince Ali's 3-pointer with 6:59 left in the first half, but they didn't score again until Alex Olesinski made two free throws with 17.7 seconds to go. Cincinnati led 36-23 at the break.
UCLA center Thomas Welsh didn't take a shot until the game was already 15 minutes old. Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said his team's game plan also involved trying to wear down Holiday with the Bruins playing with such a short bench.
"They played Tom well down low," Holiday said. "I was trying to get him involved, and that's where a lot of our turnovers came from. We just have to figure it out. That's my fault. Obviously I didn't tell him what to do. That's on me."
Cincinnati kept up the pressure in the second half, and Gary Clark's dunk ran its lead out to 17 at 45-28. Clark finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds.
"Really proud of our effort," UCLA coach Steve Alford said. "Obviously, that's a really good basketball team, grown men. We've got some young guys that will grow and learn from this. We just had a really tough first half handling the basketball. That's kind of what happened in the second half (in a loss) against Michigan."
Wilkes said UCLA knew what was coming in terms of pressure. Handling it was another story.
"When they started pressuring us, we just played fast tempo, and we turned it over a couple of times from that," Wilkes said. "Before the game, we talked about it, that teams are going to try to force us to turn the ball over with the pressure they put on us. We went into the game with the mindset that we weren't going to let that happen, but unfortunately it happened in the first half."
BEARCATS AMONG BRUINS
There were several former Cincinnati players at Pauley Pavilion, including Kenyon Martin and Ruben Patterson.
"They were giving us words of advice and encouragement," Washington said. "It was great to see those guys come out and support ... I was talking back and forth to Ruben all day."
AWAITING SUSPENSION NEWS
UCLA is expected to hear soon about suspended players LiAngelo Ball, Cody Riley and Jalen Hill, who were punished for shoplifting in China. Ball left school and turned professional. Riley and Hill missed their 10th straight game on Saturday.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats made quick work of UCLA, beating the Bruins at their transition game by forcing mistakes.
UCLA: The Bruins' lack of depth and short bench really showed in the second half.
Cincinnati: Hosts Arkansas Pine-Bluff on Tuesday.
UCLA: Hosts South Dakota on Tuesday.
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