CINCINNATI (AP) - Redshirt freshman Cashmere Wright scored a
career-high 24 points, nine of them during a 16-1 run in the second
half that swept Cincinnati to a 92-88 victory over Providence on
Wright, who had lost his starting job and was benched for a
game, returned to the starting lineup on Saturday and steadied
Cincinnati (14-7, 5-4 Big East) through a wide-open game by making
nine of his 11 shots and getting five assists.
Providence (12-9, 4-5) got the back-and-forth pace it likes, but
couldn't hold on to the ball during the Bearcats' decisive run. The
Friars had five turnovers during the 5-minute spurt.
Cincinnati's poor free-throw shooting (20 of 41) allowed the
Friars to make a late comeback. Sharaud Curry's 3 with 6.6 seconds
left cut it to 91-88, but Jaquon Parker made the second of his two
free throws to clinch it.
Curry finished with 27 points, going 5 of 10 from behind the
The wild game became Wright's breakout game.
He tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee during
practice and missed all last season. He was the starting point
guard when this season began, but was ineffective and saw his
minutes dwindle. Coach Mick Cronin benched him for a game against
Notre Dame on Jan. 16, unhappy with his effort in practice.
Wright got back into the flow with 12 points during a loss at
Louisville last Sunday, and was back in the starting lineup for the
first time in a dozen games against the Friars.
Cincinnati's main defensive goal was to contain Jamine Peterson,
who leads the conference with 10.3 rebounds per game and averages
17.9 points. Peterson opened the game by hitting an open 3 from the
top of the arc, a sign of things to come.
Providence got the pace it wanted - a lot of shots, a lot of
quick points. The Friars made their first six shots from behind the
arc and nine of their first 10 overall, with Brian McKenzie getting
a putback on their only miss. The Friars pulled ahead 24-16.
Cronin angrily called a timeout after Duke Mondy got an open
3-point shot that completed the quick-shot flurry.
Cincinnati tried to keep pace, making its first six shots
overall. Wright made Cincinnati's first 3, including one from the
top of the arc.
The pace held, with both teams rushing down the floor and taking
open shots. Both acted like defense was optional for long
stretches. It was tied 44-44 at halftime, when Wright already had a
career high with 13 points. Peterson led the Friars with 14 in the
Peterson had 19 points when he picked up his third foul at the
16:02 mark, a significant setback to the Friars. He returned 5
minutes later, when Cincinnati was starting its decisive 16-1 run.
Peterson finished with 19 points.
The Bearcats extended their defense, trapping the Friars' guards
on the perimeter and finally slowing their catch-and-shoot offense.
Providence had five turnovers during Cincinnati's run, which made
it 73-61 with 8:02 to go. The Bearcats' poor free-throw shooting -
and four straight 3s by Curry in the final 1:12 - got the Friars