Cincinnati, with its highest ranking in preseason polls since the turn of the century, had to hold off a second-half rally by the University at Buffalo for a 73-65 victory in a first-round game Monday night in the Cayman Island Classic in George Town, Cayman Islands.
UB will face UAB Tuesday at 5 p.m. in a consolation round game. UAB lost in the first round to Richmond, 63-50, Monday afternoon. Cincinnati will face Richmond in a semifinal Tuesday night.
UB’s last lead was 12-11 before a 13-0 Bearcats run helped them to a 27-14 lead. The Bearcats were on top, 39-26, at the half. Led by 19 second- half points by C.J. Massinburg, the Bulls rallied, getting the margin down to four more than once.. It was 69-65 when Massinburg missed a jump shot with 16 seconds to go, ending the UB rally. Cincy scored the final four points to put the game away and go 4-0 for the season. It was UB's first loss after wins over Canisius and Jacksonville State.
Massinburg finished with 27 points and a team-high 10 rebounds. Jeremy Harris had 17 points and Nick Perkins 14 before he fouled out with 0:01 left. Perkins was the second UB player to foul out, but three other Bulls finished the game with four personals, forcing coach Nate Oats to keep juggling his rotation in the second half.
Senior forward Gary Clark had 24 points and 14 rebounds for the Bearcats who were ranked 12th (AP) and 13th (USA Today) in two national polls. their highest preseason ranking since 1999-2000. Kyle Washington had 14 points and Jarron Cumberland 11 for Cincy, which had wins over Savannah State, Western Carolina and Coppin State at home before Monday. Cincinnati is playing its home games at BB&T Arena across the Ohio River in Highland Heights, Ky., while its on-campus venue, Fifth Third Arena undergoes an $87 millon renovation.
MEN'S HOCKEY: Niagara (6-3-1) will begin a three-game week Tuesday night against Cornell (7-1) at Lynah Rink in Ithaca (Radio 1340, 7 p.m.). The Purple Eagles, off to their best start since 2007--08 will play an Atlantic Hockey Conference series against American International in Springfield, Mass., on Friday afternoon and Saturday night.
HOOP HONORS: Park School graduate Derek Cheatom of Bufalo scored a career-high 21 points including 4 of 7 from three-point range for Saint Michael's College in Vermont in a victory over Southern New Hampshire. Cheatom is a junior. ... Dylan Lambert of Houghton, a junior from Williamsville North, was named Empire 8 Conference Player of the Week after he averaged 20 points, 10 rebounds and 4.7 assists for the Highlanders, who went 2-1 for the week. He scored 34 points including the winning layup in overtime against Wells.
FOOTBALL: Defensive lineman Khalil Sommerville (Bennett) and return specialist Jamar Rutledge (McKinley) of Buffalo State made the All-Empire 8 Conference first team announced on Monday. In all, five Bengals were honored by the conference. Linebacker Bart Mazzara (Starpoint) and defensive back Tiquan Simpkins were named to the second team. Fullback Anthony Covington received honorable mention. ... UB defensive end Chuck Harris, a junior from Detroit, was named Mid-American Conference East Defensive Player of the Week after his career-best 13 tackles and a sack in the Bulls' 40-24 victory at Ball State.