HEADLINES No. 14 Panthers Dominant In 89-69 Win Over Bearcats
Feb. 12, 2006
PITTSBURGH (AP) - Karl Krauser had 18 points and reserve Keith Benjamin scored a career-high 16 as Pittsburgh beat Cincinnati 89-69 in the first Big East meeting between the schools.
Cincinnati (16-9, 5-6) got a game-high 21 points from Jihad Muhammad and 15 from forward Eric Hicks, but little else as Pittsburgh (19-3, 8-3) never trailed and won its 15th straight at home.
Muhammad, a 5-11 senior guard who became a starter just five games ago, has averaged 17.3 points the last three, shooting 12-for-24 on 3-pointers. However, he struggled early as Pitt jumped out to a 19-7 lead, with Hicks accounting for all of Cincinnati's points.
Hicks scored just eight points the rest of the way, and the Big East's third-leading rebounder (at 9.7 per game) was no match for Pitt's Aaron Gray. Gray leads the conference (11.0 per game) and had 10 rebounds - all on defense. Hicks had just four rebounds.
Gray finished with 15 points and was the primary reason Pitt controlled the boards, 36-23.
Pitt led 43-33 at the half and Cincinnati managed to close to 48-42 early in the second half, but that was as close as the Bearcats would get. After forcing a Pitt turnover, but failing to score on its next possession, Cincinnati watched as Benjamin hit a key 3-point shot to give Pitt a 51-42 lead.
Pitt's lead hovered around 10 points for much of the half until Ronald Ramon, who finished with 14 points, was fouled shooting a 3-pointer. He made all three free throws to give Pitt a 71-58 lead with 6:37 left and Cincinnati didn't make another serious run.
Ramon finished with 14 points and was 3-for-4 on 3s. Benjamin was 3-for-3 on 3s and Muhammad was 3-for-8 as Cincinnati finished just 4-for-17 from beyond the arc.
Cincinnati won six of the previous seven matchups, but the schools hadn't played since the Bearcats beat Pitt 61-60 in Cincinnati on Dec. 19, 1979.
The Bearcats were the Panthers' first unranked opponent since they beat Marquette 77-71 on Jan. 28. Since then, Pitt lost to No. 1 Connecticut and No. 17 Georgetown on the road, and beat No. 9 West Virginia 57-53 on Thursday while holding the Mountaineers' Kevin Pittsnogle scoreless for the first time this season.