14th ranked Panthers dominate Bearcats

Karl Krauser had 18 points and reserve Keith Benjamin scored a career-high 16 in the win. The Panthers win their second game in a row.

No. 14 Panthers Dominant In 89-69 Win Over Bearcats

Pittsburgh's Aaron Gray dunks the ball in the first half of the Big East basketball game against Cincinnati in Pittsburgh on Sunday, Feb. 12, 2006.

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.

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