MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — DJ Jeffries scored 18 points, Precious Achiuwa added 12 points and 11 rebounds and No. 22 Memphis used a rally midway through the second half to defeat Cincinnati 60-49 on Thursday night.
Lester Quinones added 13 points, seven coming in the final five minutes as the Tigers (14-3, 3-1 American Athletic Conference) broke a six-game losing streak in the series with the Bearcats.
Jarrron Cumberland, the defending American Athletic Conference player of the year, led Cincinnati (10-7, 3-2) with 19 points, while Keith Williams scored 12, going 4 of 14 from the field, part of the Bearcats struggling to a 30% shooting night from the field.
Memphis had stretched a 31-20 halftime lead to 15 points early in the second half, but the Bearcats crafted a 13-0 rally that pulled Cincinnati close. The run would eventually reach 18-2, giving Cincinnati a 38-37 lead on a 3-pointer by Cumberland with 12:37 left.
But in a game of runs, Memphis answered with 10 straight points to take the lead for good as Cincinnati managed only one field goal – a 3-pointer in the closing seconds – in the final 4:34.
Memphis used a late-first quarter burst, including seven straight points to lead at halftime. Whether from defense or inaccurate shooting, the teams went long stretches of the first half without scoring.
At one point, the score was stuck at 9-4 for almost five minutes. The Bearcats suffered the most from shooting, converting about 26% of their shots in the half, while Memphis made 42%, including 6 of 15 from outside the arc.
Cincinnati: Much of the game, the Bearcats relied on Cumberland for offense, everything going through the reigning conference player of the year. While Cumberland scored above his 13.3 average, he got little help from others.
Memphis: The Tigers had retaken the lead when Quinones got untracked offensively, his scoring in the closing minutes stretching Memphis's advantage. Achiuwa again was solid for Memphis, but Jeffries, who recently recovered from the flu, provided the necessary offense.
Cincinnati: entertain East Carolina on Sunday.
Memphis: play at Tulsa next Wednesday.