Cincinnati blows by Kansas State
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Troy Caupain drove inside against his defender, absorbed the contact and finished at the rim as the referee whistled for a foul that sent Cincinnati's senior guard to the free-throw line for a three-point play.
Caupain pounded his chest, turned to the crowd and roared at a group of shrieking Kansas State fans before calmly sinking the free throw, sending the Bearcats to a 75-61 victory over Kansas State in a first-round South Regional game Friday at the Golden 1 Center.
Caupain posted 23 points and seven rebounds for sixth-seeded Cincinnati (30-5), which will face UCLA or Kent State in a second-round game Sunday. Kyle Washington scored 16 points. Gary Clark had 15 points and seven rebounds.
Wesley Iwundu scored 19 points for 11th-seeded Kansas State (21-14), which played for the second time in 72 hours after beating Wake Forest in a play-in game Tuesday.
Cincinnati outscored Kansas State 11-5 over the first five minutes and extended its lead to eight on a 3-pointer by Clark. Caupain made a jumper to put the Bearcats up 22-12 midway through the opening period and later converted a three-point play to stretch the lead to 13.
The Wildcats cut the deficit to seven on a 3-pointer by Kamau Stokes with just under five minutes remaining in the half, but the Bearcats quickly re-established a double-digit lead. They went up 31-21 on a 3-pointer by Jacob Evans and carried a 39-28 advantage into the locker room at the break.
Cincinnati went up by 13 early in the second half before Kansas State began to battle back. The Wildcats got within seven on a 3-pointer by Iwundu and cut the deficit to six on a 3-pointer by Barry Brown, but they couldn't get any closer.
The Bearcats went up 57-45 on a layup by Evans and pushed the lead to 14 on another basket by Evans. They led by as many as 17 late in the game.
NOTES: Cincinnati and Kansas State have met three others times in the NCAA Tournament. Kansas State beat Cincinnati in double overtime in 1958. The Bearcats beat the Wildcats in 1959 and again in 1961. ... Cincinnati is making its seventh consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance. ... Kansas State traveled more than 700 miles to face Wake Forest in a play-in game Tuesday and then traveled 2,300 miles to take on Cincinnati.