Piscataway, NJ – Cashmere Wright netted 23 points and 21st- ranked Cincinnati put the brakes on a two-game skid with a 68-58 triumph over Rutgers on Saturday.
After beginning the season 12-0, the Bearcats (14-3, 2-2 Big East) had dropped three of their previous four games, but were able to outlast Rutgers (11-4, 2-2) despite a shaky shooting night.
Cincinnati received 11 points and eight boards from JaQuon Parker and squeezed Sean Kilpatrick for 10 points on a 3-for-12 shooting night.
The Scarlet Knights were denied their eighth straight victory at home, as Myles Mack was their only scorer in double-figures, tallying 15 points.
"When we got 1-on-1, we relied too much on our 3-point, perimeter shooting, and that's playing into Cincinnati's hands," Rutgers coach Mike Rice said. "They played hard and that's why they got the victory."
Season-leading scorer Eli Carter scored just six points on a horrid 1-of-11 shooting in the setback.
"It's not easy and we did it as a team and tried to make it hard on him," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "Anybody who's a scorer at the level that he's a scorer, if you let them get started and get a rhythm then it becomes really hard to stop them. We really did a great job of never letting him get started. Our support on him was really key."
Although the Bearcats led at the half, 27-15, they shot a poor 29 percent from the field over the first 20 minutes.
Cincinnati was aided by an even worse shooting performance by Rutgers, which made just 4-of-19 attempts from the field in the first half. Wally Judge was the team's only starter who made a shot from the field before halftime.
The Bearcats shot a much better 50 percent in the second half, however, and Wright's 17 points over the final 20 minutes allowed Cincinnati to sail smoothly to victory.
Parker's free throws with just over 17 minutes left in the game gave the Bearcats their largest lead of the contest at 33-15.
The Scarlet Knights, who trailed the entire contest, pulled within single- digits at 45-36 thanks to a 13-5 push and cut their deficit to eight with under a minute left on a Carter layup, but never came any closer.
Cincinnati is 13-4 all-time against the Scarlet Knights ... The Bearcats converted 23-of-32 shots from the free throw line ... Rutgers was trying to win its eighth straight game at home for the first time in nine seasons and improve to 3-1 to open Big East play for the first time since joining the conference in 1995-96 ... The Scarlet Knights are just 5-31 in their past 36 games against ranked opponents.