CINCINNATI (AP) -- Jason Maxiell had 18 points and 12 rebounds
Thursday night, anchoring a balanced attack that carried Cincinnati
to an 88-72 victory over sloppy Vanderbilt.
The Bearcats (5-0) pulled out of a sluggish start by forcing
turnovers that got the offense rolling. They had 14 steals overall
and scored 33 points off turnovers.
Vanderbilt (4-4) has four double-digit losses in its last five
games, a stunning start for a school returning three starters from
a team that reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.
The Commodores' downfall has been their ball handling -- at least
20 turnovers in half of their eight games. They had a season-high
23 on Thursday.
The Bearcats (No. 20 ESPN/USA Today) went from an early 10-point deficit to a 15-point
halftime lead by forcing 13 turnovers and taking advantage.
Armein Kirkland led five Cincinnati players in double figures
with 19 points. Point guard Mario Moore led Vanderbilt with 17
points, and Dawid Przybyszewski -- a 7-foot-2 center -- scored 13 by
going 4-of-7 from behind the 3-point arc.
Vanderbilt opened with a 17-7 spurt that had Cincinnati coach
Bob Huggins stamping his foot on the floor in anger. The Bearcats
stood around when they got the ball, made a few passes and let it
fly, missing eight of their first 12 shots.
Berated during a timeout, the Bearcats jump-started the offense
by putting some energy into their man-to-man defense. They blocked
two shots and forced a pair of turnovers that fueled an 11-point
run and set the tone.
Cincinnati closed the half with a 19-5 spurt that featured three
consecutive 3-pointers and a couple of slick plays by the point
guards. Jihad Muhammad and Chadd Moore each had a steal and layup
during the run, which put Cincinnati ahead 46-31 at halftime.
Vanderbilt started drawing fouls and hitting the free throws --
five straight in one stretch that cut it to 68-59. Kirkland hit a 3
and Maxiell had a putback that ended the comeback.
Maxiell had the signature play in the second half. With Hall of
Famer Oscar Robertson urging him on from courtside, the 6-foot-8
forward drove and dunked over 6-foot-9 Julian Terrell, who hit the
floor hard as the ball rattled around and went down.