LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Jason Maxiell was simply dominant for
Maxiell had 30 points and eight rebounds, and Eric Hicks added
17 points Thursday night in leading the No. 22 Bearcats to a 95-69
victory over Longwood in the Las Vegas Holiday Classic.
Maxiell scored 11 of his team's first 18 points while
controlling the inside.
"I wasn't paying attention to my numbers," said Maxiell, who
added seven blocks. "I was paying attention to the game and doing
what was right."
Cincinnati (11-0) led by just four with 13 minutes to play, but
went on a 14-2 run over the next five minutes to pull away.
Maxiell sparked the rally, grabbing an offensive rebound and
finishing with a dunk as the Bearcats peaked late in their tuneup
for Friday's tournament finale against top-ranked Illinois.
The Illini beat Northwestern State 69-51 earlier Thursday.
Michael Jefferson scored 27 points, including 20 in the first
half, for the Lancers (1-15).
Cincinnati closed with a 23-11 run, giving the Bearcats their
fifth straight win by 20 points or more.
The Bearcats controlled the inside game, grabbing 11 offensive
rebounds and out-rebounding Longwood 46-29.
Jefferson's 3-pointer with 1:41 left in the first half cut
Longwood's deficit to 47-40. The Lancers shot 61 percent from the
field in the opening 10 minutes as they hung close early.
"We weren't worried about the lead being cut down because of
our style we play," Maxiell said. "In the second half, we took
care of business."
Still, Cincinnati knows it needs to play better against
"Illinois is really good," Bearcats coach Bob Huggins said.
"There are two things about them: No. 1, they are unselfish, and
No. 2, they understand how to play."
Illinois cruised past the Bearcats 92-68 in the second round of
last year's NCAA Tournament.
"It's big test for us," Huggins said. "Last year is behind
us, and well be better prepared this time around."
Longwood, in the second year of the reclassification process to
become a full-fledged Division I school, trailed by single-digits
until the final nine minutes.
"These games are invaluable for us," Longwood coach Mike
Gillian said. "We are earning respect and credibility. When you
have opportunities against Cincinnati and you are in the game, that