Charlotte 80

(19-13, 11-5 A 10)

Cincinnati 86

(20-12, 8-8 Big East)

    8:05 PM ET, March 17, 2006

    Fifth Third Arena, Cincinnati, Ohio

    1 2 T
    CHAR 35 4580
    CIN 40 4686

    Top Performers

    Charlotte: C. Withers 20 Pts, 15 Reb, 4 Ast, 1 Blk

    Cincinnati: E. Hicks 23 Pts, 18 Reb, 3 Ast, 4 Blk

    Cincinnati 86, Charlotte 80

    CINCINNATI (AP) -- Eric Hicks scored 23 points and Cincinnati shook off the disappointment of not making the NCAA tournament by beating Charlotte 86-80 in the first round of the NIT on Friday.

    Cedric McGowan added 20 points for Cincinnati, which will play host to Minnesota in the second round of the NIT on Tuesday.

    Cincinnati (20-12) is making its ninth appearance in the NIT and first since 1991 when it lost to Oklahoma in the second round.

    The Bearcats had been idle since losing to Syracuse on March 8 in the opening round of the Big East tournament. That loss contributed to Cincinnati being denied its 15th consecutive NCAA Tournament berth despite being ranked No. 40 in the RPI and playing the fifth-strongest schedule in the country.

    Curtis Withers had 20 points and had 15 rebounds for Charlotte.

    The Bearcats won 14 of 22 meetings with the 49ers from 1995-96 when both teams were members of Conference USA. Charlotte is in its first season in the Atlantic 10 Conference.

    Jihad Muhammad scored 17 points for the Bearcats, who led by as many as 12 points in the first half.

    Charlotte (19-13) rallied behind Leemire Goldwire, who scored eight points, including consecutive 3-pointers, in the final five minutes of the half to make the score 40-35.

    Withers' dunk tied the score 40-40 early in the second half. Chris Nance's dunk gave Charlotte its first lead, 44-43, with 16 minutes remaining.

    The 49ers went on a 9-0 run to build a 56-48 lead. Cincinnati responded with a 12-3 run to take a 70-69 lead.

    McGowan's tip-in off James White's miss gave the Bearcats a 77-76 lead with 1:29 remaining.

    The Bearcats hit five free throws in the final minute to seal the victory.

    Copyright by STATS LLC and The Associated Press


    Team Stat Comparison

    Points 80 86
    FG Made-Attempted 29-82 (.354) 30-63 (.476)
    3P Made-Attempted 10-29 (.345) 7-18 (.389)
    FT Made-Attempted 12-17 (.706) 19-28 (.679)
    Fouls (Tech/Flagrant) 17 (0/0) 13 (0/0)
    Largest Lead 8 12


    » Mar 17, 2006 @CIN 86, CHAR 80Recap