By Harry Allison
Gary Clark had 17 points and 10 rebounds and Jarron Cumberland scored 11 of his 13 in the first half to help the No. 9 Bearcats extend the nation’s longest home winning streak with a 75-42 victory over Temple.
With the score out of reach in the second half, attention turned to Clark, who came into the game needing eight rebounds for 1,000. He grabbed his eighth board with 18 minutes remaining, then added two more before subbing out to a loud ovation with eight minutes left.
Clark has 1,259 points and 1,002 rebounds during his distinguished career.
”I’m really happy for him,” Cronin said. ”It’s an incredible achievement. He’s a winning player, probably the most valuable player in our conference with all the things he does.”
Kyle Washington had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Bearcats (17-2, 7-0 American Athletic Conference), who won their 11th consecutive game overall and 37th straight at home while completing a regular-season sweep of the Owls.
Cincinnati is playing home games at BB&T Arena on the campus of Northern Kentucky University while its own building gets renovated.
It was the worst loss of the season for Temple (10-10, 2-6), which shot a season-low 28.6 percent and committed 20 turnovers.
”They make you run your offense differently,” Owls coach Fran Dunphy said. ”You have to play basketball, you have to make a cut, you have to be strong with the basketball. We drove the middle of the floor and got a number of turnovers just by not being strong enough with the ball.”
The Bearcats won the first meeting 55-53 on Jacob Evans III’s jumper with a second left on Jan. 4 in Philadelphia. This one wasn’t even close.
The Owls scored the first five points of the game, then went scoreless for nearly five minutes. It was one of two Temple scoring droughts that approached five minutes in the first half.
”I’m really happy with how we played tonight,” Cronin said. ”We were more aggressive with on-the-ball and pick-and-roll defense. We started playing downhill.”
The Bearcats had runs of 7-0 and 10-0 and led 35-19 at halftime. Temple shot 2 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half and committed nine turnovers.
Cincinnati kept rolling in the second half. Clark had a 3-pointer and a dunk to put the Bearcats ahead 60-30.
”We turned it over 20 times overall, but some of that was obviously late in the game,” Dunphy said. ”You have to hang your head a little bit and say we have to do better and learn from it.”
Quinton Rose and Ernest Aflakpui each scored seven points for the Owls.