No. 19 Cincinnati 63, Miami (Ohio) 59

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin won’t let Lance Stephenson talk to

the media until Monday. The heralded freshman couldn’t wait that

long to make a statement.

Stephenson scored a season-high 17 points and fellow freshman

Cashmere Wright added 12 as No. 19 Cincinnati held off Miami, Ohio

for a 63-59 victory Thursday night.

“I just came in and played off whatever the defense gave me,”

said Wright, who missed last season with a knee injury and scored

one point in the first half. “I kept making shots.”

The Bearcats (6-1) won their second straight game after their

first loss of the season, 61-59 in overtime against Gonzaga on Nov.

25. Cincinnati, which has won 11 straight in the in-state series,

hadn’t played since beating Texas Southern 94-57 on Dec. 1.

“We looked a little sluggish,” Cronin said. “Our execution

wasn’t there. Part of that was because of Miami’s defense. They

expose your weaknesses. This was a good game for us.”

Kenny Hayes had 19 points for Miami, while Nick Winbush and

Julian Mavunga each added 13. The RedHawks (2-7) have lost three

straight and were playing the second of three games in six


The loss reminded Hayes of Miami’s two-point loss at No. 4

Kentucky in the second game of the season.

“We have to get over this hump,” Hayes said. “We’ve come so

close, and we let it go at the end. We almost beat the 19th team in

the country. It doesn’t count for anything. We’re hanging with

them, but we’re just not beating them.”

Stephenson’s previous high was 16 points in a 92-68 win over

Toledo in the second game of the season on Nov. 18. Wright matched

the season-high 12 points he scored in a 69-62 season-opening win

over Prairie View A&M two days earlier.

There were scattered boos early in the first half when a photo

of former Bearcats football coach Brian Kelly was shown on the

videoboard, which was showing the telecast of the game. Kelly left

Cincinnati on Thursday to take over at Notre Dame.

Stephenson had 10 points and six rebounds as the Bearcats took a

24-23 halftime lead after holding a nine-point lead with 10:17


Cincinnati opened a 39-30 on a 3-pointer by Larry Davis with

14:18 left in the game, but Miami again fought back to trim the

lead to two twice while Wright was scoring six straight points to

personally hold off the RedHawks and impress Miami coach Charlie


“I thought the difference in the game was the little guard out

front,” Coles said about the 6-foot Wright, adding with a smile,

“He’s going to be good because of his name – Cashmere. My mother

and father should have named me something like that.”

Cincinnati never trailed after Wright’s free throw gave it a 7-6

lead with 13:45 left in the first half.