Scott has 22, Cincinnati beats Northern Kentucky 78-65
CINCINNATI (AP) — Trevon Scott got fouled, went to the line and swished his first two free throws of the game. They felt so good that he knew he was onto something.
Scott scored a career-high 22 points as part of his second double-double on Tuesday night, and Cincinnati’s bigger front line dominated in a 78-65 victory over Northern Kentucky, the school that shared its home court with the Bearcats last season.
The Bearcats (8-1) have won eight straight since an opening 64-56 home loss to Ohio State.
“We’re just locked into what we’re used to — defense first,” point guard Justin Jenifer said.
They knew they could use their size advantage to draw fouls and clamp down on Northern Kentucky’s best player. They ended up outscoring the Norse on free throws by 20 points. Scott went 12 of 13 from the line, making his first dozen attempts.
“It was a confidence thing,” said Scott, who also matched his career high with 10 rebounds. “I stepped up there, made the first two and was in the same rhythm.”
The Norse (8-2) are off to their best start since moving up to Division I two years ago. The schools shared Northern Kentucky’s home court last season while the Bearcats’ on-campus arena was renovated, with Cincinnati going 15-1. The only blemish was a loss to Wichita State.
Given a chance to play Cincinnati, the Norse got dominated.
“I thought we’d come in here and compete, that we’d give them a game,” Northern Kentucky coach John Brannen said. “I’m disappointed we didn’t.”
Scott made 10 free throws in the first half and had 14 points — one shy of his career high — as the Bearcats took control. Their taller front line dominated the Norse, outrebounding them 19-4 at the outset. Cincinnati went 26 of 33 on free throws overall.
Tyler Sharpe scored 16 for Northern Kentucky. Junior guard Drew McDonald, the Horizon League’s preseason player of the year, missed all seven of his shots in the first half and his first eight overall before scoring with 16:25 left. McDonald finished 3 of 15 for eight points.
“Our plan was not to let him catch it in the post,” Scott said. “We executed that.”
Northern Kentucky: The Norse have prospered by driving to the basket and drawing fouls. Coming into the game, their 228 free throws ranked 11th nationally. They couldn’t get inside Cincinnati’s defense and got only five free throws in the opening half. They finished 6 of 15 at the line.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats are playing four games against Northern Kentucky over seven years as part of the arrangement to share its arena last season. Each team gets a pair of homes games in the arrangement. They hadn’t played since the 1980s.
The teams played eight times in the 1980s, all on Cincinnati’s court, and the Bearcats won them all.
Brannen got a technical foul early in the second half and bristled.
“I was frustrated because I asked a question and got a technical,” Brannen said, adding that the officials showed some “arrogance” in the way they talked to him during the game.
McDonald had eight rebounds, giving him 858 career, one shy of LaRon Moore’s school record.
Northern Kentucky plays at Eastern Kentucky on Saturday.
Cincinnati hosts crosstown rival Xavier on Saturday. The Musketeers have won eight of 11 in the series, including an 89-76 win last season on Xavier’s campus.