Nov. 25, 2005
CINCINNATI, Ohio - James White scored 19 points and provided stability to Cincinnati's hot-and-cold offense Friday night, helping the Bearcats pull away in the second half to a 77-55 victory over the Holy Cross men's basketball team.
White, a senior forward, has been the only consistent scorer since Cincinnati (3-0) went to a more uptempo approach under interim coach Andy Kennedy. White has led the Bearcats in scoring in two of their three games.
Cincinnati shot only 37.5 percent from the field in the first half against the Crusaders' matchup zone defense and led by three at the intermission. The Bearcats got their fastbreak rolling in the second half.
Harried Holy Cross (2-2) repeatedly missed open shots close to the basket, shot 30.2 percent from the field and had 19 turnovers against Cincinnati's tight man-to-man defense.
Senior guard Kevin Hamilton (Queens Village, N.Y.), the reigning Patriot League player of the year, played with a bruised hip and led Holy Cross with 13 points on 4-of-18 shooting. He became the 41st Crusader to top 1,000 career points.
Holy Cross trailed only 29-26 after a sloppy first half full of bad shooting and poor ball handling. Sophomore center Tim Clifford (Walpole, Mass.) picked up his third and fourth fouls within a 34-second span early in the second half, and the Crusaders faded fast.
Cincinnati power forward Eric Hicks made a three-point play - Clifford had the foul - and added a bank shot that helped the Bearcats take control, 45-29. Holy Cross never got closer than 14 points the rest of the way.
Armein Kirkland, a senior forward counted upon to help carry Cincinnati's offense, had a third straight subpar game that drew catcalls from the home crowd. Kirkland is 7-for-29 with eight rebounds and eight turnovers in three games.
Cincinnati held a slim lead throughout a ragged first half. Neither team could hit an open shot consistently or do anything worthwhile for more than a couple minutes at a time - a pace that played to Holy Cross' favor and upset the crowd of 8,902 - more than 4,000 below capacity.
Junior forward Ronald Allen had his best game for the Bearcats, scoring 11 points. Allen transferred from Xavier of New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the school's campus. Allen got permission from the NCAA to play this season.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.