Senior guard Troy Caupain paced an explosive Cincinnati offensive attack, as the Bearcats posted a 75-61 win over Kansas State in the South Regional First Round before 16,154 fans on Friday evening at the sparkling new Golden 1 Center.
With the win, the 6-seeded Bearcats (30-5) advances to play No. 3 UCLA (30-4) in the South Regional Second Round on Sunday night. The Wildcats (21-14) see their season end with their third NCAA Tournament in five seasons under head coach Bruce Weber.
Hot-shooting Cincinnati connected on 65.2 percent (27-of-43) from the field, including 65.2 percent (15-of-23) in the first half, and led for 38 minutes and 49 seconds. It marked the first time that K-State has allowed an opponent to shoot better than 60 percent from the field since Georgetown hit 63.5 percent (33-of-52) on November 22, 2013
A Dean Wade 3-pointer gave the Wildcats their first lead at 3-2 just 57 seconds into the game, however, senior guard Kevin Johnson gave Cincinnati the advantage for good with a jumper with 18:20 remaining in the first half as the Bearcats hit their first 8 field goals, including a pair of 3-pointers.
Trailing by 11 points at the half, K-State used a 7-2 run to cut the deficit to 49-43 with 14:15 to play on a 3-pointer by sophomore guard Barry Brown. However, Cincinnati responded out of a timeout to score 10 of the next 12 points to push its lead back out to 59-45 with 9:29 remaining and end any further comeback.
K-State shot just 38.9 percent (21-of-54) from the field, including 38.9 percent (7-of-18) from 3-point range, and were outscored 34-22 in the paint.
Senior guard Wesley Iwundu was only Wildcat in double figures, as he scored a team-high 19 points on 5-of-10 field goals, including 3-of-5 from long range, to go with a 6-of-6 effort from the free throw line. He also added a team-high 4 rebounds and 3 assists despite playing just 27 minutes due to foul trouble.
Caupain led three Bearcats in double figures with his game-high 23 points on 7-of-10 shooting, while junior forwards Kyle Washington and Gary Clark added 16 and 15 points, respectively.