By JOE KAY AP Sports Writer
HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (AP) _ Gary Clark scored 10 of his 17 points during Cincinnati’s decisive spurt, and the 11th-ranked Bearcats shook off consecutive losses by beating short-handed Connecticut 77-52 on Thursday night for their fifth straight win over the Huskies.
The Bearcats (24-4, 13-3 American Athletic) recovered from a loss at Houston that ended their 16-game winning streak and a 76-72 loss to Wichita State that snapped their 39-game winning streak at home. They play back-to-back games against conference also-rans before finishing at Wichita State on March 4, a rematch that could decide the league title.
Clark had 10 points as Cincinnati surged ahead 34-19. The Bearcats got a lot of open shots against UConn’s zone defense and made 12 of their first 18 attempts. They led by double digits the rest of the way.
The Huskies (13-15, 6-9) struggle on offense and were missing top scorer Jalen Adams, who was sick. Adams averages 17.8 points and 4.5 assists per game.
Christian Vital scored 15 points and Terry Larrier had 14 for the Huskies, who shot 29.5 percent from the field against the nation’s second-stingiest defense.
Connecticut: The Huskies have lost eight of 11 as the season winds down, matching their conference loss total from a year ago. They went 16-17 overall and 9-9 in the AAC last season.
Cincinnati: After the loss to Wichita State, coach Mick Cronin bemoaned his team’s defensive breakdowns and rebounding. Cincinnati’s defense was much better against an overmatched team missing its best offensive player, but rebounding was still an issue. UConn got eight offensive rebounds in the first half while outrebounding the Bearcats 19-18.
Connecticut: The Huskies host Memphis on Sunday. They lost at Memphis 73-49 on Jan. 16, their lowest score of the season.
Cincinnati: The Bearcats host Tulsa on Sunday in their final home game at BB&T Arena, where they played this season while their on-court arena is renovated.
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