NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- About the only thing Tony Bobbitt was happy
with was the final score.
Bobbitt, a reserve guard, scored 12 of his 18 points in the
second half to help Cincinnati (No. 10 ESPN/USA Today, No. 11 AP) beat Tulane 71-44 on
Wednesday night in the Conference USA opener for both teams."The problem was we fooled around in practice too much,"
Bobbitt said. "Coach told us we'd play like we practiced. And
we've just been fooling around too much."Jason Maxiell and Field Williams each scored 13 points for the
Bearcats (10-0), who are off to their best start in five years.Nick Williams added 10 points for Cincinnati, while Maxiell had
ll rebounds and Kareem Johnson 10 for the Bearcats, who finished
with a 47-33 advantage on the boards.Vytas Tatarunas was 3-for-4 from 3-point range and had 15 points
for the Green Wave (6-5), while Wayne Tinsley added 12.Cincinnati's stifling defense gave Tulane few uncontested shots,
especially inside where the Green Wave scored just 16 points.Tulane shot just 28.8 percent from the field (15-of-52), their
lowest percentage of the season and their lowest point total of the
season."They did a great job," Tulane coach Shawn Finney said. "We
just got worn down. They play a real physical game."The Bearcats have an average margin of victory of 26.2 points.
In their first nine games, only one was decided by less than 20
points, a 68-49 win at Valparaiso. The Bearcats were held below
their average of 84.0 points."We kind of lost our edge being 9-0," Bobbitt said. "But we
know we haven't accomplished nothing yet."Cincinnati scored 22 points off turnovers to Tulane's eight. The
Bearcats had 16 second-chance points, the Green Wave had just five."They make you play faster than you want to," Finney said.
"We didn't adjust."Both teams shot poorly early. Cincinnati was 4-of-12 from the
field, including 0-for-2 from 3-point range, as it took a 9-8 lead
because Tulane was just 3-of-9.The Bearcats had boosted their field goal percentage to 36
percent by halftime while Tulane fell to 29.6 percent. It was the
lowest scoring half of the season for Cincinnati, but good enough
to give them a 33-24 lead."We didn't change a lot other than our effort," Cincinnati
coach Bob Huggins said. "We didn't make plays in the first half."