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Cincinnati 82, Syracuse 65

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (AP) -- Cedric McGowan and Jihad Muhammad each
scored 19 points, James White had 18 and Cincinnati surged past
Syracuse 82-65 on Wednesday night, dealing the Orange a severe blow
to their postseason hopes.

It was the first of three straight home games against conference
foes for the struggling Orange (17-8, 5-6 Big East), who have lost
six of eight and fell behind the Bearcats (17-9, 5-5) in the
conference standings. The victory avenged a 77-58 loss to the
Orange a month ago.

Devan Downey had 16 points and seven assists, and Eric Hicks had
eight points, 11 rebounds and five blocks for the Bearcats.

Eric Devendorf led the Orange with 15 points, Gerry McNamara had
14, Demetris Nichols 13, and Matt Gorman a career-high 10.

Cincinnati scored the first six points of the second half, and
White had four of them as the Bearcats showed they weren't about to
fold after losing a seven-point lead before the break.

White stole the ball from Nichols and scored on a fast-break
layup, then followed that with a two-hand slam dunk to put the
Bearcats up 46-41 less than 2 minutes in.

Two free throws by Hicks put Cincinnati up 57-50 at 12:52, and
after Gorman's three-point play moved the Orange back within four
points, the Bearcats took off.

Cincinnati sealed it with a 15-2 run that left the Carrier Dome
crowd booing the home team.

A layup by Hicks and a follow slam and long jumper by McGowan
got the Bearcats rolling as they easily beat Syracuse's pressing
defense. Muhammad's three-point play off a steal from Nichols
boosted the Cincinnati lead to 74-61 with 6:25 remaining as the
Orange sputtered.

Syracuse scored only two baskets in the final eight minutes.

The Bearcats, led by White's 12 points, held the lead for most
of the first half. But after White's hook in the lane at 14:05,
Devendorf scored seven straight points to tie it at 18-all.

A 3-pointer by Nichols, one of four he made in the period, and a
hook in the lane by Gorman gave the Orange their first lead, 27-24,
as they took advantage of four straight turnovers by the Bearcats
midway through the half.

Muhammad hit a 3 and a follow by Hicks, his only basket before
the break, gave Cincinnati its biggest lead, 38-31, with 3:22 left.
But McNamara and Nichols each hit 3-pointers as the Orange closed
the period with a 10-4 run and took a 41-40 lead into the locker
room.