CINCINNATI (AP) -- Marvin Gentry scored a career-high 32 points Saturday afternoon, rallying Cincinnati from a 17-point deficit to a 96-83 overtime victory against West Virginia, its first win in the Big East this season.
The Bearcats (10-8, 1-3) snapped a five-game losing streak -- their longest in 19 years -- and ended their distinction as the only team without a win in Big East play.The game marked the start of a tough two-week stretch for the Mountaineers (14-4, 4-3) -- four of five games away from home. All of their losses have come away from home.Cincinnati has fallen into the habit of falling behind by double-digits, then making it a game. The Bearcats trailed Syracuse by 19 points on Wednesday before taking a late lead, only to lose 77-76.This time, they fell behind by 17 points at the outset, then rallied behind Gentry. The junior college transfer was bothered by a sore shooting wrist early in the season and had never scored more than 13 points in a game.Gentry was 9-of-14 from the field, including 5-of-7 from behind the 3-point arc. John Williamson added 17 points and made the two defining shots in overtime.Williamson's three-point play put Cincinnati ahead to stay at the start of overtime. His steal and left-handed dunk helped the Bearcats build the lead to 11 points.Alex Ruoff led West Virginia with 21 points. Frank Young added 13, but missed a fall-away jumper in the closing seconds of regulation that left it tied at 75.The 96 points were the most allowed this season by West Virginia, which leads the conference in defense and 3-point shooting. Both let them down in the second half and overtime.The Mountaineers went 9-of-12 from behind the arc in the first half, only 6-of-28 the rest of the way.West Virginia pulled ahead 24-7 while Cincinnati went 2-of-17 from the field, missing 10 shots in a row. Gentry finally got Cincinnati going, hitting three 3-pointers and a layup during a 14-0 run that cut the lead to three points.The Mountaineers allowed Gentry only one more shot in the half -- he missed it -- and Young's buzzer-beating bank shot from midcourt put West Virginia up 43-31 at halftime.West Virginia missed its first five 3-point attempts in the second half, allowing Gentry to lead the Bearcats on another run. He had a three-point play and passed to Cedric McGowan for a lay-in.Cincinnati finally caught up after Gentry went to the bench with his fourth foul midway through the half. Williamson's lay-in tied it, and McGowan's alley-oop dunk put Cincinnati ahead 60-58 with 8:51 to go.There were four lead changes down the stretch. Ruoff's 3-pointer put West Virginia ahead 74-73 with 1:03 left, but Cincinnati's Jamual Warren made a driving bank shot with 16.9 seconds to play, tying it at 75.