SACRAMENTO, Calif. — 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 the 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.
• Final Score: 18/16  Cincinnati 75,  Kansas State 61
• Records: Kansas State 21-14, 8-10 Big 12 // Cincinnati 30-4, 16-2 AAC
• Attendance: 16,154
• Next Game: Season Complete
The Short Story
• No. 18/16 Cincinnati connected on 62.8 percent from the field, including 65.2 percent in the first half, to earn a 75-61 win over Kansas State in the first round of the NCAA South Regional on Friday night.
• The Bearcats led for all but one-minute and 11 seconds of the game in advancing to the second round of the tournament to play No. 3 seed UCLA (30-4) on Sunday evening.
• The 62.8 field goal percentage was the highest yielded to a K-State opponent since Georgetown connected on 63.5 percent on November 22, 2013.
• Senior Wesley Iwundu led the Wildcats in his final game of his career, leading the way in scoring (19), rebounding (4) and assists (3) despite playing just 27 minutes due to foul problems.
• Senior Troy Caupain paced three Bearcats in double figures with a game-high 23 points, while juniors Kyle Washington and Gary Clark added 16 and 15 points, respectively.
How It Happened | First Half
• Cincinnati jumped out an 11-5 lead, including a 5-0 run, to force head coach Bruce Weber to call his first timeout with 15:15 to play.
• The Bearcats pushed their advantage to 17-11 with back-to-back 3-pointers from Troy Caupain and Gary Clark at the second media timeout of the half at the 11:43 mark.
• Cincinnati made its first 8 field goals before missing their first with 10:28 remaining.
• The Bearcats continued to advance their lead into double figures, taking a 27-14 edge behind a Caupain 3-point play at the 7:39 mark just after the third media timeout.
• The lead stood at 33-21 after another Caupain jumper with 3:30 remaining before halftime.
• Two more Caupain free throws gave Cincinnati at 39-28 advantage at the break, as he led all scorers with 14 points on 5-of-5 shooting, including 1-of-1 from long range, and 3-of-3 from the line.
• The Bearcats connected on 65.2 percent (15-of-23) from the field, including 50 percent (3-of-6) from 3-point range, and hit on 6-of-10 from the free throw line, while the Wildcats shot just 40 percent (10-of-25), including 25 percent (2-of-8) from long range, and went 6-of-9 from the line.
• Dean Wade led K-State with 9 points on 4-of-7 shooting, while Isaiah Maurice and Kamau Stokes each added 5 points. Wesley Iwundu had 3 personal fouls and played just 9 minutes.
How It Happened | Second Half
• Back-to-back 3-pointers by Wesley Iwundu helped K-State close to within 43-36 with 17:08 to play.
• Cincinnati pushed the lead back to 47-36 on a free throw by Kyle Washington and a jumper by Troy Caupain at the 16:15 mark.
• A 7-2 run by the Wildcats, including a 3-pointer from Barry Brown, forced head coach Mick Cronin to call his first timeout with 14:15 remaining.
• The Bearcats responded from the timeout to score 8 of the next 10 points and push their lead back out to 57-45 with 9:49 to play.
• The lead stood at 60-47 just after the third media timeout at the 7:47 mark.
• Cincinnati used a 7-3 run to push it to 67-50 after a 3-pointer by Jarron Cumberland with 5:31 to play.
• K-State called its second timeout with 5:00 remaining after a 3-pointer by Carlbe Ervin II cut it to 67-53.
• Two more free throws made it 69-53 Cincinnati at the final media timeout with 3:52 to go.
• K-State could get no closer than 11 points the rest of the way, as head coach Bruce Weber removed the starters with 43 seconds remaining.
• The Bearcats connected on 60 percent (12-of-20) in the second half, including 2-of-5 from 3-point range, and hit on 10-of-12 free throws, while K-State shot 37.9 percent (11-of-29), including 5-of-10 from long range, and knocked down all 6 free throw attempts.
• Iwundu scored 15 of his team-high 19 points in the second half on 4-of-7 shooting.
Beyond the Boxscore
• K-State is now 34-33 all-time in NCAA Tournament play, including 10-5 in the First Round… The Wildcats are now 2-3 all-time as a No. 11 seed and 2-3 against a No. 6 seed.
• The Wildcats’ 21 wins this year were the most since a 27-win campaign in 2012-13.
• Friday marked the eighth meeting between K-State and Cincinnati with the Bearcats holding a 7-1 advantage, including a 3-1 mark in NCAA Tournament action… It was the first meeting between the two teams in the NCAA Tournament since 1961.
• Cincinnati shot 62.8 percent (27-of-43) for the game, the highest percentage by a K-State opponent since Georgetown shot 63.5-percent on November 22, 2013.
• Cincinnati shot 65.2-percent (15-of-23) in the first half… It was the third time this season the Wildcats allowed an opponent to shoot 65.0-percent or better in a half… Texas shot 66.7-percent in the second half on Dec. 30, while Oklahoma carded a 68.2-percent mark in the second half on Jan. 7.
• Senior Wesley Iwundu carded 19 points on 5-of-10 shooting, including a 3-for-5 mark on 3-pointers and a 6-of-6 mark at the free throw line… He registered double figures in 65 games in his career, including a team-leading 27 times during his senior campaign… After only scoring four points in the first half while fighting foul trouble, Iwundu netted a game-high 15 second-half points.
• The 124 starts by Iwundu stands as the school record for career starts… Iwundu finished his career playing in 99 consecutive games, including a streak of 87
starts in a row… The 99 straight games played ranks ninth in school history, while the streak of 87 consecutive starts ranks fourth.
• Iwundu played in 132 career games, which ranks fifth in school history.
• “Obviously, we’re disappointed that it has come to an end,” said head coach Bruce Weber. “Cincinnati brought their “A” game and they played at a high level. We didn’t play well. The game was opposite of what happened the other night against Wake Forest when we had all the points in the paint and shot 66 percent. I couldn’t be more proud of the seniors. Wes (Iwundu)
• Kansas State sees its season end with a 21-14 overall record and a third NCAA Tournament in five seasons under head coach Bruce Weber. The Wildcats will lose five seniors, including starters Wesley Iwundu and D.J. Johnson, but will return starters Barry Brown, Kamau Stokes and Dean Wade.