Dan Skillings Jr. poured in a career-high 25 points and added nine rebounds to help keep Cincinnati unbeaten with a 90-66 win over visiting Northern Kentucky on Sunday afternoon.
Day Day Thomas added 20 poinys on 8-of-11 shooting while Viktor Lakhin chipped in with 14 points and 14 rebounds to help the Bearcats (4-0) avenge last season's 64-51 loss at Northern Kentucky.
Marques Warrick led the Norse (1-3) with 19 points while Sam Vinson added 15 as Northern Kentucky fell for the third time in four games to open the season. Keeyan Itejere was the only other Norse player in double figures with 10 points.
Northern Kentucky showed fight early on, taking a 12-9 lead on a pair of free throws from Vinson with 13:50 left in the first half.
But Skillings tied the game with a 3-pointer 18 seconds later, sparking an 8-0 run that put Cincinnati up to stay at 17-12.
The Norse drew to within 24-23 on a 3-pointer from Vinson with 6:37 left in the first half.
The Bearcats closed the half on a 21-8 spurt to take a 45-31 lead. Last year, the Bearcats led at halftime 40-36 but were outscored 28-11 in their first loss in eight meetings in the series between schools separated by just 5 miles across the Ohio River.
This time, the Bearcats would avoid a similar collapse. After allowing NKU to score the first four points of the second half to cut the margin to 45-35, Cincinnati opened the lead to as many as 25 to cruise to victory.
The Norse was just 4-of-20 shooting from 3-point range. The Bearcats outscored the Norse 48-38 in the paint, and held a commanding 45-30 rebounding advantage.
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