CINCINNATI, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Sparked by Leonard Stokes and Tony Bobbitt, Cincinnati took a major step toward securing an NCAA Tournament bid Saturday with a 101-80 Conference USA rout of third-ranked Louisville.
Entering the contest with five losses in their last six games and trying to avoid consecutive home defeats for the first time in the 14-year history of the Shoemaker Center, the Bearcats (15-8, 7-5 C-USA American) responded with a record-setting performance.
Stokes and Bobbitt led the charge. Stokes played aggressive on both ends of the floor and finished with a season-high 33 points while Bobbitt added 25, making five three-pointers.
In a 77-71 loss at Louisville on Jan. 5, Stokes managed just 13 points while maknig three of 14 shots. Bobbitt was not a member of the Bearcats at the time after briefly quitting the team.
Paced by Stokes and Bobbitt, the Bearcats dominated the entire way, reaching 100 points in a game for the first time in school history.
With his team headed for its second straight and third loss in four games, Cardinals Coach Rich Pitino was ejected from the contest after picking up two technical fouls with 11:05 remaining in the contest.
Pitino seemed to have some reason for complaining about the officiating. Cincinnati made 42 of 58 free throws while Louisville went 14 of 34 at the line.
Reece Gaines, who was saddled with early foul trouble, scored 18 points to lead Louisville (19-4, 9-3), which fell 1 1/2 games behind first-place Marquette in the American division. The Cardinals host Marquette next Saturday.