February 3, 1999
CINCINNATI (AP) - Ryan Fletcher made four consecutive baskets as third-ranked Cincinnati finally shook free of Tulane in the second half and beat the Green Wave 82-63 Wednesday night.
Cincinnati (21-1, 8-1 Conference USA) turned to its steadiest front-line player off the bench to win its 30th straight home game, the fourth-longest streak in the country. Tulane (9-10, 3-7) stayed within single digits most of the way until Fletcher got in the game and scored eight consecutive points.
Fletcher's two jumpers, bank shot and putback finished a 13-2 spurt that built the lead to 58-38 with 11:15 left. Tulane never got closer than 14 the rest of the way.
Pete Mickeal led Cincinnati with 22 points and 12 rebounds and Melvin Levett added 22 points, nine of them after the Bearcats opened their lead. Waitari Marsh led Tulane with 14 points and Ledaryl Billingsley had 14.
Cincinnati got the lead in the opening minutes but couldn't shake Tulane. Kenyon Martin blocked three shots in the half, but the Green Wave figured out how to work around him for layups and pullup jumpers.
The Bearcats pushed the lead to 11 points late in the first half with a five-point run set up by Mickeal's putback and two free throws. Tulane missed five consecutive shots to help Cincinnati pad the lead.
Marsh's two free throws cut it to 40-33 early in the second half and set up the game's two pivotal minutes. Cincinnati put together a five-point spurt - Mickeal had a basket and a free throw - in the next 1:25 while Tulane lost its top scorer to foul trouble.
Forward Byron Mouton picked up his third and fourth fouls within a 23-second span and headed for the bench, giving Cincinnati's front line more room to operate. Fletcher took advantage by scoring 10 of his 14 points the rest of the way.
Mouton, who averages 12.2 points per game, scored his seven points in the final four minutes.