Cincinnati started the game with a 27-4 run, taking all the life out of New Mexico State on the way to an 92-55 victory Sunday in the second round of the NCAA East Regional.
The second-seeded and seventh-ranked Bearcats (26-4) advanced to Thursday night's regional semifinals against sixth-seeded Virginia (21-9), which beat third-seeded Massachusetts 71-56 earlier Sunday.Cincinnati made it apparent early that it would be the team moving on. Its trapping defense forced seventh-seeded New Mexico State (26-8) into turnover after turnover and forced shot after forced shot.
The opening 8:36 told the entire story.
Cincinnati, which reached the Final Four last season, made 10 of 15 shots - four of seven from 3-point range - while holding the Aggies to 2-for-10 shooting with nine turnovers. The game was tied 2-2 before the Bearcats scored 14 straight points, the last three on the first of three straight 3-pointers by LaZelle Durden.
A side jumper by James Dockery with 14:10 left in the half made it 16-4 before Durden's two 3-pointers started an 11-0 run that resulted in the 27-4 lead with 11:24 left in the first half.
New Mexico State, the Big West regular-season champion which reached the regional semifinals last season, didn't hit double figures until the first of two free throws by Sam Crawford with 3:29 left made it 41-10 and brought the crowd at the Carrier Dome to its feet in a sarcastic roar.
Cincinnati's Nick Van Exel, averaging 18.7 points, finished with just 3, his second straight game with a season-low total. He had 7 against Coppin State.
Crawford, who had 20 points and 16 assists in the opening round, finished with just 7 points against Cincinnati. Dockery led the Aggies with 10 points.
Virginia 71, Massachusetts 56
Virginia used a smothering man-to-man defense to build a 17-point cushion and then withstood Massachusetts' second-half charge to win.
Third-seeded Massachusetts (24-7) pecked away at a 36-19 halftime deficit and cut it to 46-43 before the Cavaliers pulled away to earn their first final 16 appearance since 1989.
Cory Alexander scored 17 points for Virginia (21-9), which shot 58 percent in the first half.
UMass, which shot only 35 percent in its first-round win over Pennsylvania, continued its cold shooting in the first half Sunday. The Minutemen made only 8 of 30 shots before the break, including three air balls in the first 31/2 minutes.
UMass outscored the Cavaliers 24-10 at the start of the second half to pull to 46-43. But then Virginia went on a 9-0 run.