Once Kenyon Martin calmed down and settled in, DePaul was in for a long afternoon.
Martin scored 23 points, hitting every type of shot, as top-ranked Cincinnati attacked DePaul's touted front line and rolled to an 87-64 victory Sunday.
After a week off, Cincinnati (23-1, 11-0 Conference USA) was a little antsy at the start. The lead changed hands four times before Martin found his comfort zone.
"I tried not to get too far off the blocks," Martin said. "I tried to stay where I'm comfortable."
The Bearcats are very comfortable against a man-to-man defense, and that's what DePaul ran for the whole game.
It didn't work. DePaul (16-8, 6-5) ended up with its most lopsided loss of the season because it couldn't stop Martin or Kenny Satterfield in its man-to-man.
"Kenyon is the best player in the country," coach Pat Kennedy said. "Nobody controls a college game right now like he does. He breaks your spirit."
Last season, DePaul split its series with Cincinnati by playing a lot of zone defense. Kennedy has decided to stay with a man-to-man this season and was reluctant to change for Cincinnati.
"You don't want to get into this game and change so many things that your kids forget what they were doing when they were playing well," Kennedy said.
They got a game they'd rather forget.
Cincinnati ran its home winning streak to 42 games, second-longest in the nation, and extended its domination of DePaul to a new season. The Blue Demons have lost 17 of their last 18 to Cincinnati since 1992-93.
DePaul's best chance to get another win rested wit its front line of Quentin Richardson, Bobby Simmons and Hunter. The Blue Demons couldn't match up with Martin, Pete Mickeal and Jermaine Tate.
Although the Blue Demons lead the conference in rebounding margin and offensive rebounds, the Bearcats dominated the boards 44-26.
"They're one of the few teams that made sure every time a shot went up, someone was on me every time," said Richardson, who usually scores a lot of points on putbacks.
Simmons fouled out with 3:52 left and only four points, his second-lowest total of the season. Richardson had seven points on 3-of-13 shooting and Hunter scored four as DePaul's starting front line accounted for only 15 points and 11 rebounds.
Rashon Burno and Paul McPherson led DePaul with 12 points apiece.
Satterfield added 23 points for Cincinnati, most of them in drives to the basket. The point guard was 10-of-12 from the field and hit both of his free throws.
Satterfield scored 15 in the second half, when Cincinnati spread the floor and left him lanes to the basket.
"In the second half, we ran our `31 Spread' and ran it to perfection, I guess," said Satterfield, who was perfect on his six second-half shots. "I'd just get in the lane and jump up there and no one was there."
The Bearcats took control with a 10-0 run early in the game. Martin scored six points, including a pair of turnaround jumpers over Hunter.
DePaul cut a 10-point deficit in half before Cincinnati stretched its lead by taking it inside. Mickeal scored six points in a 15-5 run that came from close range six of Cincinnati's seven baskets were layups or up-close bank shots.
Cincinnati put it away in the first three minutes of the second half. After Burno hit a 3-pointer, Cincinnati went on an eight-point spurt that made it 48-29.
Martin scored the first three baskets in that run a followup dunk, a short bank shot off an alley-oop and another turnaround jumper against Hunter. Richardson picked up his third foul during the run, and Simmons got his third a couple of minutes later.
Martin stole the ball, dribbled the length of the court and dunked to push the lead to 20 points for the first time, 61-41, midway through the second half. DePaul never got closer than 15 points the rest of the way.
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