Ricky Kreklow #2 of the Missouri Tigers tries to steal...

Ricky Kreklow #2 of the Missouri Tigers tries to steal the ball from Justin Jackson #5 of the Cincinnati Bearcats. (March 17, 2011) Credit: Getty Images

WASHINGTON -- In basketball, rock (muscle) beats paper (statistics). Cincinnati's muscle last night obliterated some impressive Missouri numbers regarding steals, assists and three-point shooting for a 78-63 second-round victory in the NCAA Tournament West regional.

Cincy's inside power, particularly the forceful play of 6-9, 235-pound junior Yancy Gates, made the so-called "Fastest 40 Minutes of Basketball" feel like hours of torture for Missouri, while Gates' overbearing strength brought got him game highs in points (18) and rebounds (11).

For Cincinnati (25-8), it was an emphatic bounce-back after being smashed by Notre Dame in the Big East quarterfinals, and gives it another shot at conference champion UConn tomorrow night here. Missouri (23-11) concluded its year with five losses in its last six games. What hope 11th-seeded Missouri had against No. 6 Cincinnati was based on its 9.8 steals, 16.5 assists and 7.5 three-pointers per game. With seven, 15 and six, it couldn't match any of those averages.

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