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Associated Press
Missouri guard Marcus Denmon gets tangled up with Cincinnati guard Dion Dixon during the first half of the West regional second round NCAA tournament college basketball game, Thursday, March 17, 2011, at the Verizon Center in Washington.

WASHINGTON — Yancy Gates had 18 points and 11 rebounds, and Cincinnati made a successful return to the NCAA tournament Thursday night with a 78-63 win over Missouri.

The sixth-seeded Bearcats used their stalwart defense to hold the run-all-the-time Tigers to 29 percent shooting in the first half and 38 percent for the game. Missouri went some 11 minutes without scoring a field goal to fall behind by 15 early in the second half and finished well below their average of 81.4 points per game.

Cincinnati (26-8) will face Connecticut on Saturday in a rare early round matchup of Big East teams, necessitated by the conference's record 11 bids to this year's tournament.

The Bearcats last played in the NCAAs in 2005 — before coach Bob Huggins' messy departure.

Ricardo Ratliffe scored 13 points for the Tigers (23-11).