Instead, Boeheim came away with career victory No. 877, moving him ahead of Adolph Rupp into sole possession of fourth place on the Division I coaching list.
Syracuse was coming off a 67-58 loss at Notre Dame on Saturday that ended the best start in school history and cost the Orange its No. 1 ranking.
"I told our players this was probably as good a regular-season bounce-back win that I can remember at Syracuse," said Boeheim, in his 36th season as coach. "We were just so woeful [Saturday] night. To come in here with that atmosphere to start the game and play the way we did I thought was tremendous."
Joseph had three driving baskets during the 12-2 run midway through the second half.
Cashmere Wright had 17 points for Cincinnati, which suffered its first back-to-back losses of the season.
A little old-fashioned zone defense made the difference. Cincinnati's 53 points matched its season low against Xavier.
The Bearcats wore throwback uniforms for their biggest home game of the season. Most of the 13,176 fans dressed in white, and the coaches wore white button-down shirts without jackets. Syracuse's late spurt sent them to the exits before the buzzer.
The Orange was missing 7-foot center Fab Melo for the second straight game. Melo is its top rebounder and shot blocker. The school hasn't disclosed the reason for his absence.
Syracuse leads the Big East with 78.9 points per game and 48 percent shooting, fueled by fastbreak layups off turnovers. Cincinnati kept it close until the late Orange run.
The Bearcats fed off the crowd's energy and made four of their first five shots from behind the arc, including three long threes by Wright, for a 15-6 lead. They went cold after that and had trouble scoring inside Syracuse's zone defense.
C.J. Fair had a fastbreak dunk and a baseline jumper during a 9-0 run that tied it at 15. Both defenses then dug in, keeping it close the rest of the half.
Cincinnati power forward Yancy Gates had his best offensive game since returning from a six-game suspension for a brawl against Xavier, scoring 16 points.
In other games *
At Kansas, Thomas Robinson had 18 points and 10 rebounds to lead the No. 5 Jayhawks (17-3, 7-0 Big 12) over Texas A&M, 64-54.
* At Siena, O.D. Anosike had 17 points and 15 rebounds and Kyle Downey added 16 points as the Saints (9-10, 4-5 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference) rallied from a 20-2 deficit to beat Iona, 65-62.
Forward Ivan Aska said he's been cleared to return for No. 11 Murray State after missing the last six games with a broken right hand, suffered in the first half of a victory at Eastern Illinois on Dec. 30. The Racers (20-0, 8-0 Ohio Valley Conference), the only remaining unbeaten Division I team, are off until Saturday, when they have a rematch with Eastern Illinois.
* Kentucky, the only team in last week's top four not to lose over the weekend, is back on top of the Associated Press poll. The Wildcats, who were ranked No. 1 for 2 weeks earlier this season, moved up one place after receiving 61 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.
Syracuse, which was in first place for the last 6 weeks, dropped to third after losing at Notre Dame, its first loss this season.
Baylor remained the unanimous No. 1 choice in the women's poll.
* Former Oklahoma State guard Fred Gulley has enrolled at Arkansas and plans to play for the Razorbacks. Gulley, a redshirt sophomore, was granted his transfer from the Cowboys last month after averaging 4.0 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.5 assists per game.
* Former St. John's sophomore guard Nurideen Lindsey has enrolled at Rider for the spring semester and will be a member of the Broncs next season. Lindsey averaged 11.8 points, 4.9 rebounds and 2.9 assists in nine games this season for the Red Storm. The Philadelphia native is a product of Overbrook High; he also played at Redlands Community College in El Reno, Okla.