Bearcats Clamp Down on Rutgers for 62-54 Win
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Sr. C Cheikh Mbodj scored in double figures for the third time in his UC career.

gobearcats.COM
Sr. C Cheikh Mbodj scored in double figures for the third time in his UC career.
gobearcats.COM

Jan. 30, 2013

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CINCINNATI -- Redshirt junior guard Sean Kilpatrick scored a game-high 19 points to lead No. 24/23 Cincinnati to a 62-54 win over Rutgers Wednesday evening at Fifth Third Arena.

The Bearcats held RU to 30.7 percent (8 for 26) shooting in the second half, after the Knights made 10 of their 22 first-half field goals, and converted 21 Rutgers turnovers into 18 points. On the boards, Cincinnati out-rebounded the Scarlet Knights 21-13 in the second half after finishing the first half just plus-one in rebounding margin (15-14).

Aside from Kilpatrick, who added six rebounds, four assists and two steals, senior center Cheikh Mbodj was the other Bearcat in double figures with 10 points on 5-for-7 shooting, five rebounds and two blocks. Junior forward Justin Jackson was a force inside for Cincinnati with seven points, seven rebounds and a season-high six blocks.

After trailing the entire first half, UC went on a 14-4 run over a span of 4:53 to take its first lead at 42-40 with 11:07 remaining in the game.

Back-to-back dunks by Jackson put UC up by four points, at 46-42, with 9:26 remaining.

After a pair of free throws by Scarlet Knights leading scorer Eli Carter, who finished with 11 points, knotted the score at 46-46, Cincinnati turned up the defensive pressure and did not allow RU to score for the next 7 minutes, 11.8 seconds.

Bearcats senior point guard Cashmere Wright's 3-pointer from the top of the key broke a 46-46 tie at the 6:47 mark and sparked a 7-0 UC run to put the Bearcats in front 53-46 with 1:05 left. Plagued by foul trouble all night, Wright tallied six points, three rebounds, three assists and one steal in 20 minutes.

The Rutgers scoring drought ended when Carter made a layup with 51.2 seconds left to make the score 53-48 UC.

Cincinnati closed out the game by hitting its final seven free throws to improve its record to 17-4 overall and 5-3 in the BIG EAST Conference.

Rutgers led at the half 30-22 after making 6 of 10 from 3-point range, including 3 of 4 from sophomore guard Jerome Seagers, who tied Carter with 11 points while second-year G Myles Mack produced a team-best 15.

Comparatively, Cincinnati shot 2 for 12 from downtown in the first half and played the final 14:33 of the first half without Wright after he picked up two quick personal fouls.

With Wright out for the majority of the first half, UC struggled to take care of the basketball after committing nine turnovers, which led to seven points for RU. Wright picked up his third foul of the game 53 seconds into the second half.

Defensively, the Bearcats forced Rutgers into 11 first-half miscues, which they converted into 11 points.

Cincinnati missed its first seven field-goal attempts before a Jackson layup off an inbounds play cut the Rutgers lead to 5-3 at the 14:49 mark. Rutgers responded with an 8-2 run to go up 13-5.

After falling behind 16-9, the Bearcats went on an 8-2 run that was capped by a trey from Kilpatrick at the 6:06 mark.

A Seagers 3-pointer from the top of the key capped a 12-7 Rutgers run to close out the first half.

Cincinnati next travels to the Garden State for an 11 a.m. Saturday tipoff versus Seton Hall in South Orange, N.J. The BIG EAST matchup will be televised live on ESPNU and broadcast over the air on 700 WLW-AM.