Dec. 19, 2012
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CINCINNATI — Redshirt junior guard Sean Kilpatrick’s 18 second-half points led a UC surge that saw No. 11 Cincinnati turn a two-point halftime deficit into a 60-45 win over Xavier Wednesday evening in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Classic at US Bank Arena.
The win extended Cincinnati’s (11-0) undefeated streak at US Bank Arena to 18 games and increased its all-time lead over Xavier (7-3) to 49-31.
Kilpatrick, a 2012 preseason All-BIG EAST Conference First Team selection, finished with a game-high 25 points and seven rebounds. Fifth-year senior point guard Cashmere Wright added 15 points, six rebounds and four assists. Cincinnati’s third senior guard, JaQuon Parker, totaled 11 points and six rebounds.
Cincinnati won the game on the strength of its rebounding and defense, which entered the day ranked seventh in NCAA in field-goal percentage defense. UC limited Xavier to 37.7 shooting – the eighth opponent the Bearcats have held below 40 percent this season. Behind the arc, the Musketeers went 2 of 13 (15.4 percent), which were the fewest made by a UC opponent in 2012-13.
The Bearcats scored the first seven points of the second half on their way to a 20-4 run that put them ahead 39-28 with 13:27 remaining. UC’s full-court defense forced four XU turnovers during the run, which featured nine points from Kilpatrick and six from Wright and at one point saw UC score 10 consecutive points.
Xavier cut the lead to eight points with 6:12 remaining after a layup by forward Travis Taylor, who led XU with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Kilpatrick nailed a trey from the left baseline on UC’s next possession, sparking a 7-0 run that gave UC its largest lead of the night at 55-40 with 4:12 left in the second half. Xavier did not get closer than 11 points the rest of the way.
Cincinnati struggled from the field in the first half to the tune of 25 percent (9 for 36) shooting overall and 18.2 percent (2-11) from 3-point range, as the Musketeers went into halftime with a two-point lead at 24-22.
Despite taking eight more shots than Xavier, Cincinnati’s first-half offense at times looked hurried, as nine UC turnovers led to 11 points for the Musketeers.
After Wright and Kilpatrick, who both scored a team-high seven first-half points, made the first two buckets of the game to give UC a quick 5-0 lead, Xavier outscored the Bearcats 18-8 over a span of 10:26, which included a 5:41 time frame when Cincinnati did not score a point.
Trailing 18-13, Wright stole the ball from XU sophomore point guard Dee Davis in the open court and made a layup, which preceded a fast-break layup by Kilpatrick that cut the deficit to one point with 5:01 remaining in the first half.
After consecutive baskets by Taylor, who scored a game-high eight first-half points, put XU ahead 24-19, Wright sunk a 3-pointer from the left wing that made the score 24-22 with 39 seconds before the end of the first period.
For the sixth time of the year, the Bearcats recorded a double-digit edge in rebounding margin after topping XU 47-37, which included 20 offensive boards that led to 14 second-chance points. Junior forward Titus Rubles led UC with nine boards in 16 minutes.
Cincinnati plays host to Wright State University 4 p.m. Saturday at Fifth Third Arena, which will be televised live on FOX Sports Ohio.