No. 8 Bearcats Fall to Lobos 55-54
R-Sr. G Cashmere Wright scored 12 points Thursday against New Mexico at Fifth Third Arena.

Dec. 28, 2012

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CINCINNATI — No. 8 Cincinnati dropped its first game of the season Thursday after falling 55-54 to New Mexico at Fifth Third Arena.

Down by one point with 4.5 seconds left in the game, the Bearcats had an inbounds play from below New Mexico’s right baseline.

UC redshirt junior guard Sean Kilpatrick lobbed the ball to senior center Cheikh Mbodj, who handed the ball off back to Kilpatrick. New Mexico’s 7-foot sophomore center Alex Kirk switched on the screen and picked up Kilpatrick, who attempted a 3-pointer from the right wing that was blocked by Kirk.

Mbodj grabbed the loose ball in the air and shot a turnaround jumper that banked off the backboard and into the rim; however, after an official video review, the basket was ruled no good as the ball was still in Mbodj’s hands as time expired.

The loss was especially disappointing after the Bearcats registered a physical defensive effort, limiting the Lobos to 38.9 percent (21-54) shooting and out-rebounding them 40-35, with Mbodj leading the charge with a career-high 10 boards, which included six on the offensive end.

Cincinnati was ultimately doomed by its poor field-goal shooting (31.3 percent), as the Bearcats made more 3-pointers (11) than baskets from inside the arc (9). At 42.3 percent, the 3-point shooting for UC was the most effective aspect of its offense most of the game.

Kilpatrick led a trio of Cincinnati scorers with 15 points, and was followed by senior guards JaQuon Parker (14) and Cashmere Wright (12).

Cincinnati went into halftime leading 26-22 before the Lobos opened the second half with a 12-6 run to take a 34-32 lead with 14:28 left in the game.

After Parker tied the score at 34-34 with a jumper, each team connected on three straight 3-pointers for a 43-43 tie at the 10:50 mark in the second half.

The Lobos had an answer each time the Bearcats regained the lead down the stretch.

After a fast-break 3-point play by Wright gave UC a 49-48 lead, UNM junior forward Cameron Bairstow tied the score with a free throw.

A Mbodj put-back gave UC a 51-50 lead with 3:28 left before Lobos junior guard Kendall Williams, who scored a game-high 16 points, nailed a 3-pointer for a 53-51 New Mexico lead.

Wright responded with his third triple of the night to put UC back on top 54-53 with 2:47 remaining before UNM junior guard Tony Snell hit a jumper to give New Mexico a 55-54 advantage with 2:28 left, which turned out to be the final points for both teams.

UC missed its final three field goals of the game, all from behind the arc.

Cincinnati will open BIG EAST Conference play noon Monday at Pittsburgh, which will be televised live on ESPN2.