Cincinnati Basketball: Bearcats Defeat Scarlet Knights 62-54

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Cincinnati Basketball: Bearcats Defeat Scarlet Knights 62-54
Rob Leifheit-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 24 Cincinnati Bearcats (17-4, 5-3 Big East) beat the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (12-8, 3-6 Big East) 62-54 tonight after trailing by eight points at halftime.

Sean Kilpatrick led the Bearcats in scoring with 19 points, going 5-of-13 (38 percent) from the field, 3-of-8 (37.5 percent) from behind the arc and 6-of-8 (75 percent) from the line. Cheikh Mbodj scored 10, while Justin Jackson and Cashmere Wright each had seven.

Jackson also had six blocks, seven rebounds, three assists and a steal. Jackson's play drew praise from Bearcats Head Coach Mick Cronin in his post-game radio interview on 700 WLW in Cincinnati.

“The leadership of our team refused to lose,” Cronin said. “It started with Justin’s energy, but on down the line, a lot of guys contributed in a lot of ways in the second half.”

Myles Mack led Rutgers in scoring with 15 points while Eli Carter and Jerome Seagears each scored 11.

UC took its first lead of the game, 42-40, on a Sean Kilpatrick steal and layup with 11:06 left in the game, and they never trailed again.

Rutgers tied the game twice, once at 42 with 10:39 left and again at 46 with 8:03 left, but they couldn’t regain the lead.

Wright increased Cincinnati’s lead to seven, 55-48, on two made free-throws with 51 seconds left.

Mack made a three-pointer with 47 seconds left to make it a four point game, 55-51.

UC led by six, 57-51, after two Titus Rubles free-throws with 38 seconds left before taking a nine point lead, 60-51, on a three-point-play from Ge'Lawn Guyn with 26 seconds left.

Mack made a three to cut Cincinnati’s lead to six points with 19 seconds left.

Kilpatrick made two free-throws with 17 seconds left to increase their lead to 62-54.

Both teams were 18-of-48 (37.5 percent) from the field.

Rutgers made eight three-pointers, shooting 8-of-17 (47.1 percent). Cincinnati made five threes, shooting 5-of-21 (23.8 percent).

Cincinnati scored 21 points at the free-throw line, shooting 72.4 percent (21-of-29) while the Scarlett Knights only scored 10, shooting 10-of-11 (90.9 percent).

The Bearcats won the rebounding battle 32-21.

11,024 fans were in attendance at Fifth Third Arena.

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