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.”
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.