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No. 7 Cincinnati holds off No. 22 UConn
Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Sean Kilpatrick poured in 26 points with 12 rebounds and No. 7 Cincinnati held off No. 22 Connecticut, 63-58, on Thursday.
Justin Jackson was the only other Bearcat in double figures with 15 points. Cincinnati (22-2, 11-0 AAC) has now won 15 straight games since a 64-47 loss to Xavier on Dec. 14.
"Everyone is worried about getting the win more than their own stats. If we stay that way, we will have success," Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin said. "That is the biggest challenge when coaching team sports. It's tough getting everyone focused on winning, which is why I am enjoying this season so much."
Shabazz Napier had 16 points to lead UConn (17-5, 5-4), but the Huskies' leading scorer shot a dismal 2-for-12 from beyond the arc.
"We started off the game fine but we just didn't do the right things at the end," Napier said. "I didn't shoot the ball well and I didn't play good basketball today."
Lasan Kromah tallied 13 points and Niels Giffey added 10 in the loss, which snapped a three-game winning streak for the Huskies, who play at Central Florida on Sunday.
Cincinnati will travel to Dallas for a meeting with Southern Methodist on Saturday as the Bearcats attempt to keep their flawless league record intact.
Jackson scored four straight to cap a 6-0 spurt with 7 1/2 minutes to play in the second half. His last bucket gave Cincinnati a 47-46 lead which marked the first time the Bearcats were in front since it was 8-7 early in the first.
Giffey and Amida Brimah each split a pair of free throws to give UConn a one-point advantage, but Kilpatrick nailed a 3-pointer on the Bearcats' next touch to take the lead right back.
That lead would ultimately hold as Ge'Lawn Guyn made a layup after a Ryan Boatright miss and Jermaine Lawrence split a pair at the line to increase the cushion by five with 4 1/2 remaining.
Giffey split another pair of free throws and Brimah slammed home a Napier miss to end a drought of over seven minutes without a field goal for the Huskies.
The teams traded baskets on the next two possessions and Cincinnati's Titus Rubles made two free throws to make it a 59-55 game with 25.8 seconds left.
Boatright buried his only 3-point attempt out of a timeout to keep UConn alive and close to within one.
Jermaine Sanders smoothly hit two free throws, then Giffey missed an off- balanced trey game with under six seconds left, and Kilpatrick sealed it at the line.
Earlier, Kromah made a layup before Giffey hit a trey to increase UConn's lead, 31-21, with just over two minutes left in the first half.
Guyn answered with a 3 of his own and Jackson tipped in a Rubles miss to close the scoring in the first half.
Boatright scored nine points on 3-for-9 shooting in the setback ... Cincinnati outrebounded its counterpart, 32-29 ... Each team had nine turnovers ... The Bearcats shot 23-for-50, while UConn made 20-of-51 attempts from the field.
02/06 23:41:13 ET
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