Cincinnati (7-0) at New Mexico (6-1)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, December 7, 4:05 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: The Pit/Bob King Court (15,411) -- Albuquerque, New Mexico. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: UC 7-0, NM 3-0. Away Record: UC 0-0, NM 1-0. Neutral Record: UC 0-0, NM 2-1. Conference Record: UC 0-0, NM 0-0. Series Record: New Mexico leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Cincinnati Bearcats hit the road for the first time in the 2013-14 season, as they are set to tip it off against the New Mexico Lobos in a non-conference tilt at The Pit.
Cincinnati opened the campaign with a seven-game homestand and emerged victorious in all seven games, including Tuesday's 86-50 drubbing of USC Upstate. The Bearcats are 7-0 for the third time in the last four seasons and got off to a 12-0 start a year ago. Following this tilt, they'll break for final exams and then resume play at home against Xavier next Saturday.
New Mexico was ranked as high as 19th before falling to No. 21 Massachusetts on Nov. 22, its only setback of the season thus far. The Lobos notched their third straight win with Wednesday's 79-70 triumph at rival New Mexico State. They have won 13 straight at home dating back to last season.
New Mexico squeezed out a 55-54 win over the Bearcats last December at Fifth Third Arena, which was the only previous meeting in the head-to-head series.
The Bearcats were entrenched in a 20-20 tie late in the first half of Tuesday's contest against USC Upstate. However, they out-scored the Spartans 54-18 the rest of the way to win handily. UC made a season-high 13 3-pointers (.500) while forcing 22 turnovers on the defensive end. Sean Kilpatrick shot 6-of-9 from the perimeter and led all scorers with 22 points to go along with seven assists. Ge'Lawn Guyn and Troy Caupain each scored a career-high 15 in the win. Kilpatrick is the American Athletic Conference's leading scorer and 3-point shooter, averaging 19.7 points and 3.3 treys per game. Guyn has shot 59 percent from the floor while averaging 11.0 points over the last three games. The Bearcats remain among the nation's stingier defensive squads, having held each of their last 14 opponents (and 34 of the last 36) below 70 points. They have forced 23.3 turnovers over the last four contests.
The Lobos held New Mexico State to just nine first-half field goals (.333) in Wednesday's matchup as they built a 39-29 halftime cushion and then maintained the lead throughout the second half. Kendall Williams had a game-high 24 points, while Cameron Bairstow scored 20 to go along with a team-best eight rebounds. New Mexico made 29 free throws for the game, 22 of which came in the second half to keep the Aggies at bay. On the season, the Lobos boast three of the top five scorers in the Mountain West Conference in Williams (20.4 ppg), Bairstow (19.1) and Alex Kirk (19.1). Kirk is pulling down an average of 11.0 rebounds per tilt, second in the league only to UNLV's Roscoe Smith (16.2), the nation's leader.
While both of these teams are off to strong starts to their respective seasons, the Bearcats have not yet been road tested. They'll face a tough test here against a New Mexico squad that can score in bunches and tends to step up its game at The Pit.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 70, Cincinnati 64
12/07 10:35:38 ET