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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Tuesday, January 7, 9 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hofheinz Pavilion (8,479) -- Houston, Texas. Television: CBSSN. Home Record: Cincinnati 11-0, Houston 7-1. Away Record: Cincinnati 1-1, Houston 2-2. Neutral Record: Cincinnati 1-1, Houston 1-2. Conference record: Cincinnati 2-0, Houston 2-0. Series Record: Cincinnati 22-1.
GAME NOTES: Two of the top American Athletic Conference powers square off Tuesday, as the Cincinnati Bearcats and Houston Cougars clash in Houston, each with winning streaks and a conference leg up on the line.
Cincinnati enters with a six-game winning streak in tow, as the Bearcats took down No. 18-ranked Memphis, 69-53, on the road in their most recent contest Saturday. The Bearcats are 2-0 early in conference play.
Houston, at 10-5 overall, is also 2-0 in the conference, and puts its three- game winning streak to the test. The Cougars defeated UConn as part of their winning streak, and downed South Florida, 67-58, on Saturday.
Cincinnati holds an impressive all-time series lead against Houston, 22-1, including wins in the last 10 matchups. The Bearcats are 11-1 all-time in Houston.
The Bearcats held a slim 27-26 advantage at the half against Memphis, but exploded for 42 points in the second half to down the nationally ranked Tigers by 16, 69-53. Sean Kilpatrick scored a team-high 18 points in the win, leading the Bearcats to the win. He was 5-of-11 from the field, including 7-of-9 from the free-throw line. Justin Jackson netted 13 points, grabbed eight rebounds and had seven blocked shots, while teammate Shaquille Thomas scored 10 and had three steals. Cincinnati shot a whopping 54.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.
Kilpatrick has been a beast for Cincinnati this season, averaging 18.6 ppg on 43.2 percent shooting from the floor. He leads the team with 39 total assists, has 22 steals and a 4.3 rpg clip. Jackson, the other Bearcat averaging double digits in scoring (11.9 ppg) is tops on the Cincinnati roster with a 7.7 rpg average and has an outstanding 52 blocks this season. The Bearcats as a team average 72.3 ppg on 42.7 percent shooting.
Houston built a 14-point lead in the first half against South Florida before the Bulls battled back to a three-point deficit in the second. Still, the Cougars held on the for the win. TaShawn Thomas scored a team-high 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting with four rebounds, five assists, six blocks and six steals in the all-around effort. Both Tione Womack and Danrad Knowles added 12 points, while Jherrod Stiggers netted 11 to round out the double-digit scorers. Houston defensively held South Florida to 37 percent shooting in the contest, while the Cougars shot 41.8 percent from the floor.
Thomas has been the go-to player for the Cougars this season. Thomas leads the team in scoring at 17.5 ppg (63.5 percent shooting from the floor), and against UConn netted 23 points for Houston in the upset win. Thomas is the team's leading rebounder as well with an 8.9 rpg mark. Houston's Danuel House (second on the team in scoring average) is out with a knee injury that required surgery, and guard L.J. Rose is questionable for this contest with a bruised foot.
The matchup of Thomas versus Kilpatrick will be an intriguing one, but Cincinnati overall has other dominant players that can take advantage if Thomas isn't on his game for the Cougars.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati 78, Houston 73
01/07 10:32:10 ET
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