15 Cincinnati slips by 22 Pitt in Opener
by Bill Koch, USA TODAY Sports
PITTSBURGH – Cincinnati goes into every game determined to use their depth to wear down their opponents. They know there will be some tough times when they fall behind or can’t seem to hit a shot, but they’re confident that when the game is on the line, they’ll be the more resilient team.
That’s exactly how things played out Monday when the Bearcats overcame an eight-point halftime deficit to outscore Pitt, 44-27, in the second half on the way to a 70-61 victory in the Big East Conference opener for both teams before 12,150 fans at the Petersen Events Center.
“We figure the first thirty minutes we’re going to try to wear you out as much as we can,” said Cincinnati point guard Cashmere Wright. “We just keep pushing, keep grinding, pressing full court. Most teams don’t play like we play. Sooner or later they’re going to get tired and they’re going to start making bad decisions and the shots are going to stop falling for them.”
UC, which fell to No. 15 from No. 8 in the USA TODAY Sports poll after its loss to New Mexico last week, improved to 13-1 overall, 1-0 in the Big East. No. 22 Pitt (12-2, 0-1) saw an eight-game winning streak come to an end and lost to the Bearcats at home for the second straight season.
The victory pulled Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin into a tie with Gale Catlett for third place on the school’s career coaching victories list with 126. Cronin is 126-89 in seven seasons at Cincinnati.
Wright led the Bearcats with 18 points. Sean Kilpatrick scored 16 and JaQuon Parker had 13. Cincinnati out-rebounded Pitt, 37-32, and had nine more rebounds in the second half than the Panthers, who were led by Talib Zanna’s 16 points. Pitt did not make a 3-point shot in 10 attempts.
Cincinnati got off to another horrible start on offense, missing 11 of its first 12 shots to fall behind by eight with 12:01 left in the first half. The Bearcats fought back to tie the score at 26-26 then watched Pitt score eight straight points to close the … [For more on No. 15 Cincinnati slips by No. 22 Pitt in Big East opener, click here.]