No. 24 Cincinnati squeaks past Marquette in OT
by Bill Koch, USA TODAY Sports
CINCINNATI — A few hours before Cincinnati took the floor against Marquette on Saturday, Sean Kilpatrick saw Cashmere Wright in the trainer’s room and asked Wright if he was going to play. When Wright said no, Kilpatrick knew what had to be done.
“Cash is one of our leaders,” Kilpatrick said. “I said to the team, we’re down a leader and we’ve got to step up. Everyone did a great job doing that.”
No one did a better job than Kilpatrick, who scored a career-high 36 points and delivered the game-winning shot in No. 24 Cincinnati’s 71-69 overtime victory over Marquette before 12,812 fans, the largest crowd of the season at Fifth Third Arena.
With the score tied at 69-69 following a 3-point play by Marquette’s Davante Gardner, Kilpatrick took advantage of a perfect screen by Kelvin Gaines, who was in the game only because Cheikh Mbodj, David Nyarsuk and Justin Jackson had all fouled out, and blew down the left side of the lane to drop in a left-handed layup with 4.3 seconds left.
Marquette raced down the floor and Junior Cadougan launched a shot that would have tied the score, but his shot was no good. The ball was batted in the air by a Golden Eagle player as time expired.
“I just felt at the end, because they were face-guarding me a whole lot, that if they just give me a little bit of breathing room, I’m going to try to get a layup,” Kilpatrick said. “Kelvin set a great screen and I just took their power forward on.”
The Bearcats (16-3 overall, 4-2 in the Big East) ended a three-game home losing streak before heading to Syracuse to face the sixth-ranked Orange on Monday in the Carrier Dome.
“Whenever you win without the guy who’s clearly been your best player for the last two weeks, you’ve got to be happy about that,” said Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin.
Playing for the first time since 2009-10 without Wright, who sprained his right knee Tuesday at DePaul, Cincinnati built a 16-point halftime lead, limiting the Golden Eagles to 13 points and 17.9 percent shooting in the first … [For more on No. 24 Cincinnati squeaks past Marquette in OT, click here.]