Published January 08, 2015
Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - In front of a rowdy crowd on Senior Night, 15th-ranked Cincinnati's trio of seniors dominated from start-to-finish in the Bearcats' 97-84 win over No. 20 Memphis on Thursday.
Sean Kilpatrick, the second leading scorer in program history behind NBA legend Oscar Robertson, poured in a game-high 34 points in his final game at Fifth Third Arena. Cincinnati (25-5, 14-3 American) also received a career- best 24 points from Titus Rubles and 13 with nine rebounds from Justin Jackson.
"It couldn't have been a better night for our seniors," said Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin. "They had 71 points and no turnovers. 71 points and no turnovers is comical, it is impossible, especially in a fast-paced game. Their will was tremendous tonight and it really has been all year."
Cincy has now won at least 25 games in three of the last four seasons. With the victory, the Bearcats climbed into a tie with Louisville on top of the conference standings.
Joe Jackson paced Memphis (22-8, 11-6) with 21 points and a game-high six assists, while Michael Dixon Jr. and Austin Nichols deposited 19 and 17 points, respectively.
"I just got in rhythm, and they gave me the ball early," said Nichols. "No one on our team likes losing but I'm just proud of our teammates for not folding. We kept pushing the whole game."
It was 4-4 early on when Rubles' layup at 16:40 sparked a 14-0 Cincinnati run. Turnovers plagued Memphis during the surge, which Geron Johnson finally ended with his jumper nearly eight minutes into the contest.
The Tigers chipped away at the deficit over the next few minutes, with Shaq Goodwin's alley-oop slam plus a free throw cutting it to 19-13. A crucial five-point swing helped Cincy keep the visitors at arm's length, however, as Joe Jackson missed a jumper and Kilpatrick potted a 3-ball on the other end.
Chris Crawford and Dixon each hit 3-pointers in the closing stages of the first half to draw Memphis within 38-32 at the break.
The Tigers scored the first five points out of the locker rooms and kept it close over the early portion of the second half before Cincy pushed the spread to 58-45 with a 10-1 sprint.
Memphis never got back within eight points the rest of the way.
The win snapped Cincinnati's second two-game losing skid of the season ... The Bearcats have used the same starting five in all 30 games ... Kilpatrick has led Cincy in scoring in 16 straight games ... Cincinnati scored 20 points off of 14 Memphis turnovers. The Tigers had just five off of three Cincy miscues. Cincinnati starters did not turn the ball over in 147 combined minutes.