Kilpatrick scores 23, No. 19 Cincinnati uses late run to beat Temple 69-58 for 9th in a row

Sean Kilpatrick emerged from his 3-point shooting slump Tuesday night, and Justin Jackson had a double-double, rallying No. 19 Cincinnati from a late deficit to a 69-58 victory over short-handed Temple.

Cincinnati (16-2, 5-0) remained alone atop the American Athletic Conference with its ninth straight win. The Bearcats are 13-0 at home this season.

After Temple (5-10, 0-5) went ahead 47-45 with 7:24 to go, Kilpatrick hit consecutive 3s that started a 12-point run and put the Bearcats in control. He finished with 23 points, matching his season high. Jackson had 15 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots, one shy of his career high.

The Owls have lost five straight and remain alone at the bottom of the AAC. They dressed only eight players Tuesday night because of injuries. Dalton Pepper led the Owls with 21 points.

The Owls were missing guard Will Cummings, who averages 16.1 points and 4.1 assists. Cummings had concussion symptoms from a game last week. Freshman point guard Josh Brown made his first career start and had three points, six assists and five of Temple's 15 turnovers.

Cincinnati's 16-2 start matches its best during coach Mick Cronin's eight seasons. The Bearcats moved into the Top 25 for the first time this season on Monday.

Cincinnati has put together its winning streak on the strength of its defense, which allows only 56.2 points per game, fewest in the AAC. The Bearcats haven't given up more than 67 points in any game this season.

Overall, Cincinnati has held the last 25 opponents under 70 points, the longest active streak in the nation.

Kilpatrick leads the AAC in scoring at 18.4 points per game but has struggled with his outside shot, going only 4 of 33 from beyond the arc in his five previous games. He was only 1 of 10 on 3-point attempts during a 71-51 win over Rutgers on Saturday.

Kilpatrick hit his first 3-point shot and passed to Jackson for a fast-break dunk during an 11-point run that put Cincinnati ahead 21-11 midway through the first half. Kilpatrick finished 6 of 13 beyond the arc.

Temple relies on its exceptional balance on offense — one of only three teams in Division I with four players averaging at least 13 points per game. With Cummings gone, the Owls had fewer options. They went 7:43 without scoring during the first half as Cincinnati built its double-digit lead.

The Owls' biggest problem has their defense, which gives up 75.9 points per game — worst in the league. Its zone defense kept Cincinnati out of sorts until the Bearcats went on their clinching 12-point run down the stretch.

Up 27-25 at halftime, Cincinnati opened the second half with a 6-1 spurt, but Quenton DeCosey had a basket, two free throws and a fast-break layup that cut it to 33-32. Mark Williams' 3-pointer tied it at 35-all.

Titus Rubles completed a three-point play, and Kilpatrick it a 3 as Cincinnati regained the lead and pushed it to 45-37. Devontae Watson picked up his fourth foul for Temple with 10:31 left, further depleting the bench.

DeCosey had a dunk and a fade-away jumper, and Brown's steal and layup gave Temple a 47-45 lead with 7:24 left, the Owls' first lead since midway through the first half.

That's when Kilpatrick hit his 3s from the left wing, starting the clinching run.


Follow Joe Kay on Twitter: