Cincinnati, OH (SportsNetwork.com) - Sean Kilpatrick produced a game-high 28 points to go with six assists, as 10th-ranked Cincinnati downed Houston, 73-62, on Saturday.
Justin Jackson totaled 13 points and Shaquille Thomas added 11 for the Bearcats (23-3, 12-1 AAC), who rebounded nicely from a 21-point loss at SMU last week to win for the 16th time in 17 games.
"We knew Houston would come in with a lot of intensity," Kilpatrick said. "It would be a great win for them if they had beaten us, especially in our home gym. Protecting our home gym is something that we really talk about the whole year. If you protect your home gym, everything else will fall into place. I give them a lot of credit, they came in and played really hard. We were able to tighten things up at halftime and make adjustments and that was all that mattered."
Danrad Knowles recorded 11 points for the Cougars (12-13, 4-8), while L.J. Rose, Danuel House and TaShawn Thomas totaled 10 points apiece in their sixth loss over the last seven outings.
"I was proud of the way our guys competed. We just have to get better stops and we have to value offensive possessions late in the game," Houston coach James Dickey said.
Thomas' slam and resulting foul shot provided Houston's final lead of the contest, 57-55, with 6:41 to play.
Kilpatrick followed with a layup to tie and Jackson added a slam off a steal from Ge'Lawn Guyn to put Cincinnati ahead to stay. Thomas then made 1-of-2 from the line, but Kilpatrick's two free throws and a triple from Guyn provided the Bearcats with a 64-58 edge inside of three minutes remaining.
Guyn connected again from long distance after the Cougars failed on their attempt from beyond the arc, and it was 67-58 just over a minute later. Kilpatrick hit four free throws and Jackson's jam in the final seconds put the game to rest.
Neither team led by more than four points for the majority of the first half, but a Brandon Morris 3-pointer capped a 9-1 surge to give Houston a 28-22 advantage.
Cincinnati scored the final seven points before the break, including five by Kilpatrick, and the hosts led 29-28 at intermission.
The Cougars kept the Bearcats at bay for most of the second half, but failed to push their leading margin to greater than four. J.J. Richardson's layup gave them a 50-46 edge with 10:44 remaining, but the hosts began chipping away.
Cincinnati has won 24 of 25 meetings with Houston, and 12 straight ... Guyn ended up with eight points ... The game featured six ties and 23 lead changes ... The Cougars shot 53.3 percent from the field in defeat, but committed 13 turnovers and forced only four.