The Cincinnati Bearcats (16-7 6-4) used a 12-2 run over the final 4:12 to put away the DePaul Blue Demons (11-11 2-8) by a score of 74-66 on Saturday night.
It was a nip and tuck battle for 38 minutes as neither team led by more than 5 points until the Bearcats final surge and saw the lead change 16 times on the night.
With the Blue Demons up 64-62 with under 5 minutes remaining junior point guard Cashmere Wright finally found his scoring touch as he drained a three from the wing to give his team a lead it would not relinquish.
Wright had scored only 4 points before hitting that jumper, and finished with 11 on the night after adding two free throws and a layup to help put the game away.
“He did a great job of taking care of the basketball,” Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin said about the play of Wright. “He didn't have any turnovers. It was a big shot (three-pointer), but at some point we were going to have to make one. It is tough to win if you don't make one all night.”
For Wright he was just looking to make a play after playing a solid floor game, but not making an impact on the scoring side of things.
"I just went out there and played hard, took what they gave me,” said Wright. “Coach (Cronin) kept telling me, just attack, attack. Whether you miss a shot or not, if you feel like you are going to make it, just keep shooting it and going to the hole."
The team finished 3-15 from beyond the arc for the game, which is well off their average of 8 made triples a contest.
The other two from long range were provided by sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick, but his biggest play of the game was a tip in the possession after Wright gave UC the lead.
Kilpatrick saw an opening down the middle of the floor as Wright tried to make it two in a row, and as the ball came softly off the rim he tapped it in to move the lead to 67-64.
"I saw when he shot the ball, nobody boxed me out,” Kilpatrick said. “I was at the top of the key and all I could see was everyone just staring around and nobody was trying to go for the rebound. Our team was, but they weren't, so I just went down the middle and I thought about dunking it, but I was like, `no, let me just lay it in.'"
The 14 points for Jackson was a career high as he came out of a slump that resulted in JaQuon Parker getting the nod in the starting lineup.
The sophomore forward from Jacksonville, Florida was a perfect 5-5 from the floor by being aggressive to the rim and finishing strong through contact.
“Little things that matter, but the thing that our guys have to learn from Justin's performance, there is a reason he is 5-of-5,” said Cronin. “He takes high percentage shots. There is a reason other guys are 4-of-12 or 4-of-13. They take low percentage shots or finger-roll layups.”
The Bearcats return to action Wednesday night against the St John's Red Storm at Madison Square Garden.
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