After a long 9 day layoff, the No. 24 Cincinnati Bearcats headed back into 5/3 Arena with a rematch vs. the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Rutgers came into this game looking to win their first game since January 17th, but fell short to the resilient Bearcats 62-54. 11,024 fans showed up for the first home game in eleven days.
Jerome Seagears scored 21 points a few days prior vs. Connecticut in his first double figure game of the season, and continued his hot shooting in the first half. He hit three 3’s and score 11 points to lead Rutgers to a 30-22 lead at half, Myles Mack added 9.
Cincinnati yet again struggled in the first half, only scoring 22 points. Cashmere Wright and Cheikh Mbodj both got into foul trouble early, which led to a lot of playing time for Ge’Lawn Guyn and Kelvin Gaines.
Mbodj had 8 points at half to lead the Bearcats, who also got a very strong effort from Justin Jackson who added 3 blocks.
The second half was a complete change of pace from both teams, as Rutgers allowed Cincinnati to be successful on the fast break. Much to the delight of Bearcats’ fans, Justin Jackson seemed to have a coming out party where he added 3 more blocks in the second half to bring his total to 6.
Jackson was seemingly everywhere on the court and in the stands diving for loose balls. Cincinnati forced 21 turnovers, 10 in the second half, but did a much better job converting those in the second half to quality transition possessions.
Cincinnati again did a great job containing Rutgers’ star player Eli Carter. In the first game this season between these two teams he shot 1-11 from the field, and tonight wasn’t much better at 3-11, although he did score 11 points. Cincinnati held Carter to 17 points in two games this season, he averages over 15 points per game on the year. Myles Mack added 15 points, and Jerome Seagears had 11 as well.
The second half transition baskets also resulted in 23 free throw attempts in the second half. Cincinnati finished 21-29 from the line. Sean Kilpatrick finished with 19 points, 6 rebounds, and 4 assists while Cheikh Mbodj added 10 points. Justin Jackson had the best game of his season so far with a 7 point, 7 rebound, 6 block, and 3 assist effort in 26 minutes played.
Cincinnati, now 17-4 and 5-3 in conference play, will head to Seton Hall on Saturday for an 11am showdown vs the 13-8 Pirates.