The Cincinnati Bearcats entered Chicago late Tuesday night unranked for the first time this season and took down the DePaul Blue Demons 75 to 70.
8,120 showed up to see the Bearcats take down the pesky Blue Demons. Cincinnati survived an injury scare from their star fifth year senior, Cashmere Wright, who was also the leading scorer.
DePaul started out with a ton of energy and held a 13-2 lead at the first television timeout. Cincinnati had trouble matching the energy early, but the Bearcats settled down and slowed the pace to take a 41-38 lead at half.
You heard that right, Cincinnati had 41 points at half, much attributed to the Blue Demons astonishing pace on offense and defense. The Bearcats shot 67% from the field in the first half behind 13 points from Cashmere Wright & 9 from JaQuon Parker. Cheikh Mbodj added a very efficient 6 points and 5 blocks.
Cleveland Melvin almost reached his 17 ppg average in the first half as he had 15 at the break to lead DePaul. Cincinnati did a great job on the other half of the Blue Demons’ strong duo, Brandon Young, who only had 6 points and 4 turnovers.
Cincinnati started out the second half like DePaul started out the first half, and held their lead for most of the second half. A 10-0 run to open the stanza where Cashmere Wright and Sean Kilpatrick scored all 10 points was enough to relax the Bearcats’ fans for a little.
Just minutes later Cashmere Wright fell to the ground while playing defense with no contact on the play. He rolled around while screaming, reminding Bearcats fans how they felt back when Kenyon Martin got hurt vs St Louis.
It certainly looked to be a knee injury, but Wright was walking and back on the bench five minutes later. Wright was done for the game with an impressive 20 point and 7 assist line.
DePaul slowly poked their way back into this game with no Wright on the floor behind Cleveland Melvin’s impressive 32 point effort. Cincinnati had a weak night on the boards, and actually got out offensive rebounded by the Blue Demons. Melvin alone had four, which led to easy layups.
Without Cashmere Wright someone had to step up, and Sean Kilpatrick was that man wwith had 15 second half points. Ge’Lawn Guyn also had a solid second half adding 7 points and a few rebounds. Cheikh Mbodj and David Nyarsuk had a combined 11 blocks.
DePaul nearly climbed back into this one in the closing seconds behind some Cincinnati mental mistakes (19 turnovers for the Bearcats) and big shots from the Blue Demons. Give credit to Sean Kilpatrick for putting the game on ice with a solid 7 for 10 effort from the line.
Cincinnati returns home to continue their 3 games in a 6 day stretch to take on the No. 25 Golden Eagles of Marquette. The tip will be at 7pm on Saturday night, and the hot Golden Eagles will certainly not be overlooked by Mick Cronin and the Cats after their recent woes at home. The Bearcats travel to No. 6 Syracuse just two days after the Marquette game.