No. 25 Marquette entered a near packed house at 5/3 Arena Saturday night in an attempt to continue Cincinnati’s 3 game home losing streak. The Bearcats responded in front of a crowd of 12,812 with a huge 71-69 win in overtime.
The Bearcats were without star senior Cashmere Wright, but still started out hot and had a ten point lead 13 – 3, with 9 minutes remaining in the first half. The first half was a showcase of incredible defense from the Bearcats using the zone. Marquette shot 5-28 (17%) from the field, 0-9 from 3pt, and only had 1 assist to add up to a stunning 13 point total. Marquette went from 17:21 to 8:44 with no field goals made. It also took the Golden Eagles nearly the whole half to get into double digits, as they notched their 10th point with 3:51 remaining in the half.
The only issues for the Bearcats on the defensive end was the foul trouble for the big men, as Jackson had 3 fouls, while Mbodj and Nyarsuk each added 2. Mick knew this would be an issue as he said, “I was concerned with our guys fouling Gardner, which we did. “
Other than all the free throws, the Bearcats did a good job from letting Gardner get open baskets.
Cincinnati was led at half by Sean Kilpatrick, who had 13 points on 5-13 shooting. JaQuon Parker and Titus Rubles had 5 combined offensive rebounds, and the team had 10 total, which lead to many second half chances to give a 29-13 at half. Marquette was led by Vander Blue who had 5 points.
The second half took a huge turn, which ended up with Davante Gardner hitting 2 free throws to send the game to overtime 63-63. Marquette saw a huge spurt offensively, scoring 50 points in the 2nd half. Trent Lockett, Jamil Wilson, Todd Mayo, Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue were lights out from 3 point range in the second half, hitting 8-17 from 3pt range. Gardner had an impressive game despite hitting only one field goal, where he shot 13-15 from the free throw line and added 11 rebounds. His presence down low ended up in Mbodj, Jackson, and Nyarsuk all fouling out.
Cincinnati held a small lead for most of the second half behind Sean Kilpatrick’s stellar shooting and Titus Rubles’ aggressiveness. Kilpatrick shot 11-23 from the field and hit 5 threes to score 36 points while Titus Rubles hit 10-12 from the free throw line to notch a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
Rubles said he noticed Sean Kilpatrick was getting face guarded, and took advantage of the defense accordingly. Sean Kilpatrick started out slow tonight, but he said it best post game, “Great scorers and great shooters just keep on shooting.“
Marquette went into overtime with all the momentum, and even hit an early three to drain the energy out of 5/3. From then on it was the Sean Kilpatrick show, where he scored 7 of Cincinnati’s 8 overtime points. Kilpatrick also added the dagger by hitting a layup with 6 seconds remaining.
Cincinnati now has their first Big East home win, and are 4-2 in league play.
Mick Cronin said after, “It’s one game. If you get too happy you’re going to lose. Because every time you play a game in this league everybody is hungry to beat you.”
This is even more evident this year as every team that has come into 5/3 since league play has played Cincinnati tough.
Cincinnati now heads to Syracuse to take on the No. 6 Orange, who most certainly will be moving up in the rankings after winning at No. 1 Louisville earlier today. Cincinnati will enjoy a 9 day break after their Big Monday Showdown at 3:30pm on ESPN.