\Sean Kilpatrick scored a career-high 29 points and the Bearcats limited the Aggies to 15 percent shooting en route to a 93-39 thrashing of North Carolina A&T on Sunday afternoon.
The Bearcats (3-0, 0-0 Big East) used tough pressure defense and hot shooting to earn what was their most dominant win under head coach Mick Cronin.
Despite struggling from the free throw line – the team made a combined 9-of-23 attempts – the Bearcats were on fire from almost everywhere else. The team shot 52 percent as a whole, and connected on 12 three-point shots.
After the game, head coach Mick Cronin spoke to his team’s struggles from the free throw line.
“It’s all about commitment. Sometimes you have to send a certain message as a coach,” said Cronin. “I saw a lack of concentration in our foul shooting. We predicted this would happen. It’s not a lack of talent; it’s a lack of focus.”
Junior guard Sean Kilpatrick was responsible for seven of those three-pointers on his way to a career day. In addition to his career-best 29 points, Kilpatrick corralled 7 rebounds and dished out 5 assists.
“I was just playing within the flow of the game,” said Kilpatrick. “Everyone was finding me early, and on top of that I just had a ton of open shots.”
Cashmere Wright was the only other Bearcat to reach double figures, scoring 13 points, but in all thirteen different Bearcats recorded points.
On defense, the Bearcats turned up the intensity and implemented more of the standard press they hope to run on a regular basis this season.
The results were positive to say the least. The Bearcats held the Aggies to l5 percent from the field. Of the Aggies 39 points, more than one-third (16) came from the free throw line – points scored as a result of the Aggies breaking the press.
Still, despite the occasional lapse on defense, the Bearcats forced 20 turnovers while only allowing 10 field goals.
“Those turnovers come with the pressure on the ball,” said Sean Kilpatrick. “Everyone off the ball is really alert to what’s going on. The scouting report said to be alert off the ball against these guys, so everyone was focused on guarding their man and helping out on defense.”
The Bearcats wrap up the first portion of their season this week with a Tuesday night matchup against Campbell University before heading to Las Vegas to face Iowa State with a potential showdown against UNLV following that.
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