Sean Kilpatrick scored a career-high 32 points -- the second time he’s accomplished such a feat in less than a week -- and the Bearcats won a hard fought game over the Iowa State Cyclones in their opening game of the Global Sports Classic.
The Bearcats (5-0) faced their toughest test of the young season against the Cyclones who also came into the game undefeated.
The two teams traded blows for most of the night, but the Bearcats built an 16-point second half lead and closed out the Cyclones late, winning 78-70.
Things got off to a quick start for both teams as they traded blows throughout the first half.
Kilpatrick was particularly locked in, scoring the Bearcats’ first ten points of the game.
Kilpatrick, who has been nearly unstoppable as of late, added 5 steals, 5 rebounds, and 3 assists to his career-high 32 points – as it turned out, the Bearcats would need every single on of them to hold on.
Cashmere Wright and Titus Rubles also scored in double figures, recording 14 and 10 points respectively.
The Cyclones (4-1) hung tough, though, matching the Bearcats on seemingly every trip down the floor. The Bearcats showed their skill in the first half, forcing the Cyclones into turnover after turnover behind 11 team steals.
Still, the Cyclones hung tight behind good three-point shooting. The Cyclones’ ability to knock down the open shot forced the Bearcats to spread out of defense, which caused them trouble in the half court game.
The two teams entered the locker room tied at 35, but the Bearcats came out and immediately flexed their muscle in the second half and built a 16-point advantage out of the gate.
The Cyclones would again find an answer for the Bearcats’ run, clawing their way back into the game by holding the Bearcats scoreless for a stretch lasting longer than three minutes.
The lead shrunk to as little as four with under 5 minutes remaining, but the Bearcats would never relinquish their advantage.
After struggling mightily from the charity stripe in their previous two matchups, the Bearcats were excellent against Iowa State.
The team knocked down 23-of-25 foul shots – including a perfect 16-for-16 from Sean Kilpatrick – and closed out a feisty Cyclone squad.
The Bearcats will face the winner of UNLV and Oregon, who face off later on tonight, in the Global Sports Classic championship game tomorrow night at 10:30 p.m.