Night Court: Cincinnati, Michigan State get momentum

Sean Kilpatrick scored 34 points in his final home game in a Cincinnati uniform. (USATSI)
Sean Kilpatrick scored 34 points in his final home game in a Cincinnati uniform. (USATSI)

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Here’s everything you need to know from college basketball’s Thursday …  

For a complete breakdown of the bubble happenings, check out our daily Poppin’ bubbles feature.

Game of the Day: Sean Kilpatrick scores 34 points to lead Cincinnati to a win over Memphis.

Kilpatrick made his case for All-American honors and the AAC Player of the Year award by lighting up Memphis in a 97-84 win. Kilpatrick was 11-for-18 from the field, and made big shot after big shot to help the Bearcats pull away in the second half. Cincinnati’s defense gave up more than 80 points for the first time this season, but the Bearcats forced Memphis to shoot too many 3-pointers, not allowing the Tigers to get consistent dribble penetration when the game was in the balance. Offensively, they pushed the ball in transition, beating Memphis down the floor.

Cincinnati has forged a tie at the top of the AAC standings, sitting at 14-3 with Louisville. The Bearcats head to Rutgers this weekend, while Louisville hosts Connecticut. 

What else we’ll be talking about in the morning: The crazy fan that ran onto the court and confronted Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold.

That’s a good win: Michigan State bounces back with win over Iowa.

Things were starting to get worrisome in East Lansing. The Spartans had just scored 46 points in a home loss to Illinois, bringing their 10-game record to 4-6. Keith Appling was hampered by a wrist injury, and they were far from hitting on all cylinders.

But Michigan State looked just fine on Thursday, handling Iowa, 86-76. Denzel Valentine had 13 points, six rebounds and nine assists, leading five players in double-figures. Travis Trice had 17 points off the bench, but Appling was also solid, with 12 points and three assists, while knocking down two 3-pointers. Roy Devyn Marble had a big first half for Iowa, and did finish with 24 points and five assists, but the Hawkeyes just couldn’t stop the Spartans in the second half.

Conference tournament updates

Ohio Valley: Morehead State beat Tennessee Tech, while Eastern Kentucky took down Southeast Missouri State. Both teams advance to the semifinals to face Belmont and Murray State, respectively.

Atlantic Sun: The championship game is set for Sunday: No. 1 Florida Gulf Coast vs. No. 2 Mercer. The second-seeded Bears needed double overtime to get past USC-Upstate.

Missouri Valley: Evansville beat Drake, and Loyola-Chicago knocked off Bradley on Milton Doyle's 3-pointer at the buzzer.

MAAC: We touched on St. Peter's above, but Niagara beat Marist and Rider beat Monmouth.

West Coast: Loyola Marymount beat Portland, Santa Clara beat Pacific.

Notebook:

-- South Carolina suspended head coach Frank Martin for one game due to "inappropriate verbal communication" with an athlete. 

-- This is weird. For two days last fall, the entire Florida Gulf Coast basketball team was declared ineligible.

-- UNLV's Bryce DeJean-Jones is suspended through Saturday for conduct detrimental to the team.

-- Disturbing: New Hampshire fired its director of basketball operations after school officials alleged he "secretly took pictures of male athletes in a locker room."

-- New Adidas uniforms!

-- UCLA's attendance has dropped this season.

-- Iona extended head coach Tim Cluess through the 2018-19 season.

-- Sad news out of St. Bonaventure: assistant SID Brian Moretti died unexpectedly of apparent cardiac arrest.

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