Cincinnati vs Memphis

Bearcats declaw No. 18 Tigers


MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- Once Cincinnati made the defensive adjustments to manage penetration by No. 18 Memphis, the Bearcats gained control of the game.

Sean Kilpatrick scored 11 of his 18 points down the stretch and Cincinnati overcame early shooting woes to beat the Tigers 69-53 on Saturday.

Bearcats coach Mick Cronin said the key was controlling Memphis point guard and leading scorer Joe Jackson, who had 13 points, but only two after halftime.

''He really initiates everything for them,'' Cronin said of Jackson. ''Once we stopped him from penetrating, it stopped other guys from getting layups, stopped him from getting baskets, free throws. I thought that was the biggest key.''

The defense contributed to Cincinnati outscoring the Tigers 42-27 in the second half and holding Memphis to 9 of 37 from the field (24.3 percent).

The defense and Kilpatrick's scoring surge provided enough of a buffer to extend Cincinnati's winning streak to six straight, while Memphis saw an end to a three-game winning streak.

Justin Jackson finished with 13 points on 6-of-10 shooting, eight rebounds and a career high-matching seven blocks for Cincinnati (13-2, 2-0 American Athletic Conference), while Shaquille Thomas had 10 points. The Bearcats recorded their first road win over an opponent ranked in the top 20 since winning at then-No. 13 Connecticut 70-67 on Jan. 18, 2012.

''This is a huge win, and we have to keep everything rolling,'' Kilpatrick said. ''This is just a stepping stone for us, and we have to keep it going as we continue conference play.''

Michael Dixon added 12 points but was 4 of 12 from the field for Memphis (10-3, 1-1).

Cincinnati used a 13-3 rally to extend the lead to 52-42 in the second half. Eleven straight points by Kilpatrick made it 69-51 with about a minute left, but many of the Memphis fans already were headed for the exits.

''He's a great player. I wouldn't trade him for anybody at the 2 position, and we play him at the point at the end of the games,'' Cronin said of Kilpatrick. ''He's such a luxury to have because he can make shots, he can handle the ball. He's getting to the point that he's an all-around player, not just a shooter. He controlled the game from that point on.''

The Bearcats, who were hovering under 30 percent shooting in the first half, connected on 14 of 24 shots in the second half, including missing only one of their five shots from outside the arc.

Memphis was hindered by 16 turnovers and going 2 of 17 from 3-point range for the game despite relying on its four senior guards.

''At some time, our shots (3) are going to fall,'' Memphis guard Geron Johnson said. ''It's simple basketball. If you check the stats, I think Chris Crawford is a 42 percent career shooter. Michael Dixon is at 45 percent, and Joe Jackson is at 48 percent. I was 35 percent last year.''

The four Memphis senior guards - Jackson, Dixon, Crawford and Johnson - were a combined 14 of 49, and that included Jackson hitting 6 of 13. Crawford, for example, was 2 of 11 and missed four of his five shots from 3-point range.

''I thought we did a great job of challenging every shot Crawford took,'' Cronin said. ''He got some off, but we've got some long guys who really challenged him hard.''

Memphis coach Josh Pastner, who continued to play the four-guard approach as the Cincinnati lead built, said he has to rely on the quartet's experience. He said the poor shooting from the four and that they combined for 11 of the Tigers' 16 turnovers is hard to overcome.

''I've said it before, and I'll say it again,'' Pastner said, ''when our four senior guards play poorly collectively like they did, then we're going to struggle. And when they play well together collectively, we're a team [that] will be tough to beat.''

Copyright 2017 by STATS LLC. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC is strictly prohibited.
Bearcats forward Justin Jackson scores 13 points and hauls in a game-high eight rebounds. (USATSI)
Bearcats forward Justin Jackson scores 13 points and hauls in a game-high eight rebounds. (USATSI)
Cincinnati (13-2) «274269
Memphis #18 (10-3)262753
CINCY:S. Kilpatrick 18 Pts
CINCY:J. Jackson 8 Reb
CINCY:T. Caupain 5 Ast
MEMP:J. Jackson 13 Pts
MEMP:D. Pellom 7 Reb
MEMP:C. Crawford 4 Ast

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Justin Jackson
Joe Jackson
Cincinnati Bearcats
S. Kilpatrick, G325-117-921018
J. Jackson, F316-101-282313
S. Thomas, F304-91-340210
T. Rubles, F261-60-17442
G. Guyn, G151-30-02003
J. Sanders, F201-30-04223
T. Caupain, G193-60-03517
K. Johnson, G162-32-23137
J. Lawrence, F112-62-21006
J. Davis III, GDid Not Play
D. Nyarsuk, CDid Not Play
D. Morman, GDid Not Play
J. Strickland, CDid Not Play
Z. Tobler, FDid Not Play
Totals 25-5713-1934151569
Memphis Tigers
C. Crawford, G382-110-06415
S. Goodwin, F352-52-36136
J. Jackson, G336-131-252113
G. Johnson, G282-133-45257
A. Nichols, F111-40-01002
M. Dixon Jr., G294-123-641412
D. Pellom, F234-50-07148
N. King, G-F30-00-01000
H. Tsafack, FDid Not Play
T. Draper, GDid Not Play
D. Wilson, GDid Not Play
A. Cole, GDid Not Play
M. Crawford, GDid Not Play
K. Iverson, G-FDid Not Play
J. McDowell, G-FDid Not Play
R. Powell, GDid Not Play
D. Woodson, FDid Not Play
Totals 21-639-1535111853
American Athletic
TeamConf. W-LTot. W-LRPI Rank
Wichita St.0-08-212
E. Carolina0-05-4328
So. Florida0-05-6323
Other games
NEB 53 Final
IAST 73 Final
WASH 62 Final
MIST 73 Final
IND 56
UCONN 65 Final
SMU 74
MIAMI 44 Final
SYR 49
RICH 58 Final
FLA 67
DUKE 77 Final
ND 79
OKST 71 Final
KSU 74
LBSU 59 Final
LOU 83 Final
RUT 76
UMOH 65 Final
UOP 64 Final