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Cincinnati outlasts USF for 14th straight win

Feb 2, 2014 - 11:10 PM Cincinnati, OH ( - Sean Kilpatrick scored 10 of his 18 points in the final 6 1/2 minutes to lead 13th-ranked Cincinnati to a hard- fought 50-45 win over South Florida at Fifth Third Arena.

Justin Jackson added 15 points for the Bearcats (21-2, 10-0 AAC), who earned their 14th straight win and remained unbeaten in the American Athletic Conference.

Chris Perry scored 13 points and grabbed seven rebounds for South Florida (11-11, 2-7), which was coming off a win Tuesday over SMU and fell for the fifth time in its last six games.

"I see major improvement in the last two games," said South Florida coach Stan Heath. "We won against SMU and grinded this game out to the wire in the last two or three minutes against Cincinnati, who is the number one team (in our league)."

Victor Rudd scored 11 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Bulls, who gave Cincinnati all it could handle for the second time in as many tries this year. The Bearcats also had to pull away late for a 61-54 win on Jan. 18 in Tampa.

Rudd's jumper gave USF a 41-38 lead with 6 1/2 minutes to play on Sunday, but the Bearcats followed with the next eight points. Kilpatrick scored six in that span, connecting on a pair from the stripe with three minutes left for a 46-41 advantage.

A Rudd free throw and a John Egbunu slam pulled the Bulls within two, but Kilpatrick drove the lane for a layup and added two from the line with 25.9 seconds remaining to seal it.

"I'm very happy with the win," said Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin. "I'm not as surprised with the way the game was played. Tough matchup South Florida is for us. I believe that team sports are all about matchups. Their size and athleticism is a problem for us."

Kilpatrick made each of his six free throws and Cincinnati was 12-of-13 from the line overall to help offset a dismal 33.3 percent effort from the field. USF wasn't much better, shooting 38.8 percent overall and hitting just 1-of-11 from beyond the arc.

Cincinnati raced out to an 11-2 lead behind six points from Jackson, but USF responded with 12 of the next 14 points and took a 14-13 edge with just over nine minutes left in the half on a three by Rudd.

The Bearcats, though, closed the half with an 11-4 burst, highlighted by treys from Kilpatrick and Ge'Lawn Guyn, to take a 24-18 advantage to the break.

Cincinnati struggled to start the second half, making just 1-of-5 field goal attempts while turning it over five times on its first 10 possessions. The Bulls were able to take advantage, grabbing a 27-26 lead on a layup by Perry with 14:20 remaining.

Kilpatrick drilled a three to put Cincinnati back on top and the Bearcats soon after opened a 36-31 margin, but South Florida answered with the next eight and took a 39-36 lead on a jumper by Perry with just under eight minutes to play.

Game Notes

Kilpatrick moved into third place on Cincinnati's all-time scoring list, surpassing Danny Fortson and Deonta Vaughn ... Guyn finished with eight points for Cincinnati. He hit 2-of-4 from 3-point distance and the Bearcats were just 4-of-17 from beyond the arc overall ... USF's bench outscored Cincinnati's reserves by a 20-2 margin ... Cincinnati has won 17 straight home games, including all 15 this season ... The Bulls are 1-15 all-time in Cincinnati.