No. 22 Cincinnati tops Iowa State 78-70

Iowa State cut down its mistakes and still couldn’t avoid its

first loss of the season.

Sean Kilpatrick made all 16 of his free throws and scored 32

points, leading No. 22 Cincinnati to a 78-70 win over Iowa State on

Friday night in the semifinals of the Global Sports Classic.

”We cut our turnovers in half, from 12 (during the first half)

to six, and that’s what allowed us to make that comeback,” said

Iowa State coach Fred Hoiberg.

The Cyclones (4-1) and Bearcats (5-0) were tied at 35 at

halftime, but Cincinnati managed to lead by as many as 16 points,

60-44, following a layup by JaQuon Parker with 11:43 left in the

game.

The closest the Cyclones came was 68-65 with 3:26 left following

Melvin Ejirn’s lay-up.

But the Bearcats scored the next four points to take a 72-65

lead with 1:59 left. Titus Rubles’ jumper and Sean Kilpatrick’s two

free throws accounted for the four points.

Kilpatrick led the Bearcats with 32 points while Tyrus McGee

topped the Cyclones with 22 points. Korie Lucious was next for the

Bearcats with 12 points, but he committed four of his six turnovers

in the first half.

”I knew it was going to be a tight game in the first half,”

Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. ”Two teams playing a major

opponent for the first time this season. Things were bound to get

sloppy.”

After winning their first four games by an average margin of

34.5 points per game, the Bearcats had their hands full with a

talented Iowa State team that stole the momentum in the first half,

dictated the pace at times to keep things close and pulled within 4

points with 46 seconds left.

Cashmere Wright added 14 points for the Bearcats and Titus

Rubles had 10 points.

The Bearcats will face the winner of the semifinal between

Oregon and No. 18 UNLV.

Cincinnati’s early second-half run of 15-5 gave it enough

breathing room to secure the win. The Bearcats, who came in

shooting 51.3 percent from the field (including 42.2 percent from

3-point range), shot just 25 of their 60 attempts (41.7) from the

floor. They hit just 25 percent (5 of 20) of their 3-pointers.

Cronin stressed before the start his concern for his team’s

lackluster efforts in the first-half of games, and it was evident

why after his Bearcats struggled after taking a 10-4 lead with

15:53 left in the opening half.

Playing at a frenetic pace and not being able to find a rhythm,

the Bearcats let the Cyclones dictate much of the pace to get back

into the game. Using an 11-3 run to take a 15-13 lead at the

13-minute mark, the Cyclones stole the momentum. Neither team took

a lead bigger than four points after Cincinnati’s early six-point

edge, while there were eight lead changes over the first 20

minutes. The teams were tied at 35 at halftime.

”We weren’t organized,” Cronin said. ”We just got sloppy on

offense. We have to learn how to play better with a lead. Teams can

hurt us because we spread the floor and they get physical with our

bigs. We’re actually used to that in the Big East; we just hadn’t

seen it yet.”

”Once we got organized we were able to box out and we were able

to score multiple times,” he added.

Cronin also said there was an urgency for his team to show

improvement at the free throw line, where they came into the game

shooting 53.2 percent. Kilpatrick, who entered just 5 of 13 from

the stripe, was a perfect 16 of 16 Friday. As a team, the Bearcats

shot 92 percent (23-of-25) from the line.

”I’ve been shooting free throws since I was 5 or 6 years old,”

Kilpatrick said. ”I just got out there and didn’t think about it.

That’s when things go wrong, when you think about it too much. So I

just shot them like I know how I can.”

Iowa State, which was looking to start 5-0 for the third time in

four years, was also facing its first true test after winning its

first four games by an average 32.5 points. The Cyclones came into

the game shooting nearly 49.6 percent from the floor, but struggled

against the Bearcats with 37.3 percent (25 of 67).

Cincinnati has won three of the four meetings all-time with Iowa

State, the last three coming at neutral sites. This was the first

matchup between the schools since then-No. 1 Cincinnati beat Iowa

State 75-60 on Nov. 28, 1999, in Hilo, Hawaii.