No. 11 Cincinnati beats Md-Eastern Shore 92-60

Winless and short-handed, Maryland-Eastern Shore couldn’t keep

up with one of the nation’s top teams.

Point guard Cashmere Wright set a career high with six 3s, and

Sean Kilpatrick scored 19 of his 23 points in the first half

Saturday, keeping No. 11 Cincinnati unbeaten with a 92-60 victory

over the Hawks.

The Bearcats (9-0) have opened the season with nine wins for the

10th time in school history. They also did it in during the 2010-11

season, winning their first 15 games.

Cincinnati dominated every aspect, including rebounds, where it

had a 55-31 advantage.

”They killed us on the boards with their size, their strength,

their athleticism,” Maryland-Eastern Shore coach Frankie Allen

said. ”We were playing really short-handed. We only had seven or

eight guys available to even play.”

Kyree Jones led the Hawks (0-9) with 25 points. The Hawks shot

29.9 percent from the field.

The Hawks’ front line was depleted by injuries, forcing Allen to

play a guard at the power forward position.

”I thought we got out of this unscathed,” Allen said. ”I

haven’t gone downstairs and talked to them in the locker room yet,

but I hope our injury report is not any worse.”

One of Cincinnati’s main areas for improvement is the half-court

offense. Wright ran it smoothly, getting 20 points with nine

assists and only one turnover in 24 minutes.

”Right now, the coaches are giving me the green light to

shoot,” Wright said. ”If you feel you’re open, you take the shot.

At the same time, I’m trying to walk the thin line between shooting

the ball and not shooting so much. So it’s like an ongoing

progression for me to get into the best of that.”

Coach Mick Cronin has been urging him to take charge.

”He’s a wonderful kid,” Cronin said. ”He’s just too nice at

times. He’s got to stay mentally focused at all times. I try to

tell him great players aren’t the nicest people on the floor. You

need to be arrogant out there and in command at all times.”

Cincinnati moved up to No. 11 this week – its highest ranking

since it finished the 2003-04 season at No. 11 – off impressive

wins over Iowa State, Oregon and Alabama. The Bearcats had

back-to-back home games this week against overmatched teams.

They set a school record with 23 steals during an 87-53 win over

Arkansas-Little Rock on Thursday, getting easy baskets in

transition off 32 turnovers. This time, they hit open shots against

a team that has lost all of its games by double-digits.

The Hawks are one of the nation’s worst shooting teams, making

only 34 percent from the field and 23.7 percent behind the arc.

They missed 22 of their first 24 shots – six were swatted away –

while falling behind 32-10.

One of the loudest ovations came during a timeout when the

public address announcer told the crowd that Tommy Tuberville would

be introduced as the next Cincinnati football coach on the

basketball court after the game.

Cronin wasn’t happy with the Bearcats’ half-court offense during

the win over Arkansas-Little Rock. The Bearcats had no problems

finding open shots against a much smaller defense on Saturday.

”It was decent, but it can always get better,” Kilpatrick

said. ”We’re still finding little ways to score easy baskets. It’s

something we’ve got to keep progressing on. Today it was a little

better than the last one.”

Cincinnati opened with an 18-8 run that included 10 points by

Kilpatrick. The Hawks went only 2 of 15 during the spurt and shot

three air balls on one possession. Four of their shots were knocked

away.

Wright hit a pair of long 3s against a defense that let him shot

away, and made his first five from beyond the arc overall. He had

15 points while Cincinnati pushed the lead to 32-10.

The Bearcats used 10 players in the first half – one more than

Maryland-Eastern Shore had on its bench – while pulling ahead 52-23

at halftime. Kilpatrick had 19 points in the half on 8-of-11

shooting, and Wright made all five of his shots from behind the arc

for 15 points.

Kilpatrick and Wright started the second half resting. Forward

Justin Jackson hit a 3 over the Hawks’ soft defense, leaving him 2

for 18 career on 3s. Wright got into the game and missed his first

shot from behind the arc, ending his streak at five straight 3s. He

finished 6 of 7.

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