Cincinnati took a big fall in the standings last week after losing for the first time in the season to the New Mexico Lobos. After dropping to No. 14 from the No. 8 spot, the team knew that they would have to come in and play their best hoops to show the college basketball world that they are still a team to be reckoned with as the season drags on.
The Bearcats and Pittsburgh Panthers opened up Big East conference play on New Year’s Eve in Pittsburgh at the Peterson Events Center. Both teams came in hopeful for a big win to finish out 2012, but only one team was left standing in the end.
Pittsburgh jumped out fast in the first half of play, leaving many to think that Cincinnati may be headed in the same direction as their previous matchup. The Panthers got the first points on the board in the game and never relinquished the lead until Shaquille Thomas hit a layup with 3:29 left in the half for the Bearcats.
From that shot on, the game was back and forth, with neither team able to break away from their opponent. Then Pittsburgh’s Cameron Wright lengthened his team’s lead with 13 seconds in the first and the teams headed to the locker room at the half with the Panthers leading 34-27.
In the second half, like we have seen multiple other times this season, the Bearcats came back with a vengeance. They surged onto the court and the scoreboard. With 10:14 left on the clock in the second half, Titus Rubles made a tie-breaking layup and that gave the Bearcats the lead. It was a lead that they never relinquished, sending the home team out of 2012 with a loss.
The final score was Cincinnati 71, Pittsburgh 61.
Cashmere Wright led the charge for Cincinnati, putting up 18 points in the matchup and adding two rebounds and two assists. Sean Kilpatrick accounted for 16 points of the team’s 71 and tacked on four rebounds in the game. JaQuon Parker added 13 more, with five rebounds and one assist. Justin Jackson and Cheikh Mbodj rounded out the starters in scoring with four and six points, respectively. The bench accounted for a combined for the rest of the 13 on the scoreboard behind Shaquille Thomas, David Nyarsuk, and Titus Rubles.
The Bearcat head home to face St. Johns at 4:00 pm on January 5th.