Justin Jackson

No. 15 Cincinnati survives at Temple, but did they lose Justin Jackson?

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Sean Kilpatrick scored 29 points to lead the way for No. 15 Cincinnati in a win over Temple on Sunday afternoon, but moving to 8-0 in AAC play was a much tougher task than the Bearcats expected.

Playing without Justin Jackson for much of the game after the senior center injured his ankle, Cincinnati still managed to push a 10-point halftime lead to 19 with just 13 minutes left in the game. That’s when Dalton Pepper took over.

Temple’s senior guard put on one of the more impressive scoring displays that you’ll see this season, scoring 22 points and hitting six threes in the final 13 minutes as the Owls went on a 39-20 run to tie the game at 76. It was Pepper’s three in the final minute that evened the score. But on the ensuing possession, Kilpatrick was foul driving to the basket. He hit both free throws, and Jermaine Sanders blocked Josh Brown’s shot at the other end, sealing an 80-76 win.

It was the first time this season that Cincinnati’s defense broke down, and it surely wasn’t a coincidence that their best defender — Jackson — was sitting on the bench nursing an injury. No one had scored more than 67 points on Mick Cronin’s team this season. The last time they allowed 76 points in a game was when they lost to Ohio State in the 2012 NCAA tournament.

That’s concerning for the Bearcats because they will be paying a visit to the Yum! Center to take on Louisville on Saturday. The Cards are currently sitting in second place in the conference standings.

It’s too early to know if Jackson will be available on Thursday. But without him, the Bearcats gave up 50 second half points to a team that’s 0-7 in the AAC. That’s not an ideal way to go into the biggest game of their season.

Former Wichita State assistant returns as a consultant

Chris Jans, Gregg Marshall
Associated Press
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Prior to a one-year stint as the head coach coach at Bowling Green that came to an end in early April as a result of an incident at a Bowling Green restaurant, Chris Jans was a member of Gregg Marshall’s coaching staff at Wichita State from 2007-14. During those seven seasons Jans was a key figure as the Shockers made the progression to a respected national power.

Jans is back in Wichita, with Paul Suellentrop of the Wichita Eagle reporting Thursday that he’s serving as a consultant to the program. Jans’ consulting agreement runs for 45 days, which the school can renew, and he’ll be paid $10,000 for the work. While Jans isn’t allowed to do any coaching, he can watch practices and provide Marshall and the coaching staff with his observations.

“He will be able to consult with the coaching staff, only on what he observes in practice,” said Darron Boatright, WSU deputy athletics director. “By NCAA rule, a consultant is not allowed to have communication with student-athletes … not about basketball-related activities or performance.”

While Jans (who according to the story has served in a similar role for another school) can’t do any coaching in this role, his return does give Marshall another trusted voice to call upon when needed. Wichita State bid farewell to an assistant coach this spring with Steve Forbes being hired as the head coach at East Tennessee State, with his position being filled by former Sunrise Christian Academy coach Kyle Lindsted.

h/t ShockerHoops.net

AUDIO: Rick Pitino discusses allegations, future at Louisville

Rick Pitino
Associated Press
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Thursday afternoon marked the first time since Friday that Louisville head coach Rick Pitino commented on the controversy that has taken his program by storm. Speaking with Terry Meiners of 840 WHAS in Louisville, Pitino discussed the escort scandal, what could have possibly led former staffer Andre McGee down the path he’s alleged to have taken in Katina Powell’s book and his future at Louisville.

The interview began with Meiners asking Pitino if it changed his thinking as to whether or not he needed to resign, which (as one would expect) Pitino shot down. Also discussed was the statement released by school president Dr. James Ramsey, which expressed support for athletic director Tom Jurich but did not mention Pitino at all.

“Well I can’t answer that, Terry,” Pitino said when asked why he wasn’t mentioned in the statement. “Twenty-six years ago Kentucky brought me in to make the program compliant to NCAA rules. (Then-Kentucky president) Dr. (David) Roselle and (then Kentucky athletic director) C.M. Newton thought I was the guy to come in and change around the images, change around the culture and add a lot of discipline to the program. And I did that.

“And then I came here to the University of Louisville, and if someone was five seconds late or not early consequences would be paid from a disciplinary standpoint,” Pitino continued. “This is obviously not a person being late, this is not about a person (not) working hard. This is about things that are very disgusting, things that turn my stomach, things that keep me up without sleeping.

“But unfortunately, I had no knowledge of any of this and don’t believe in it. It’s sickening to me, the whole thing. But I’m thinking of my 13 players, I’m thinking of our program, and I’m sorry that Dr. Ramsey did not think enough to mention me but that’s something I cannot control.”

Below is audio of the full interview, which ran just over 17 minutes in length.