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Sean Kilpatrick, Justin Jackson lead No. 10 Cincinnati past Houston

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No. 10 Cincinnati, a team few discussed when assessing the American Athletic Conference race back in November, has proven to be the class of the conference to this point in the season thanks in large part to the play of their seniors. And that was once again the case on Saturday, as Sean Kilpatrick and Justin Jackson got going in the second half and led the Bearcats to their 17th home win of the season with solid second half performances.

Kilpatrick scored 19 of his 28 points in the second half and Jackson added 13 points and five rebounds (all in the second half) as Cincinnati beat Houston 73-62. The Bearcats shot nearly 61% from the field in the second half, and while the Cougars were also good offensively the turnovers made the difference. Cincinnati committed just one turnover in the second half (four for the game), and they converted six Houston turnovers into 11 points.

The Bearcats can be too reliant on Kilpatrick at times when it comes to putting points on the board, with their other options being most effective in odd-man and second-chance situations. But aiming to limit Cincinnati’s points in these areas and actually doing so are two entirely different matters, which is what Houston learned the hard way on Saturday.

The 17 points off of 13 Houston turnovers and 18 second-chance points contributed to the Bearcats scoring 1.35 points per possession, their highest mark since scoring 1.42 points/possession in a win over Chicago State on December 23. Cincinnati may struggle at times in its half-court offense but they do a very good job of taking advantage of turnovers and the offensive glass in order to make up for that, and this was the case on Saturday afternoon.

With games remaining against the top four teams in the American, the title race is nowhere near complete for Cincinnati. But if their seniors continue to bring the energy and leadership this group needs, the Bearcats are more than capable of continuing their march towards a conference title that few gave them a chance of winning before the season began.

VIDEO: Monmouth hits a game-winner, Bench Mob member tries to disrobe

King Rice
AP
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Monmouth used a 17-2 run in the final minutes to beat Rider on Friday night, a win that will keep the Hawks within striking distance of the kind of an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament should they fall in the MAAC tourney.

The run was capped by star point guard Justin Robinson, who buried this three with three seconds left to put Monmouth up for good, 79-78:

No. 17 Arizona erases double-digit deficit to beat UCLA

Arizona coach Sean Miller reacts to a foul call during the first half of Arizona's NCAA college basketball game against UCLA, Friday, Feb 12, 2016, in Tucson, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
(AP Photo/Rick Scuteri)
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Allonzo Trier scored 15 of his 18 points in the second half and Parker Jackson-Cartwright scored 16 points in his second career start as No. 17 Arizona knocked off UCLA, 81-75, in Tucson on Friday night.

UCLA was up by as much as 11 points in the first half and took a ten point lead into half time, but in the second half, the Bruins were eventually done in by foul trouble and the stronger front line of the Wildcats.

Ryan Anderson and Kaleb Tarczewski were dominant down the stretch. The duo combined to score 12 of the last 23 point for the Wildcats, including the bucket that put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since early in the first half. Off of a missed free throw, UCLA’s Thomas Welsh battled with Tarczewski for the rebound, but when Welsh finally seemed to gain control of the loose ball, Anderson knocked it out of his hands and bullied through Jonah Bolden for a layup.

All told, those two combined for 20 points and 27 boards, seven of which were offensive. They also managed to foul out both Welsh and Tony Parker, although some of the calls that went against UCLA down the stretch were questionable.

The win keeps Arizona within a game of first place Oregon in the Pac-12 standings and tied for second with No. 23 USC, who will be visiting the McKale Center on Sunday night.