CINCINNATI -- Redshirt freshman Sean Kilpatrick scored a career-high 26 points, hitting all five of his shots from behind the arc, and Cincinnati stayed unbeaten with a 77-69 victory over Wright State on Wednesday night.
The Bearcats (6-0) are off to their best start since 2004-05, when they won their first 11 in Bob Huggins' final season as coach and reached the NCAA tournament for the last time. The six-game winning streak is their longest since 2005-06, Andy Kennedy's one season as interim coach.Kilpatrick led a 15-3 surge in the first half and a 17-2 run in the second that built the lead to 20 points.Wright State (3-4) had trouble with Cincinnati's full-court pressure, which set up 26 points off turnovers.Troy Tabler and Vaughn Duggins led Wright State with 18 points apiece.The Bearcats improved to 7-0 against Wright State, with all the games played in Cincinnati. The two southwest Ohio teams separated by 50 miles hadn't played in nine years.Cincinnati was coming off a 68-34 win Saturday over Dayton, which is Wright State's crosstown rival. That game represented the Bearcats' stingiest defensive showing in coach Mick Cronin's seven seasons.Wright State pulled out to an 8-2 lead and hung with Cincinnati for the first 10 minutes. Then, the Bearcats' press -- and Kilpatrick's accurate shooting -- took a toll.Kilpatrick hit three 3s during a 15-3 run that put the Bearcats up 23-15.A few of the points came easily.Guard N'Gain Evans fell while bringing the ball upcourt, giving Cashmere Wright an uncontested layup. The Raiders dribbled it away the next time up the floor, leading to a dunk.Kilpatrick was 5 of 7 from the field in the first half, including a putback on one of his misses that made it 34-29 heading into halftime.He was on the bench at the start of the second half as Cincinnati missed eight of its first 12 shots, allowing Wright State to keep it close. During a timeout at the 13:31 mark, a fan across from the Cincinnati bench yelled at coach Mick Cronin: "Mick, put Sean in!"He did. Kilpatrick was on the floor coming out of the timeout. A minute later, he was making an impact.Kilpatrick passed inside to Dion Dixon, who completed a three-point play, then drove and passed to Larry Davis in the corner for a 3-pointer that made it 52-40, the biggest lead to that point. Kilpatrick made a pair of 3s that built the lead to 62-42.Wright State made five 3s and a three-point play during a late surge, with Tabler's 3 cutting the lead to 69-61 with 3:07 left. Kilpatrick's steal and layup blunted the comeback.