For the second time in as many days, the Cincinnati Bearcats topped a quality opponent, this time beating the Oregon Ducks 77-66 to win the Global Sports Classic Championship in Las Vegas.
The No.22 Bearcats (6-0) jumped out to a big lead against Oregon (5-1) Sunday, only to watch the Ducks fight back from a 19 point deficit and take the lead half-way through the second half after a 21-10 surge. The Bearcats responded in kind, however, closing the game with a run of their own. UC then closed the game with a 25-12 stretch to secure the win.
"The key for us is we settled down and once we settled down we knocked down a few shots and got our confidence back," coach Mick Cronin said. "We scored 27 points from the time they took a two-point lead (because) we started executing offensively and had some guys make some big shots for us."
The 'Cats have been able to ride the hot start of junior Sean Kilpatrick in recent games as the guard has had career-best outings twice in the last two weeks. While SK had a great game Sunday, Cashmere Wright took advantage of the extra attention paid to his fellow guard and led the game in scoring with 17 points. Wright knocked down 15 of his 17 points from three-point land.
The Bearcats had four players score in double figures. Sean Kilpatrick and JaQuon Parker had 16 points apiece, and Titus Rubles scored 13. Rubles continued his solid non-conference performance off of the bench (8.3 ppg, 5.3 rpg).
"My teammates were giving me confidence, they just kept patting me on the back after a bad first half," said Rubles, who scored nine points down the stretch to spark his team's late run. "I got into a rhythm. I know I can hit that shot on a regular basis."
The Bearcats' next game (Saturday, December 1st at 3:00 p.m.) is at the Shoemaker Center against a solid Alabama team that will test Cincy like no other team has.
Follow Josh on Twitter at @CincyBurns.