With the score tied at 56 with six seconds remaining, Cashmere Wright dribbled the distance of the court and nailed a fade away jumper, over Alabama’s seven-foot center Moussa Gueye, for a walk-off buzzer beater Bearcats victory.
The win keeps the Cincinnati’s hot start to the year going despite key players posting season-low scoring totals.
Sean Kilpatrick saw plenty of Alabama double-teams finishing with a season low of 13 points to go along with five rebounds and two assists. Meanwhile this was the first game Wright failed to score in double-digits, posting only eight points in the contest. Although he’ll get a pass considering his seventh and eighth point are the two most important he’s scored all season.
Credit the Crimson Tide defense for being able to contain the two scoring guards most responsible for the Bearcats success. Alabama held Cincinnati under 70 points for the time this season and 19 points off their second lowest scoring total.
Kilpatrick and Wright are Cincinnati’s top two scoring, assist and steal leaders. The duo’s chemistry and ability to do a little bit of everything on the court has turned them into one of the best backcourts in the nation.
The 6-foot-4 junior Kilpatrick is averaging 19.8 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.8 steals through seven games. Meanwhile 6-foot senior Wright isn’t far behind with 15.2 points, 2.7 assists 2.4 steals and 1.8 rebounds.
The guards have recently received support off the bench with the Bearcats discovering defenses are focusing in a lot more on the duo. 6-foot-7 junior Titus Rubles has emerged as a scoring option off the bench, finishing with double-figures in his last three games.
Rubles has been described as the team’s best NBA prospect and is showing why with his size, length and scoring ability proving to be a huge x-factor lately for the Bearcats.
It was his performance in the Global Sports Classic that helped Cincinnati close out the tournament against the Oregon Ducks. With the rest of the team shooting 34.5% from the field in the game, Rubles delivered 13 points and four rebounds off the bench in just 17 minutes of action. He shot 5 for 9 from the field and was perfect from the foul line.
Alabama showed that slowing down the Bearcats and extra attention given to their key players can severely limit Cincinnati’s production. So far the Bearcats have demonstrated they are a legit threat in the Big East but they’ll face tougher defenses in their conference than Alabama’s. When they do, in order to be successful they’ll need more double-digit performances from Rubles when the focus is all on Kilpatrick and Wright.
He’s bailed the Bearcats out already this season and when defenses over focus on the guard duo, he’ll bail them out again.