Cincinnati Bearcats: Sean Kilpatrick Can Improve On Career Performance

Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

When the 16-3 Cincinnati Bearcats needed him the most, Sean Kilpatrick stepped up with the best scoring performance of his career in a 71-69 overtime win over the 13-4 Marquette Golden Eagles.

Kilpatrick delivered a career-high 36 points in the victory, doubling his 18.3 points average for the season.

The scoring outburst couldn’t have come at a better time for the Bearcats, as the team was without their starting point guard, Cashmere Wright, due to a knee injury. The senior is Cincinnati’s leader in assists and second leading scorer, averaging 15.1 points, 3.7 assists and 2.7 rebounds. Wright and Kilpatrick have combined to form one of the nation’s highest scoring backcourts.

Kilpatrick’s performance showed he can be dangerous from anywhere on the court. He got a little carried away with his long distance shooting after going 5-14 from downtown. However, he still shot 11-23 from the floor to finish with a 47.8% field goal average. Shooting nearly 50% against any conference opponent is impressive but the numbers still suggest Kilpatrick could have been even more effective if he put additional focus on attacking within arc.

The 6-foot-4 junior is also at his best when he’s getting to the free-throw line. He shot 9 for 10 against Marquette, all the more reason to put less of his offensive focus on the perimeter. In Cincinnati’s three losses this season, Kilpatrick combined to shoot only 2-3 from the foul line. In those games he also went 7-24 from three-point range.  Obviously the defenses in the losses did a good job of forcing Kilpatrick to the perimeter, however the guard can’t settle for throwing up threes and needs to continue attacking the rim. There’s no excuse for averaging eight three-attempts and only one free-throw attempt over three losing contests. No three teams in college basketball are all that good enough on defense to force a player into those kind of numbers without the player helping the defenses out.

The book is out on Kilpatrick, force him to the perimeter and hope he wants to stay there. He’s too talented to be kept there for long stretches as he’s a threat to score the moment the ball is placed in his hands. If Kilpatrick starts attacking from all over the court, inside and out,  he’s the exact type of player that can put a team on his back and keep them playing deep into March.

He already showed against Marquette he’s capable of leading his team over a quality opponent with a great individual effort.

Michael covers ACC and Big East basketball along with the Toronto Raptors for Rant Sports, you can follow him on Twitter @MichaelxRoberts

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