CINCINNATI — Senior guard Sean Kilpatrick scored 18 points and senior forward Justin Jackson added 15 points and three blocked shots, lifting No. 13 Cincinnati past upset-minded South Florida 50-45 Sunday.
Freshman forward Chris Perry scored 13 points and senior forward Victor Rudd added 10 for the Bulls.
Cincinnati (21-2, 10-0 American Athletic Conference) extended its winning streak to 14 games. UC has won 17 straight at home.
South Florida (11-11, 2-7) was one for 11 from 3-point range has dropped six of its past eight games.
Kilpatrick overcame a cold-shooting day to make some big points down the stretch. He was five of 16 from the field, two of eight from 3-point range.
In the first five minutes it appeared the Bearcats were intent on avoiding a letdown coming off Thursday’s emotional win at Louisville.
UC forced a couple turnovers, including a 10-second violation, and was crashing the offensive boards.
Guard Ge’Lawn Guyn’s deep 3-pointer gave Cincinnati a 9-2 lead. Guyn finished with eight points.
USF forward Zach LeDay beat the shot-clock buzzer with a long 3-pointer, giving the Bulls their first lead, 14-13.
Jackson hit his first four shots and had nine points by halftime.
It was an expeditious first half in which just seven personal fouls were called with just five free-throw attempts.
Cincinnati committed just one turnover in the half and led 24-18 at halftime.
The Bulls did not go quietly, however.
Despite its struggles offensively, USF was within four points after guard Corey Allen Jr.’s dunk early in the second half.
Perry’s layup off an assist from Rudd finished off a 7-0 run to put USF ahead 27-26 with 14 minutes left.
Senior forward Titus Rubles briefly stemmed the tide with a three-point play, putting UC up 34-29.
Perry’s jumper capped an 8-0 Bulls run to put them ahead 39-36 with 7:18 remaining.
Jackson banked in a shot to put Cincinnati ahead 42-41.
Allen Jr.’s lob to center John Egbunu for a dunk got the Bulls within two points with less than two minutes left.
NOTES: The Cincinnati Enquirer reported that freshman F Jermaine Lawrence is close to returning from a turf toe injury that has caused him to miss eight games. The 6-foot-9 Lawrence is averaging 4.2 points and 3.3 rebounds. … USF’s 18 first-half points were season lows for the Bulls and for Bearcats opponents. … The 14-game winning streak is the Bearcats’ longest since 2010. … Cincinnati defeated the Bulls 61-54 on Jan. 18 in Tampa, Fla. … USF has lost 15 straight games to ranked opponents. … Baseball’s all-time hits leader and Cincinnati Reds great Pete Rose was seated behind the UC bench on Sunday.
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