College Hoops Player of the Day for Wednesday, December 19, 2012
11th-ranked Cincinnati improved to 11-0 with a 60-45 win over crosstown rival Xavier, and, while the game was of a particularly ugly variety, it was a dramatic improvement over last season's meeting with involved a nasty display of fisticuffs and brawling, multiple ejections and eventual suspensions and a black eye for college hoops in general and the style of ball played in and around Cincinnati in particular.
That style is typified by hard-nosed defense, close defending and a man's game under and often above the rim. Wednesday night's contest had plenty of that, but nothing even approaching a flagrant foul was witnessed as both teams played with dignity without sacrificing toughness.
When it came to toughness, there was none tougher than freshman point guard, Dee Davis, who limped through most of the second half with severe leg cramps, but was largely ineffective.
For the Bearcats, who led almost the entire game, junior guard Sean Kilpatrick was the answer, scoring a game-high 25 points (nearly half of the Bearcat total) with seven rebounds and four steals over 35 minutes of floor time.
While Kilpatrick shot just 37% (10-for-27), his shooting actually boosted the Bearcat average. Cincinnati shot just 33% as a team, making 21 of 64 shots, including 5-for-24 (21%) from three-point range.
The Bearcats weren't exactly lighting it up, but neither were the Musketeers, who were held to 38% shooting, making just two of 13 three-point attempts. Perhaps the best defense of Xavier came from the stripe fifteen feet from the hoop - the foul line - from where the Musketeers could knock home just three of 14 free throws, in a display of foul shooting that would make the likes of Rick Barry turn away in horror.
Kilpatrick, who leads Cincinnati in scoring at 19.7 points per game, has tallied in double figures in all 11 Bearcat wins, and, while the win was ugly, it was still a win, keeping Cincinnati's record perfect at 11-0.