- Associated Press - Sunday, February 2, 2014

CINCINNATI (AP) - South Florida had the lead heading into the closing minutes.

And just like the last time they played Cincinnati, the Bulls let it slip away again.

An ailing Sean Kilpatrick scored 10 of his 18 points in the closing minutes, leading the 13th-ranked Bearcats to a 50-45 victory on Sunday that had an all-too-familiar feel for the Bulls.

The Bulls (11-11, 2-7 American Athletic) let one slip away on Jan. 18, when Cincinnati broke open a tie game for a 61-54 win in Florida. This one followed a similar path, with the Bulls up by a point with 6 minutes left.

Chris Perry had 13 points and Victor Rudd scored 11 for the Bulls, who have lost their past 11 games in Cincinnati.

“I still feel like we could have beaten them twice, at home and here,” Rudd said. “I feel like we let it slip away in the last three minutes of the game, and they played great in both games.”

South Florida missed six of its last seven shots - five of them from behind the arc - and had three turnovers down the stretch. The Bulls are last in the AAC in 3-point shooting, making only 26.2 percent, so they played into Cincinnati’s hands by firing away during the final minutes.

“We went brain-dead,” coach Stan Heath said. “We took (the 3s), we probably shouldn’t have. A couple of those, the clock was winding down and so we just got stuck with that shot.”

South Florida was coming off a 78-71 win over SMU that snapped a four-game losing streak. The Bulls haven’t beaten a ranked team since Feb. 29, 2012, at Louisville.

“I know we could beat this team, I know that definitely,” Perry said. “We kind of messed up on the very end, but we’ll work on it.”

The Bearcats (21-2, 10-0) got their 14th straight victory by following Kilpatrick’s lead.

“He’s going to come and perform every night, sick or not sick,” said forward Justin Jackson, who added 15 points. “It’s what I expected out of him.”

The senior guard made six free throws and two driving lay-ins, scoring 10 of Cincinnati’s final 12 points. Cincinnati survived the close call at home, where it has won 17 in a row, including 15 this season.

Kilpatrick was sick the past two days, missing practice on Saturday. He still wasn’t feeling very well on Sunday.

“It’s tough,” said Kilpatrick, who averages 19.5 points per game. “Playing under the weather is terrible.”

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