No. 19 Cincinnati rallies to 69-58 win over Temple

CINCINNATI (AP) - Sean Kilpatrick shot a 3-pointer during Cincinnati’s afternoon workout and watched it go in. He shot another and then another. Perfect again.

At long last, the Bearcats’ senior guard had his shooting touch back.

Kilpatrick emerged from his 3-point shooting slump Tuesday night, and Justin Jackson had a double-double, rallying No. 19 Cincinnati from a late deficit to a 69-58 victory over short-handed Temple.

“Coach (Mick Cronin) was really basically telling us you’ve got to play offense with a lot of confidence, you can’t be afraid to shoot,” said Kilpatrick, who matched his season high with 23 points. “That’s something that kept clicking in the back of my mind, ‘Just keep shooting.’”

He went 6 of 13 from behind the arc, including consecutive 3s that helped Cincinnati (16-2, 5-0 AAC) pull away. The Bearcats improved to 13-0 at home and remained alone atop the American Athletic Conference with their ninth straight win.

Kilpatrick leads the AAC in scoring at 18.4 points per game but has struggled with his outside shot, going only 4 of 33 from beyond the arc in his five previous games. He was only 1 of 10 on 3-point attempts during a 71-51 win over Rutgers on Saturday.

Something felt different Tuesday. He told point guard Ge’Lawn Guyn that his slump was finished.

“It’s funny because today in our walk-through I was shooting and it was actually falling,” Kilpatrick said. “I was telling Ge’Lawn that it feels like I’m back. It was good to actually hit some shots today and help my team win.”

After Temple (5-10, 0-5) went ahead 47-45 with 7:24 to go, Kilpatrick hit consecutive 3s that started a 12-point run and put the Bearcats in control.

Jackson had 15 points, 10 rebounds and six blocked shots, one shy of his career high. Once the Bearcats started getting the ball inside Temple’s zone defense in the second half, Kilpatrick started getting open shots on the perimeter.

“The guy’s a great shooter,” Cronin said. “He’s played major minutes with a lot on his shoulders. As great a player as he is, there’s a lot of great players that go through tough patches in a season. I think it’s unrealistic to think that’s not going to happen.”

The Owls have lost five straight and remain alone at the bottom of the AAC. They dressed only eight players Tuesday night because of injuries. Dalton Pepper led the Owls with 21 points.

“I think there is light at the end of the tunnel,” coach Fran Dunphy said. “I think we are right where we need to be in so many different games. I am proud of our guys for that part of it, but we need to finish better and really show a little bit more toughness down the stretch. And hopefully we are getting there.”

The Owls were missing guard Will Cummings, who averages 16.1 points and 4.1 assists. Cummings had concussion symptoms from a game last week. Freshman point guard Josh Brown made his first career start and had three points, six assists and five of Temple’s 15 turnovers.

Cincinnati’s 16-2 start matches its best during Cronin’s eight seasons. The Bearcats moved into the Top 25 for the first time this season on Monday.

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