USA TODAY Sports
Rutgers has proven to be a difficult opponent this season, and Wednesday night was no different in Cincinnati. The Bearcats trailed by eight at halftime but rallied to avoid the upset.
If recent history is any indication, the No. 24 Cincinnati Bearcats probably expected a tough game Wednesday night against unranked Rutgers. That's exactly what they got. Cincinnati escaped with a 62-54 win behind 19 points from Sean Kilpatrick, but it did not come easily.
Rutgers led by eight at intermission, courtesy of a three from Jerome Seagears with 13 seconds to go in the half. He made three of his five three-point attempts and finished with 11 points. Seagears was coming off a career day in Hartford over the weekend, scoring 21 in the Scarlet Knights' loss to Connecticut.
Rutgers, now just 3-6 in the Big East, had already beaten Pittsburgh and pushed Notre Dame to its limit in South Bend.
In order to avoid falling victim to the upset bug, the Bearcats clamped down on defense in the second half, limiting Rutgers to just 24 points in the final 20 minutes. Defense and a decisive 32-21 advantage on the boards offset a difficult night offensively for Cincinnati. The Bearcats shot 37.5 percent and turned it over 17 times.
Center Cheikh Mbodj helped Kilpatrick out on offense by chipping in 10 points of his own. Every bit helped, as the Bearcats got just 13 points from their bench.