Mar 14, 2014; Memphis, TN, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Mick Cronin during the first half against the Connecticut Huskies in the semifinals of the American Athletic Conference college basketball tournament at FedEx Forum. Mandatory Credit: Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Cincinnati Bearcats Eliminated By UConn Huskies In AAC Semifinals In Heartbreaking Fashion

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It was sitting on the rim. It was sitting on the rim.

Down 58-56 with the ball in their senior leader Sean Kilpatrick’s hands, Cincinnati literally came within millimeters of tying the game and sending it to overtime. How close exactly? This close.




That was a heartbreaker, everyone, moreso than any other loss this season. But it arguably never should have gotten to that point. Unlike in the previous matchups with UConn, Cincinnati was getting meaningful contributions from players not named Sean Kilpatrick. Justin Jackson and Jermaine Sanders each had 10 and Shaq Thomas had 8. The Bearcats as a whole were stepping up offensively. But they weren’t getting nearly as much as they should have from Kilpatrick. The senior averages almost 21 points per game but got just 14 tonight. He was held under double-digits up until the final few possessions and went to the free throw line for the first time 39:18 into the game. In the past when Kilpatrick struggles from the field, like in early January of this season, he makes up for it at the stripe. Not so tonight. Kilpatrick shot just two freebies against UConn.

Additionally the defense failed miserably from beyond the arc. The Huskes answered Cincinnati made shots time and time again with clutch threes. They hit 7 on the evening and shot 54% from there tonight. UConn is an excellent offensive team but the Bearcats had stifled them in their previous two matchups this year. UC didn’t display the same defensive focus tonight.

So Cincinnati has been eliminated from the AAC Tournament but do have a regular season championship to their name. And that’s an accomplishment that should be celebrated. Plus the Bearcats are in line to get their name called on Selection Sunday. They should be a 3 or 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament. We’ll find out their matchup in a couple of days.

Tags: Bearcats Bearcats Basketball Cincinnati

  • Ron Fulton

    Where are the shooters? Another example of poor offense.

    • Chris

      Everyone on the offense showed up. Sean Kilpatrick didn’t.

      • Ron Margolies

        Two things: Goal Tending, but that is never called at that point of a game, plus that single thing did not cot us the game. Free throws. ……seems like a lot of points were left at the line.

        • Ron Fulton

          Good teams make the FT

          • Chris

            Yea free throws killed this team last night and it started with Kilpatrick. As is mentioned above, he didn’t even GET to the free throw line until 42 seconds left in the game. It was the forwards who were getting to the stripe and obviously those aren’t your best free throw shooters. When Kilpatrick is playing like himself, he’s driving aggressively to the rim and drawing fouls. He didn’t do so last night and UC lost.

          • Ron Fulton

            It’s too late in the season for Cronin to change stragety now. He should have had these non scoring forwards taking more shots during the season to get them ready for later in the season. Instead he did nothing. I think that they had far more potential as scorers then they showed. ( Rubles 24 against Memphis) but Cronin in a very weak offense coach and it showed.

  • Reading White Castles

    Rest, move on and win what really counts on the Biggest stage. This team can beat anyone. Do you think anyone wants to play UC? Their defense looked amazing even in the loss. Even on a night where their perimeter and FT shooting find not show up, the were one ball rotation from OT. At least they didn’t lose on a half court shot visa vi WVU and Syracuse. Those were terrible march madness losses.

  • Ron Fulton

    I can’t believe everyone is blaming SK fir the loss. He carried them the entire season on his back, If you want to blame someone, blame Cronin to not coach well enough to get more scoring out of the others. He had all year to set plays for others and did nothing. He had to had known he was going to need more help than just SK. Gimme a break.

    • Chris

      Because SK was to blame for this loss. He shot well below his season average and didn’t play as aggressive as he usually does. I know you have it out for Mick Cronin but look at the stats from Friday’s game. Everyone performed around or above their season average except for Kilpatrick. That doesn’t take away from the great season he had, though.

      • Ron Fulton

        What I’m saying is everyone has off nights and the other players must pick it up. 10 and 8 points don’t get it. I still blame Cronin for not preparing these guys offensively through the year. The same thing will happen in the tournament, Jackson will get in early foul trouble and SK will face a box and 1. No other help.