NEWARK — Sean Kilpatrick scored 21 points and Cashmere Wright added 17 as No. 24 Cincinnati blew almost all of a 20-point lead before holding off Seton Hall 65-59 on Saturday, the Bearcats' fifth win in six games.
Cincinnati (18-4, 6-3 Big East) was up 48-28 5 minutes into the second half only to allow the Pirates (13-9, 2-7) to get within four points twice. The Bearcats, who entered the game 14th in the 15-team conference in free throw shooting at 64.9 percent, finished 21 of 27 (77.8 percent) from the line, including making eight of their last nine in the game.
Fuquan Edwin and Brandon Mobley both had 16 points for Seton Hall, which has lost three straight and seven of eight.
Wright made all seven of his free throws and JaQuon Parker was 6 of 8 to lead the Bearcats.The Bearcats scored the first 15 points of the second half — a run that had Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard call two timeouts in the opening 2:30. Kilpatricks's second 3 of the run — after he started 2 for 7 from beyond the arc — made it 48-28 with 15:02 left in the half.
Cincinnati had closed the first half on a 14-5 run and Wright had eight points, a 3-pointer, a traditional three-point play and two free throws.
Seton Hall took advantage of an offensive dry spell by the Bearcats to get as close as four points twice.
Edwin made four straight free throws to cap a 17-2 run that made it 52-48 with 6:46 to play. Cincinnati had one field goal over a span of 13:28 — including missing 12 straight shots. The Pirates got to 56-52 with 3:12 to go on a 3-pointer by Mobley. But the Bearcats kept making their free throws to keep the Pirates at bay.
The win was the 200th for Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin. He has a 200-116 record in 10 seasons as a head coach, 131-92 in seven seasons with the Bearcats.