But based on how the ball was coming off of his hand, Kilpatrick was not feeling good. Shortly after coming back from Louisville, he has felt under the weather according to coach Mick Cronin and senior forward Justin Jackson. He missed practice on Saturday. He still wasn't feeling very well on Sunday. He shot 5 for 16 from the field and this was one of his roughest games of the season for him. But he found that little burst of energy that he needed to score 10 of his 18 in the final minutes of the game to seal the victory.
"It's tough," said Kilpatrick, who averages 19.5 points per game. "Playing under the weather is terrible."
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.
Meanwhile, with Justin Jackson, he was the best option for the Bearcats on Sunday as he finished with 15 points and six rebounds going 6 for 8 from the field and sinking 3 of his 4 free throws.
The senior forward from Cocoa Beach, Florida was Cincinnati's best option at the start on Sunday, hitting three close-up baskets during an opening 11-2 run. The Bulls were flustered, missing their first three shots and turning it over twice.
But the Bulls fought back led by Victor Rudd and Chris Perry as they turned up the defensive intensity resulting in a ragged half for both the Bearcats and the Bulls. Cincinnati held a six-point lead at the half and held USF to only 18 points, their lowest point production of the season for a half.
The Bulls intensified their defense at the start of the second half and pulled ahead. Martino Brock's three-point play and Perry's layup gave South Florida a 27-26 lead. The Bearcats missed four of their five shots in the half and turned it over six times, helping the Bulls to pull ahead.
Kilpatrick missed eight of his first 10 shots. But his 3-pointer started an 8-2 run that temporarily put UC back ahead before Perry drove for a basket and hit a jumper that gave the Bulls their biggest lead, 39-36, with 7:18 to go. Perry raised his arms toward the student section and motioned for some cheering as he ran down the court.
Then the Bearcats woke up. With 6:13 left in the game, Kilpatrick hit two free throws and put UC within one point. Then Jackson's jumper off the glass put UC up 42-41 and the Bearcats stayed ahead for good. With a slew of teams in the AP Top 25 losing this weekend, expect the Bearcats to make quite the leap possibly into the top 10 come Monday.