The two Cincinnati seniors played a large part in the win today, especially the All-American nominee Sean Kilpatrick who finished with 28 points and six assists shooting 50% from the field. Justin Jackson, who was held to zero points, zero rebounds and recorded only a steal in the first half, finished with 13 points, five rebounds and two more blocks to add. But the unsung hero of the Bearcat squad for this game was the play of sophomore Shaquille Thomas who finished with 11 points.
"We keep telling him to shoot," Jackson said of Thomas. "He's 6 foot 9. If he drives the ball inside more and takes more shots like we know he can do, no one can stop him. Sometimes in practice, I can't stop him with his jumper."
"That's really what I have been trying to work on a lot more with my game; to be more aggressive with my game," Thomas said about his blooming offensive firepower. "We just have to keep working at making our team tougher come March."
Justin Jackson, who finished with 13 points going 6 for 7 from the field, talked about moving closer to March and the heightening competition.
"We know that for every team that comes into this gym is going to give us their best shot to take us down. You have to give Houston a lot of credit for their game plan and they did a great job of their defense."
And last, but definitely not least is senior Sean Kilpatrick who has been on a hot streak over the last seven games averaging 24.4 points continued the trend against Houston, dropping 28. Kilpatrick is now 33 points away from 2,000 points for his career. Kilpatrick spoke about the accolades that he has accomplished and how they pale in comparison to what he and the other seniors want to accomplish.
"We want to leave something here special to remember. We have something special here."
Coach Mick Cronin talked about Kilpatrick's maturity through his career.
"Oscar Robertson, Nick Van Exel, Steve Logan. Kilpatrick should be among those names. He had made such an impact on this team unlike any other player has done. I'm not talking about these freshmen at other school who could be good in five years, name me one player in the country better than Sean Kilpatrick."