Louisville, Ky. • Sean Kilpatrick has been Cincinnati’s driving force all season, thanks largely to being almost automatic from the foul line.
But even he had to step back and savor a big game keyed by 11-of-11 free-throw shooting that helped the No. 13 Bearcats overcome No. 12 Louisville and remain atop the American Athletic Conference.
Kilpatrick scored 28 points, including six free throws down the stretch that rallied Cincinnati for a 69-66 victory over the Cardinals on Thursday night.
“I’ve just worked on my free throws throughout the year, just really trying to continue to keep getting better,” said the senior guard, who entered the game 101 of 119 from the line (84 percent). “That’s something I harp on the most. Just working like I have nothing left in me.
“I just appreciate those free throws today.”
Unfazed despite blowing a 17-point lead in the second half, the first-place Bearcats (20-2, 9-0 American Athletic Conference) regrouped to hold the Cardinals to just two free throws in the final 5 minutes to win the conference showdown with a big hand from Kilpatrick.
Down 64-61, the AAC’s leading scorer (19.1 points per game) made two from the line before Justin Jackson’s tip-in gave Cincinnati the lead for good with 1:41 left. After Russ Smith’s missed layup and Montrezl Harrell’s turnover, Kilpatrick closed with four more free throws in the final 9 seconds to cap the Bearcats’ 13th straight win that put them 2½ games ahead of Louisville (17-4, 6-2) and Memphis.
No. 3 Florida 62, Mississippi State 51 • At Starkville, Miss., Casey Prather scored 16 points, Patric Young added 12 and Florida beat Mississippi State for its 12th straight win.
The Gators (18-2, 7-0 Southeastern Conference) had a slow start on offense, but made up for it with suffocating defense. It was the 12th time this season Florida held an opponent to 60 points or fewer.
No. 10 Michigan 75, Purdue 66 • At Ann Arbor, Mich., Caris LeVert had 14 points and a career-high 11 rebounds for his first career double-double, and Michigan beat Purdue to extend its winning streak to 10.
Nik Stauskas scored 16 points and Derrick Walton added 14 for the Big Ten leaders. The Wolverines (16-4, 8-0) shot 61 percent from the field against a Purdue team that had held its previous five opponents under 42.