Since Basketball season is officially over for the year, I’d thought I share my top Cincinnati Bearcats Basketball moments in recent history. I’ve been a member of the Bearcats Pep Band for 4 years and a spectator for 2, so I’ve seen some incredible games but there were some heart breaking ones as well. So, here’s my list of the top 10 games in the past 6 years.
- 8-seed Bearcats (51) vs 1-seed Kentucky (64) – 3/21/2015 – NCAA Tournament
Now, you’re probably thinking why did I chose a loss as a top 10 moment? Well, considering that we played a 35-0 Kentucky team coming into the tournament, I think that’s a pretty good reason. After beating Purdue in the 2nd round of the tournament, they knew that their task was large against a mighty Wildcat team. Even with the loss, I was so proud of my team that day. They never backed down and never showed fear. They kept it close. They were down 31-24 at halftime. For me, personally, I knew it was going to be a tough challenge and I hope that they would made it close against Kentucky, which they did. For Cincinnati to be the best team in the country (someday), it was good for them to play against the best team. Hopefully this will be a learning curve for the cats in future years.
- Jan 6, 2011: UC (66) vs Xavier (46)
I remember this vaguely because this was during my freshman year in college and our pep band was assigned to play at this game. During that time, I was not a sports fan. However, it was building because going to college games are a lot more exciting than high school. So, prior to this games my friends were telling me the hype surrounding the Crosstown Shootout. They weren’t wrong. I’ve never seen such a packed arena that night. The whole place was rocking and the cats were beating. All I remember from this game was that it was a slug fest and that Yancy Gates killed it that night. And, I also remember that Nick Lachey and Pete Rose was at the game too. Good times
- March 6, 2014: UC (97) vs Memphis (84)
If I said “Cincinnati Bearcats Basketball”, you’re probably going to think of a stand out player from the University. Kenyon Martin. Oscar Robertson. But, in recent history, that stand out player is Sean Kilpatrick. It was 2 years ago, on March 6th, that he and fellow seniors Justin Jackson and Titus Rubles delivered a blood bath against the 20th ranked Memphis Tigers. They never stood a chance when the ball was tipped. Kilpatrick scored 34 points. Rubles scored a career best of 24 points and Jackson scored 13 and 9 rebounds. It was pretty much a party in front of a sellout crowd in Fifth Third Arena. The 2013-2014 season was probably the best season all around in the past 6 years lead by 3 prolific seniors in Kilpatrick, Jackson and Rubles.
- Jan 28, 2016: UC (58) vs UConn (57)
I could probably name a few great rivalries in Big East College Basketball. But, ever since the transition from the Big East conference to the AAC 2 years ago, there hasn’t been a good game rivalry within the conference. However, I like to think that the UC vs UConn matchup is pretty stellar in recent years. I’m not sure if this is a fact but I think that there are some good UC vs UConn games in the past 10 years. In recent history, I think this game stands out. Coming down to the wire, in front of thousands of Huskie fans, the bearcats were down 2 with 12 seconds to go. Gary Clark caught the in bounds pass and drove it to the hoop and scored and fouled in the process. Tied at 57, the calm Gary Clark kept his poise and made the foul shot. The huskies ran it down the court but the Cincinnati defense stood strong and the Huskies desperation 3-pointer shot did not go in, leaving the Bearcats victorious.
Honorable Mention: I have to give a shout out on the UConn vs UC game that took place 4 years ago. The bearcats faced 13th ranked Huskies on January 18th, 2012. The bearcats led by 3 with 12 seconds left. However, Shabazz Napier nailed a 3 pointer to tie it up. Instead of calling a timeout, Cronin put the game in sophomore Sean Kilpatrick’s hands as he jogged down the floor and hit a 3 pointer himself. The crowd silenced. Game over.
- December 1, 2012: UC (58) vs Alabama (56)
On this day, I was in the lovely confines of my home watching a double header. On one channel, I was watching the Bearcats football team play against Connecticut for a Big East title, and on the other I watch the basketball team play against Alabama in the Big East-SEC challenge. I did not watch the entirety of this game because of the football game. But after the football team won, I switched it over to see the final seconds of play in the basketball game. Tied at 56, Cashmere Wright came down the court, dribbled to the low post and threw a fade away shot over their 7 foot center. The buzzer sounded, ball went in, game was over, and then I fell to the floor. A buzzer beater happening in Fifth Third Arena was pretty remarkable and seeing all those students on tv after that shot was pretty awesome.
- 8-seeded Cincinnati vs (66) vs 9-seeded Purdue (65) – 3/19/2015 – NCAA Tournament
Prior to the game against Kentucky, The bearcats faced a tough Purdue Boilermaker team that it was probably the most exciting Bearcats tournament game in recent history. I was watching this game at a local bar that night and it was so much fun seeing this game with a bunch of drunks lol. The crazy factor was that the cats were down 7 with 45 seconds left. Something was on our side that night. Cincinnati managed to get back in and force it into OT, thanks to Troy Caupain’s buzzer beater shot swirled around the rim and went in. The whole bar went nuts. Eventually, the bearcats won thanks to our back up forward Coreontae DeBerry. DeBerry was a huge factor, scoring a career high of 13 points.
- Jan 30, 2014: #13 UC (69) vs #12 Louisville (66)
This game was important as ever when the Bearcats traveled to play against rival foe, Louisville Cardinals. Louisville was coming off a National Championship title the year prior, and a healthy group of guys ready to do it again. Winning seemed impossible for the bearcats on the road. This was also a showdown between the conference’s top scorers in UC’s Sean Kilpatrick and Louisville’s Russ Smith. Sean Kilpatrick and the bearcats came out punching in the first half scoring 3 pointers and dunks. Cincinnati’s defense slowed down Louisville’s rhythm and the cats were sitting pretty at the half. However, the final 9 minutes got me really nervous as Louisville came back and closed the gap. Ferocious leader Sean Kilpatrick threw the team on his back going 100% on free throws and beating the national champions. This win got the bearcats to be 7th ranked but Louisville got the last laugh when they came to Fifth Third Arena 3 weeks later and Russ Smith drilled a buzzer beater to seal a win for the cardinals.
- December 17, 2013: UC (44) vs Pittsburgh (43)
I was very fortunate to travel with a small pep band to see the cats play in New York to see the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden. This was a very memorable trip for me because even though our stay was short, we literally got to see every major landmark in little time. My friends and I had to get up early to do so but it was well worth it. It was icing on the cake to see the Bearcats win because I was worried and had the right to. Cincinnati was coming off 2 straight losses, Mexico and Xavier, and Pittsburgh is a tough team. Coming into the game, Panthers were 10-0. In the 2nd half, down 1, with literally seconds left, Sean Kilpatrick drove it up to the lane to score. However, the basket was no good and Titus Rubles put it back up with 4 seconds left and scored. Pitt tried to answer but couldn’t do so, thus, bringing back the cats to the winning side. Seeing that final play, courtside level, made me so ecstatic that I think I lost my voice after that game. But it was well worth it. Oh, I also got to take a pic with Sean Kilpatrick. No big deal.
- 6-seed Bearcats (62) vs 3-seed Florida State (56) – 3/18/2012 – NCAA Tournament
Filling out my bracket for this game, I originally had Florida State winning because their group was filled with talent and were the champions in the ACC tournament. However, seeing the run the bearcats pulled in the Big East tournament made me reconsider. I’m glad I did. Sophomore Sean Kilpatrick played 37 minutes and scored 18 points. Talk about resilient. It was a grudge match throughout the entire game. However, a steal and dunk by Dion Dixon with 1:30 left lifted the Bearcats and they never looked back. This win sealed a sweet 16 appearance since 2001. They lost, unfortunately, to the Ohio State Buckeyes in the next round
- March 9, 2012: UC (71) vs Syracuse (68) – Big East Tournament
This is a no brainer. This is by far THE best win in Bearcats recent history and easily my favorite. It was a shame for me, personally, because even though I wanted to travel with the pep band to see the team play, I didn’t. I missed out on a free trip to New York and see the Bearcats play in the Big East Championship. But, it was ok. I watched this game at my now ex-girlfriend’s house and her step father thought the Bearcats were going to lose. HA! My bearcats proved the nay sayers wrong. Syracuse Orange were ranked #2 in the country with a record of 31-1. It seemed like an impossible task but the Bearcats were ready. Right from the get go the Bearcats took an early 25-8 lead thanks to guards Sean Kilpatrick and Cashmere Wright, scoring 5/6 3 point attempts. They never trailed, but Syracuse made a comeback in the final minutes. However, a dunk by Justin Jackson crushed their hopes and dreams and the Bearcats prevailed against the #2 team in America. It’s amazing to think that when Coach Cronin picked up this team in 2006, the team was in shambles. 6 years later, he beat the 2nd ranked team in country. Even though we havn’t had that same status in recent years, I believe that Cronin will get us there with the resources that are available to him.
Thanks for Reading! Go Bearcats!!