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Monday, March 19, 2012
Rapid Reax: Cincinnati 62, Florida State 56

By Chris Low



NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A quick look at No. 6 seed Cincinnati’s 62-56 victory over No. 3 seed Florida State in the third round of the NCAA tournament’s East Regional at Bridgestone Arena:

Overview: It was a physical contest from the outset with both teams looking like two big bulls slamming into each other. Florida State led by one at halftime, and it stayed close throughout the second half.

The two teams traded leads, and neither shot particularly well (38 percent from the field for both teams). What killed the Seminoles were costly turnovers, and the Bearcats capitalized. They outscored the Seminoles 19-6 off turnovers and also had a 13-5 advantage on fast-break points.

And even though Cincinnati was just 5-of-15 from 3-point range, guard Sean Kilpatrick hit back-to-back shots from long distance just inside 4 minutes, and then the Bearcats only missed once from the free-throw line in the final two minutes of the game.

Turning point: The game was tied at 50-50, and Florida State had the ball. But a lazy pass by FSU’s Luke Loucks against Cincinnati's pressure defense was stolen by Dion Dixon, who flew in for a dunk to give the Bearcats a 2-point lead with 1:30 to play. A couple of possessions later, Loucks committed another turnover when he was called for traveling. The Seminoles never got any closer than four points the rest of the way.

Key player: Kilpatrick led the Bearcats with 18 points and was 4-of-6 from behind the 3-point arc. He also had 6 rebounds and 2 steals in 37 minutes.

Key stat: The Bearcats were 9-of-10 from the free-throw line in last two minutes of the game. They only shot 63.7 percent from the line during the season.

Miscellaneous: Even though Cincinnati guard Cashmere Wright shot just 2-of-10 from the field, he dished out 6 assists, collected 5 steals and turned the ball over only twice in 33 minutes. … The Bearcats wore the black version of their new Adidas uniforms on Sunday. Their jerseys were black with fluorescent orange/pink numbers and trim. … Florida State’s leading scorer, Michael Snaer, had another off shooting night. He was 0-of-7 from the floor in the second-round victory over St. Bonaventure and was just 4-of-11 Sunday against Cincinnati.

What’s next: Cincinnati (26-10) will advance to the Sweet 16 to face second-seeded Ohio State on Thursday night in Boston. It's one of those matchups that you wouldn't see during the regular season. Ohio State hasn't been willing to play Cincinnati on a regular basis and has typically wanted to play only if the game were in Columbus.