Cincinnati cruises in first game without four suspended players

FAIRBORN, Ohio -- Sean Kilpatrick scored 20 points and Cincinnati won its first game without suspended forward Yancy Gates, routing Wright State 78-58 on Wednesday night.

Cincinnati (6-3) was coming off a 76-53 loss at Xavier that was stopped when a brawl erupted with 9 seconds left. Gates, averaging 13.5 and 9.5 rebounds, was one of three Bearcats suspended for six games. Another was suspended for one.

The Bearcats started a three-guard lineup with JaQuon Parker in place of Gates. Parker, playing in his second game this season, scored 14 points.

The Bearcats showed no hangover from the suspensions, jumping to a 17-2 lead behind three 3-pointers by Kilpatrick, who finished with a career-high six 3s. The Bearcats made 4 of 7 from long range to start the game and finished 14 of 32 -- both season highs. Cincinnati shot 54.9 percent from the field (28 of 51).

Cashmere Wright added 12 points for Cincinnati.

John Balwigaire and A.J. Pacher led Wright State (4-7) with 11 points apiece.

Gates was suspended for six games for punching Xavier center Kenny Frease in the face during the brawl, which also resulted in the suspension of four Xavier players. Hamilton County prosecutor Joe Deters had been considering criminal charges, but said earlier Wednesday that he will not prosecute.

Deters said he made the decision following an investigation that included review of films and interviews with the two teams' coaches and some players and witnesses. He also said that Frease was satisfied with an apology from Gates after the two "reached out to each other privately."

Besides Gates, the suspended Bearcats are junior center Cheikh Mbodj (six games), freshman forward Octavius Ellis (six games) and freshman guard Ge'Lawn Guyn (one game). Mbodj got his first start of the season against Xavier.

Against Wright State, Kilpatrick scored 17 points in the first half, which ended with the Bearcats leading 43-22. Cincinnati's 9-for-20 shooting from 3-point range equaled season highs in both categories. The Bearcats were 9 of 20 in a recent victory at Georgia. Kilpatrick's previous career scoring high was 26 against Wright State last year.

The move to the perimeter game with the absence of Gates and Mbodj was further evident by the Bearcats scoring only four points in the paint in the first half.

Wright State scored the first five points of the second half, but Cincinnati's stingy defense never let the Raiders get close and the lead grew to as many as 26. Cincinnati entered the game 13th in the nation in scoring defense at 55.6 points per game. The Bearcats have now held 12 of their last 14 nonconference regular-season opponents under 60 points.