Cincinnati Bearcats beat up Kennesaw State en route to 95-67 victory

CINCINNATI (AP) — Justin Jackson and Titus Rubles led Cincinnati's domination, and the Bearcats' pressure defense forced 20 turnovers on Friday afternoon, setting up a 95-67 victory over Kennesaw State.

Sean Kilpatrick had 20 points for Cincinnati (6-0), which pushed the lead to 20 in the first half by pressing the Owls into repeated turnovers. The Bearcats had a season high in points.

Jackson had 11 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots. Rubles matched his career high with 14 points and had five rebounds as the forward tandem worked inside for close-up shots.

Orland Coleman scored 12 points for Kennesaw State (3-7). Coleman also got a technical foul for yelling something at a Cincinnati player after making a 3-pointer in the second half.

The Owls started a tough seven-game trip that will conclude their nonconference schedule. In addition to Cincinnati, they'll play at Georgia Tech and at Indiana before going home again.

Cincinnati was coming off a 79-49 win over Massachusetts-Lowell on Tuesday night that featured a lot of full-court pressure. Cincinnati forced a season-high 28 turnovers by the River Hawks' overmatched guards.

The Bearcats were at it again, forcing the Owls into 12 turnovers while pulling ahead by 20 points in the first half. One time, the Owls threw an inbound pass directly to a defender. Another time, an Owl had a foot out of bounds when he caught a pass.

The undersized Owls keep up by shooting a lot of 3-pointers. They came in ranked 22nd in the nation with 58 treys. They made some early and stayed close, but Cincinnati's size advantage and its press soon turned it into a lopsided game.

Cincinnati closed the half with a 22-6 run for a 48-28 lead. The Owls managed only one field goal in the final 8 minutes, 36 seconds. Rubles made a jumper, a pair of free throws and a layup off a steal during the spurt.

Jackson had nine points, six rebounds and three blocked shots in the half.

Not much changed at the start of the second half. Kennesaw State got the ball first, but threw away the inbound pass. After a Cincinnati basket, the Owls turned it over again on a 10-second call. Cincinnati pushed the lead to 30 points with 13 minutes left.

Rubles got hit in the forehead with an elbow while trying to trap a player, fell to the floor and left the game with 18:21 left. He returned a few minutes later.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter @apjoekay

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