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Kilpatrick has 29, No. 24 Cincy beats NC A&T 93-39

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Kilpatrick has 29, No. 24 Cincy beats NC A&T 93-39

CINCINNATI (AP) Forty-nine points in his last 51 minutes. Sean Kilpatrick seems to like Cincinnati's new up-tempo offense.

The junior guard scored a career-high 29 points on Sunday, hitting eight shots from behind the arc, and the 24th-ranked Bearcats dominated from the outset of a 93-39 victory over North Carolina A&T.

The Bearcats (3-0) opened with a 14-point run that featured four 3s by Kilpatrick, who got wide-open shots all around the arc. Cincinnati's lead never slipped below double digits. It wound up as the Bearcats' most lopsided win since 1994.

And Kilpatrick was right in the middle of it.

``None of that surprises me,'' coach Mick Cronin said. ``His preparation every day for every game is as good as I've ever been around as a coach. It's off the charts.''

Kilpatrick had 21 points in the opening half and matched his career best with six 3-pointers. He made more shots from beyond the arc than the Aggies (1-3) did overall in the half - NC A&T was 4 of 30.

``I was just playing within the flow of the game,'' said Kilpatrick, who finished 10 of 15 from the field, including 8 of 12 from behind the arc. ``Everyone was finding me early. On top of that, we just had open shots.''

Kilpatrick had a big game all-around, getting seven rebounds and five assists in 26 minutes. He has 49 points in the last two games, adapting quickly to the Bearcats' new push-the-pace style of offense that spreads out the guards.

``It opens the floor more to better opportunities,'' Kilpatrick said. ``You find players if they're open because the whole floor is open.''

The Aggies knew what he could do, but left him unguarded too many times.

``We didn't make the adjustments,'' coach Cy Alexander said. ``We told them what he was capable of doing. This was the first game that I was disappointed in our defensive effort. We knew what we had to do from a defensive standpoint and we didn't do it.

``It appeared to me from the sideline that we were somewhat intimidated, which there is no excuse for whether you are playing mid-major, high-major, or whatever major. You've got to step up to the competition that you are playing against. We didn't do that. We played like a team who was scared.''

North Carolina A&T shot only 15 percent from the field (10 of 66) with 20 turnovers. Lamont Middleton led the Aggies with 11 points.

Kilpatrick set a career high for scoring on his eighth 3-pointer with 10:26 left, completing a 16-0 run for a 68-24 lead. At that point, the Aggies had only seven field goals combined.

The only blemish for Cincinnati was free-throw shooting. The Bearcats came in averaging 59.6 percent from the line and missed 11 of their first 14. The crowd of 5,582 cheered when Cashmere Wright made a free throw that ended a streak of seven straight misses in the second half.

Cincinnati finished 9 of 23 on free throws, prompting Cronin to schedule a special practice for Monday morning.

``We've all got 7 a.m. free throws,'' Kilpatrick said. ``So no late-night watching (television). We've got to go to sleep.''

The Aggies repeatedly shot air balls over outstretched arms, missing their first 10 shots overall. They didn't get their first field goal until Lamont Middleton scored at the 12:37 mark, making it 17-3. Six of their shots were swatted away in the first half.

North Carolina A&T also had trouble holding onto the ball against Cincinnati's extended man-to-man defense. The Aggies had 12 turnovers while falling behind 47-16 at halftime.

The Bearcats are using their early games to build a 10-man-deep bench for Big East play. Cronin used his reserves a lot during an 80-57 win over Tennessee-Martin and a 102-60 win over Mississippi Valley State, and quickly got some of his reserve in against the Aggies.

No matter who was on the floor, Cincinnati's defense was too much for the Aggies, who couldn't score more than five points in a row.

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Follow Joe Kay on Twitter:http://twitter.com/apjoekay

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Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

Otto Porter's status in doubt for Game 6 against Raptors

There appears to be at least some chance the Wizards will be without starting small forward Otto Porter when they host the Toronto Raptors in Game 6 of their first round playoff series on Friday night in Washington.

Porter, 24, continues to deal with a right lower leg strain. The injury is located on the outside of his calf and will require further testing from the Wizards' medical staff to determine his status.

Head coach Scott Brooks addressed the media on Thursday and did not rule out an MRI.

"We don't know as of yet, but he's banged up. So, hopefully we will find out some good news and see how he feels tomorrow," Brooks said.

Porter first suffered the injury on April 10 against the Celtics in the Wizards' penultimate regular season game. He missed the regular season finale, but has appeared in all five games of the Wizards-Raptors series.

Brooks did not make it seem likely that Porter will miss Game 6, but expressed uncertainty.

"Anything is possible," he said. "We hope for the best."

Porter appeared hobbled in Game 5 and has at other times this series as well. After the first two games of the series, Brooks was asked about Porter's health and said that he was "100 percent." It's unclear if Porter suffered a setback in the time between, but clearly that isn't the case anymore.

Porter is averaging just 10.0 points in this series, down from his 14.7 per game season average. Ideally, the Wizards would be getting more than that from their third scoring option.

"We need Otto," Brooks said. "We need Otto to be more of a nine or 10-point scorer for us to win this series."

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If this year is going to be different, the Caps cannot go down 0-2 in the series again

If this year is going to be different, the Caps cannot go down 0-2 in the series again

In last year’s playoff series against the Pittsburgh Penguins, the Capitals won two out of the last three games and three out of the last five…and still lost the series. That’s because they lost both Game 1 and Game 2 to fall into a 0-2 hole, much like they did against the Columbus Blue Jackets in the first round this season.

The Caps know if this year is going to be different, they cannot afford to fall into a similar hole again.

“It's always harder to dig yourself out of a hole,” head coach Barry Trotz said after Thursday’s morning skate. “You're room for error is a lot less and it wears on you.”

“If we've learned anything from last year, you lose two it's tough to climb out of that,” Jay Beagle said. “Then this year first round, lose two, it's tough to climb out. It makes the series really hard. You always feel like you're chasing and no room for error.”

It did not cost them against Columbus as Washington was able to rattle off four straight wins to advance to the second round. Overcoming a two-game hole against the two-time defending Stanley Cup Champions, however, is a taller task.

For only the second time in franchise history, the Capitals were able to overcome a 0-2 series deficit when they did it against the Blue Jackets. That means it doesn’t happen very often.

Chances are you won’t be able to overcome a deficit like that against Sidney Crosby and Co.

And that’s what makes Game 1 so important.

Washington is at home, opening a series against their arch rival, the Penguins will be without both Evgeni Malkin and Carl Hagelin and the game will be played with the memory of how a 0-2 hole cost the Caps the series last year.

To call it a must-win would perhaps be an overstatement. It is a best of seven after all. But it’s still not that far off.

“We've got to just make sure we're looking at game one, we're not looking ahead,” Beagle said. “We've got to go after them in this first game and really try and take it to them in our rink.”

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