Tonight the fans of Cincinnati were treated to one of the best closing acts in many years. It was senior night for five seniors Sean Kilpatrick, Justin Jackson, Titus Rubles, David Nyarsuk and Derek Cox. In the 97-84 victory the three leaders combined to score 71 points in front of the sold out Fifth Third Arena.
Honored in an emotional pre-game ceremony, Kilpatrick and Jackson had trouble fighting off tears. Those tears for Kilpatrick would follow him into post game conference as he spoke bout playing his last game in front of the fans.
"Just the fact that I won't be able to play in front of them again. That's something, Kilpatrick paused, I spent 5 years basically here..." at that point he couldn't hold back his emotions.
Kilpatrick would finish the game with a team high 34 points, making that a season-high for the senior. Jackson finished with 13 points, 9 rebounds, 3 steals and 2 blocks. It was Rubles with the huge night scoring a career-high 24 points.
"I wanted to put on a show for my mom this was her first time coming to a game so I was just playing with supreme confidence and it worked out good," Rubles explained. "I want thank my teammates for helping me out to, getting me the ball when I was open and just helping me they knew today was a big day for me, so they looked out for me."
Rubles was asked was there something in the scouting report that he seen, he replied. "Nothing really in the scouting report, but I knew number 4 (Austin Nichols) was a freshman so that was my biggest advantage."
It has been the seniors all year setting the tone for their team. Tonight had to be one of the biggest tone setters for them this year. "We had that planned since day 1, since the beginning when we started," said Jackson. "We set the tone and everyone else will follow that's what happen.
The seniors know if they want to take this team to further heights they must use the weapons they have to be a dangerous team. Kilpatrick spoke about why UC can be a dangerous team when you have guys like Rubles producing.
"Very dangerous because we all have weapons. I mean you have me, Jack and Shaq (Thomas) as well. Then you add Titus to the mix knowing he plays defense and on top of that he is an offensive player," he explained. "He may not have displayed that the last two years because he came in and did his job. But if you leave him open and give him a lane to drive it might be over for you. We know with the ball in his hands a lot something good is going to happen."
Kilpatrick has always been the guy to lead by example, pick his teammates up and just never let you see him down. Its been a good five years for the senior and building relationships with others is a key part of this team. Rubles spoke on the leadership quality of SK.
'When I first got here coach told me he was putting me in the same room as Sean Kilpatrick because he does everything right," Rubles stated. "I can't tell when it's his bad day. Everyone be at practice some people be tired and you can see it on their face. He be tired too but you could never tell...laughing...I just appreciate that about him. It makes you want to go harder. When you see the best player on the team is going hard, just as hard everyday, you have no choice but to go hand. I'm thankful for Jackson too, we all have a friendship and it shows on the court."
Kilpatrick being the humble person he is, thank the media for what they've done throughout his career at UC. "We do this for you'll," he said. "You'll are here everyday to really support us and write good things about us. Being able to have those type of people behind us, knowing it may not go worldwide you guys believe in us. That's something we really appreciate." Jackson and Rubles followed with a thank you!
Check out post-game player conference with SK, Jackson and Rubles. In this footage you will see the emotions in Kilpatrick as he speaks to the media.