Another double-digit win.
This time on the road at a tough place to play.
Dion Dixon with 23. Ibrahima Thomas with a double-double.
UC earning any credit for it? Probably not.
The Bearcats continued their winning ways on Tuesday night. After falling behind by seven last in the first half, UC responded to lead by seven at the break and eventually win 64-48. It provided the latest test for the Bearcats this season. For the first time they were down to an opponent and feeling the pressure late in the half.
They responded with a 15-1 run and never looked back. Check that off the list of another situation they proved they know how to deal with.
"If I could have drawn it up, I would have drawn it up the way we won," Mick Cronin said, "to get down and then come back and win, just to have that experience on the road. The thing I was most proud of is when they hit five of their first six threes our guys never panicked."
At the end of the day it's another win that's probably more impressive than UC will earn credit for. Although, they did earn some highlights on Sportscenter for the first time that I can remember. But on a night filled with the Beef O'Brady's Bowl and women's basketball, they were more a product of circumstance.
All right, let's eat...
--- Will Frasure was elevated to Mega-Intern status as he traveled up to Oxford to cover the game. Here was his excellent take on Dion Dixon's intensity and offense lifting the Bearcats out of the doldrums.
One quote I particularly liked from the story was Cronin talking about Dixon's big game:
"One thing I can count on, when somebody gets 20 on this team the media wants to anoint the guy," Cronin said. "Now it's Dixon."
Yeah, that's sort of what we do. This team has taken some adjusting for us even. The bottom line is there are four or five guys who, when enjoying a hot night, can easily drop 20. People are so used to watching basketball where the ball runs through THE GUY. It's the NBA model that filtered down through all levels. UC's bucking that trend and they're hoping it will be the biggest reason they buck the trend of missing the NCAA tournament as well.
--- Most importantly, as reader Christian would say, one step closer to the mythical Miami Valley Crown!
--- Chad Brendel posted some extra insight from the game at BearcatLair.
--- UC shot poorly from 3-point range again, going 4 of 16 for the game. They are now 7 of 33 (21 percent) the last two games.
However, they overcame the off night by taking care of the basketball and owning the offensive boards.
"We were plus-7 in turnovers and plus-11 on the offensive glass," Cronin said. "That's 18 possessions and 18 extra shots. You're going to win the game when you do that."
--- First technical of the year for Cronin last night. And it played a significant role in sparking the comeback.
"It really got us fired up," Ibrahima Thomas said. "If you remember he got a technical against Miami last year at US Bank. I think it's kind of like a ritual every year."
I always enjoy a good T, especially on the road early in the game. Though, I would be so interested in getting my monies worth out of it, I'd have to have some assistant coaches with cat-like reflexes. I'd be the first coach to make an assistant do a shuttle run during an interview.
--- Of course, the game was only the opening act for the Charlie Coles press conference. While this wasn't the stuff of YouTube legend, it was standard hilarious Coles.
Here are some of the golden nuggets he dropped on the press room.
On the caliber of UC compared to other undefeated teams:
"Oh yeah, oh yeah. I think so. I think they gotta be, if they're in control like I think they can, oh yeah. Because their point guard is pretty good. I think he's pretty good. When I say pretty good, I mean team good. He's not gonna foul them up. I think they trust him. I think if you're talking about the other 3 teams, I think Duke would be 1.
Coles pauses for a second
"Gates, boy I think he's awful good, but you never know. I don't think he loafs at all, I just think he's smooth. But I think sometimes smooth for him might get him in a little trouble. I don't know the kid well besides saying 'Hi' and he's always pleasant, but you want him to be a little bit more 'Erggh' but I think he's got some of that in him. I'm not calling him out, and I think he's unselfish.
"I think they're close. I think they're close. I think they are a top 25 team now. If there's 24 teams at this point better than them, I'd like to see them. I think they are a tournament team. Sorry Mick, putting Mick on the hot seat again."
Coles on the mixed play of his freshman Quintin Rollins:
"I thought our guy, Quintin Rollins, played his best ball of the season the first 16 minutes of the game. But then Q became Q, which is a freshman. He forgot what jersey he was wearing. (Coles imitates a pass) 'Boom, ahhh, I thought we were wearing black tonight?' No, Q, I thought I told you before the game we were wearing white."
Later in the press conference the Miami SID called for Coles to wrap it up and he then answered a question about the job Mick Cronin
"Mick? Mick's such a good guy, we love him so much. Mick entertains us in the summers, our assistant coaches. That guy is one of the funniest guys in the world. And I don't want to put Mick on the spot, but I will say this. I think he feels like this is his best team he's had. And I do, too. But, God, you're in the Big East, though. Oh God, that's worse than having this coaching job. (Laughter). With the schedule we play, you know, we're 5-7 now. A guy comes in the other day..."
Coles looks at SID that told him to wrap up
"Hey, who is this guy? Does he work for us? I thought he did. Because I didn't recognize him at first when he said to wrap it up. We ain't wrapping this up until I wrap this up! I'm running this, I'm running this thing, you know that! Naw, I'm joking you know that."
Coles loses train of thought
"What was I going to say? I had a good point. You don't remember do you? (Someone reminds him about Big East) Oh! Yeah! The Big East, I thought they'd be down this year, oh God! This might be their best year. I haven't even seen Huggins. I've seen Villanova, UConn,
"Okay let's wrap it up (Laughter as Coles looks at SID) OK, haha, got you. Thank you so much, Merry Christmas guys."
No, Charlie, thank you.
--- The Bearcats are now one of only eight undefeated teams in the country. John Shurna's Northwestern team lost at St. John's last night. Nice win for the Johnnies. They needed it after some ugly results earlier in the season against the like of Fordham and St. Bonaventure.
--- College basketball is crazy. You just never know when you can go from the top of the world to the gutter. Tennessee has last three in a row since dominating Pitt in PIttsburgh.
--- Congrats go out to Louisville on winning the Beef O'Brady's Bowl. Beating Southern Miss with a Cajun Burger and fries on the line doesn't make a great season, but you have to give Charlie Strong some credit for what he did in one season with the Cards.
--- Mardy Gilyard hasn't caught a pass or returned a kick since Week 6 and was inactive last week. But, according to the Daytona Beach News Journal, he's still living the dream.
--- On to some randomness....
--- In her defense, finding the bathrooms in a grocery store can be like searching a cornfield maze.
--- I went to see Second City show Pride and Porkopolis last night at Playhouse in the Park. Great, great show. I've seen Second City in Chicago a few times and to see them breaking out joke after joke about his absurd city we live in was beyond a treat. The show was extended through the middle of January, so I highly recommend you check it out if you haven't.
--- The Denver Nuggets send out a holiday Christmas video where they provide their take on Christmas in Hollis -- a classic. The Nuggets version is not. (W/ cameo from Kenyon Martin)