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How Quinn is doing it

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Jeff Quinn isn't used to this. He can't be. Yes, he took over the Central Michigan interim coaching job in 2006 after Brian Kelly landed the UC spot, and Quinn guided the Chippewas to the Motor City Bowl. That's all well and good. But that can't be compared to the operation he inherited when Kelly left for Notre Dame.


This time, there's a little more on the line - a Sugar Bowl performance against Florida, one of the best teams in the country, in a BCS bowl game that will have plenty of more eyes than the Motor City Bowl - and this time, he doesn't simply have one job. Now, he jokes (but not really), he's got four jobs.


He's the interim coach at UC.


He's the offensive coordinator at UC.


He's the offensive line coach at UC.


And he's the head coach at Buffalo.


So, Jeff Quinn, how in the heck do you find enough hours in the day to take care of all four occupations?


"It's like today," Quinn said one evening last week. "I closed my office door for an hour, just to collect my thoughts. You have to have time to think before you speak and think before you act. I've tried to present it to our football team at Cincinnati that these are life's lessons. These situations do occur.


"'Competitive greatness' is a term that I live by. It excites me. It's how I am wired. This is what great leaders do."


On Sunday, Quinn took to the mic in front of the national media for a preweek news conference in New Orleans. No matter the question, he continued to fall back on a couple of themes - it's all about the kids, the players have to be locked in and focused, it's all about going 13-0, it's about overcoming adversity. It wasn't the most exciting presser in history, but Quinn got to say what he wanted.


But this question then arises. How are Quinn and his coaching staff able to focus when most of them are leaving UC after the Sugar Bowl? How can Quinn concentrate on the Bearcats when he knows he has to pack for Buffalo? And for that matter, why didn't he leave for Buffalo immediately when he got the job and leave the UC interim coaching duties to somebody else?


"It's a team game," he said. "I really felt when I was asked to be in the interim position, the most important thing I had to do was get back to our players. I'm an all-in guy. I can't change who I am. When they felt I was in the best position to lead this football team, I was honored to do that. The key is about these kids. I keep saying that. I don't want them to lose sight about that's why I came here. For me to step away from that opportunity to continue leading this football team, I wasn't going to do it and let anybody down. I wanted to be here and finish things off.  I'm following through with that."


No doubt that his soon-to-be former players appreciate that. Even if they know he's gone after Jan. 1. That's why they were happy for him when he told them that he had accepted the Buffalo job - certainly a different reaction than Kelly received when he informed them at the team banquet he was leaving for South Bend.


"Everybody clapped for him," sophomore Isaiah Pead said. "There were no sorrowful faces because he was upfront about it. He said, 'I'm going to tell you before you go home and see it on the Internet.'"


Still, at times, Quinn thinks about what awaits him in Buffalo. He can't help it, especially when a reporter is asking about what it means finally to have landed a head coaching job.


"It's my time," Quinn said. "It's an honor and a privilege to be selected as one of 120 head coaches in the entire country. That fraternity in itself is very special. I can't tell you how thankful I am. It's something you work for for 26 years. It's not what took you so long. It's about that it's my time."

How to keep their heads from spinning

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This is what UC interim coach Jeff Quinn has to accomplish in the next week or so: figure out how to keep the Bearcats focused amid the turmoil happening all around them.


Their head coach is gone to Notre Dame. Their interim coach already has taken the head coaching job at Buffalo but he, along with the rest of Brian Kelly's staff, is sticking with UC until after the Sugar Bowl. Their new coach Butch Jones is staying in the background until after the Jan. 1 game.


And oh yeah, they have to devise and execute a gameplan to beat one of the best teams in the country.  


It is, Quinn agreed a few days ago in a sit-down interview at Dave & Buster's, an absolutely crazy time.


"How many teams have lost a coach to Notre Dame, hires a coach from Central Michigan who followed us after we left Central and then came here, named me interim head coach at Cincinnati and then turned around and became the head coach at Buffalo," Quinn said. "OK? You couldn't even make that story up and say that was true and factual.


"I have four jobs currently - I have the head coaching job of my home, I have the head coaching interim job at Cincinnati, I hold the offensive coordinator duties here, and the head coaching job at Buffalo. I am drinking through a fire hose, as the old saying goes. But I'm still standing, baby. You just take it one step at a time. There's certainly not enough time in the day to get everything done and you can't get too far ahead of yourself."


Every Bearcats player I've talked to has said they haven't been distracted by the constant who's-coaching-ok-he's-leaving-but-oh-he's-staying-for-now. In fact, UC has responded in a different way - apparently, the Bearcats have been more focused than ever.


"It's not as difficult as you would think," senior linebacker Andre Revels said. "We still have the same staff, except for coach Kelly. It's not like we're getting a whole new group of people or we need to learn a whole new system. It's the same guys inside the locker room, the same guys who are putting the plan together upstairs and the same guys who are going to go out on the 1st and put forth the same effort.


Said sophomore running back Isaiah Pead: "It makes us focus on stuff we can control. With all the coaches leaving and the changes, you can't control it. All we can control is our preparation for this game and trying to come out with a win."


Much of the credit for that must go to Quinn and the rest of Kelly's staff. They've always talked about how to overcome adversity. Now, they're getting an even bigger lesson in how to deal with that hardship.


"We lost our head coach," Quinn said. "That was very difficult and emotional. Nobody wanted to see Brian Kelly leave, but it happened. In any situation, we have to talk to players about overcoming adversity. How are you going to handle adversity? We talk about it every day. There's going to be adversity in your life - every day, every game, every situation. How you handle that is going to be the key to keep this season going for a perfect 13-0. That's what I want to stay out there on."


Defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs credits the players.

"What is great about these kids - and this is the honest truth - they just show up for practice," he said. "They go to work. They go to meetings. They're doing everything exactly as you would want them to do. It's my first time through something like this and to watch how they're handling themselves on a day to day basis, it's really impressive to me."

UC-Winthrop Rock 'N Roll Party

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It seemed like Mick Cronin's postgame presser was set to wrap up and he seemed about to finish his thoughts on the UC 74-57 win against Winthrop. But then Cronin the coach became Cronin the inventor and Cronin the psychologist.


Suddenly, a relatively dull evening featuring a 17-point victory in which UC didn't play particularly well against an overmatched Big South conference opponent turned rather interesting.


Though I don't think anybody even asked whether his team didn't give as much effort in the second half as it did in the first, Cronin gave a lesson on what a modern-day college basketball coach has to endure.


"The worst thing fans say is it was a lack of effort," Cronin said. "The second half wasn't a lack of effort. It was lack of focus. We have some younger guys, some immature guys."


Then, somebody should have been on the phone with the U.S. Patent office.


"It'd be nice," Cronin continued, "if I could put shockers on guys. I know I can't use the dog collar. I'll get in trouble for that. If I could use an electronic wristband ... Today's generation is interesting - it's hard to get them to focus. It gets worse every year. Coaching now reminds me of when I was 19 in my first year coaching (high school) freshmen that had never played organized ball - to get guys to pay attention to detail to improve their own game. It's just a different world. The biggest challenge is that we're psychologists moreso than coaches. We have great kids. It's just the way it is. It's the change in the times."


Yancy Gates, who led both teams with 16 points to go with seven rebounds, basically agreed.


"We have the talent to play with anybody," he said. "When we're focused, we're just as good as anybody. Our weakness is a little immaturity. Those are things that can be corrected."


This, I guess, helps explain why, in the first half, UC shot 50 percent from the field, 72.7 percent from the foul line, outrebounded the Eagles 23-12, assisted 12 of the team's 15 field goals and turned the ball over seven times and then weren't quite as good in the final 20 minutes (in the second half, respectively, the Bearcats were 52.4 percent, 50 percent, a 17-16 rebounding advantage, assisted 6 of 11 field goals and had 11 turnovers).


"What you have to have is enough talent to overcome it at times," Cronin said. "We have a lot more of that this year."


Then, he continued.


"Yancy Gates decided to come to play tonight. Some other guys were maybe ready to go home tonight. We have to all come to play every night, and the sky is the limit for us. We can compete with anybody if we lock in and focus.


"I know how good UAB is. Our team doesn't. We might as well play Duke at Duke. Our guys will be ready for that. We played well in Hawaii, because they were on ESPN every night. The best thing to do is tell your players the other team is ranked."


--Ibrahima Thomas had a nice night, despite playing only 15 minutes because of foul trouble. He finished with 11 points and three rebounds, and Cronin called him solid. Thomas, when he entered the postgame presser, also demanded a French interpreter, so credit him with a sense of humor as well.


Said Winthrop coach Randy Peele: "Whew, he was very good. I knew his length was an issue but he stepped out and shot the ball. When he was away from the basket as the ball was reversed to him, he shot it way better than what I thought he could."


And that's OK with Cronin. As long as Thomas (1 of 4 from the 3) takes open shots from long distance.


"I thought he rushed the last one," Cronin said. "You should never take a challenged 22-footer. The problem is cable TV. In the NBA, they have a 24 second shot. Those guys have to take challenged shots all the time, because the clock is running down. You should only take a 22 foot shot - it doesn't matter if you're 5-10 or 6-10 - you should only be shooting if you're a good shooter. If somebody is closing out on you with high hands, you shouldn't shoot. But three of his four were wide open."


--Nice story here by on Deonta Vaughn's offensive struggles. Tonight, he hit all three of his 3-point attempts and finished with 11 points.


"He's worked hard at it," Cronin said. "What I liked in the first half was he didn't shoot the ball at all, because he wasn't open. If he'll get in the gym and keep working at it, and makes sure he takes good shots when he has balance with his footwork, he'll continue to make shots."

UC-Winthrop LIVE blog

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Live from 5/3

UC's starting lineup: Deonta Vaughn, Larry Davis, Ibrahima Tomas, Lance Stephenson, Steve Toyloy. To start on the bench: Yancy Gates, Cashmere Wright.

On the first possession of the game, Deonta Vaughn passes to Larry Davis, who promptly drops it out of bounds.

Andy Buechert with a nice little hook shot in the lane.

Don't have to worry about Thomas being non-aggressive. He's taken two 3s (missed both) and has gone to the rim twice and been fouled both times (3 of 4 from the FT). Then, he makes a layup off an inbound play.

Mantoris Robinson picks up his second foul with 17:19 to play.

UC 9, Winthrop 4 (15:50 to go)

Cashmere Wright and Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon in the game off the official timeout.

Dion Dixon gives up the ball in traffic to Reggie Middleton, who goes in for the layup. Mick immediately calls timeout and pulls Dixon from the game.

Buechert picks up his second foul with 14:21 to play after fouling Gates when he was making his layup.

Heck of a pass from Stephenson on a Gates dunk.

UC 19, Winthrop 11 (11:35 to go)

Gates is dominating with 10 points. UC has 14 points in the paint. Winthrop is shooting about 35 percent and 20 percent from the 3.

UC 26, Winthrop 14 (7:54 to go)

Winthrop having trouble getting the ball inbounds off timeouts against UC's press defense.

Darnell Wilks has to go high to get the alley-oop from Cashmere Wright. but he got there and slammed it home. That was pretty nice.

Winthrop now has two timeouts left for the game.

Liked the over-the-shoulder, no-look pass from Wright to Wilks. Forget a dance-off. Let's have an assist-off.

UC 33, Winthrop 21 (3:33 to go)

Dixon gets hammered while taking a long jumper. No call, but Dixon doesn't complain. Instead, he gets himself into position for an open layup and makes it.

Haven't seen Ibrahima Thomas for a little while. Oh, it's because he has two fouls.

Gates tries to get into the act with a fancy pass, but he turns it over.

Deonta Vaughn's line: 0 for 0 from the field. One rebound, one assists, two fouls.

24 of UC's 39 points have come in the paint.

UC is 50 percent from the field but 1 for 10 from the field. Gates has 14 points on 6 of 8 shooting. Bishop has six rebounds. Stephenson with four assists. Corbin from Winthrop has eight points.

UC 39, Winthrop 23 (half)

And Thomas finally hits that 3, the first one of the season.

Trainer Dave Fluker is looking at Larry Davis on the bench. Looks like a right arm or shoulder problem.

Deonta Vaughn with his first points of the game - a 3 - with 17 minutes to go.

UC 50, WInthrop 34 (15:18 to go)

Now, something is wrong with Rashad Bishop. Busy night for Fluker. Bishop is covering his head with a towel.

Larry Davis back in the game, BTW.

Not much newsworthy going on. Except that UC isn't playing all that well right now.

UC 54, Winthrop 43 (11:10 to go)

Another hook from Buechert has cut the lead to single digits with about 11 minutes to go.

A heck of a play by Stephenson who takes an outlet pass, gets fouled by Gamble and makes his layup while he was about to go underneath the actual backboard. And he made it look so easy.

Bishop is back in the game.

UC is shooting 55 percent from the floor but have 16 turnovers. Sloppy, sloppy.

UC 58, Winthrop 47 (7:43 to go)

Vaughn ends a slide of seven-straight missed shots by UC by nailing a 3 to go up by 13. Then, 44 seconds later, another three.

UC 65, Winthrop 49 (3:44 to go)

Dixon's three-point play gives UC a 20-point lead. And it's all over but the cryin'.

Gates finishes with 16 points and seven rebounds. Vaughn and Thomas with 11 a piece. Bishop has eight rebounds. Stephenson with five assists. UC shoots 51 percent from the floor and 31.6 percent from the 3. Winthrop shoots 37.5 and 18.2, respectively. Bearcats finish with 18 turnovers.

UC 74, Winthrop 57 (final) 

Three and Three

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Well, didn't take long for Mike Thomas to find his next head coach, and if you find success at one school, why not go back to the well one more time? This hiring happened fairly quickly, and that's a success for the administration. Thomas said he knew Butch Jones was the right man for the job the first time they met face to face, and though Houston's Kevin Sumlin declined an interview last week - really, a Conference USA coach didn't even want to talk to the No. 3 program in the country? - that matters not at all today. The Bearcats have their new coach, and if he's anything like the last coach they hired from Central Michigan, UC should be fine shape.
Three things UC fans should be excited about

1. The Central Michigan to UC pipeline: Mike Thomas has hit home runs in two of the three major-sports hires on which we can judge him. Brian Kelly obviously was a slam-dunk from the very beginning. Mick Cronin, after a rough first couple of seasons, has the team back in the top-25 and should finish in the top half of the Big East standings this season (Wednesday night's loss to UAB, notwithstanding). J. Kelley Hall and the women's basketball team didn't work out so well, but overall, Thomas has shown an ability to recognize coaching talent at the mid-major or low-major level. Thomas has gone once again to Central Michigan - I imagine the Chippewas fans feels the same way about UC as UC fans feel about Notre Dame, times 2 - but it worked so well the last time, why not give it a shot?

2. The offense remaining the same: The offense that was in place under the last staff accomplished two positives with the spread, no-huddle system: 1) It was very effective against teams who don't see those offenses every day in practice, and 2) it was fun for the fans to watch. It would have been a shame if Thomas had hired a defensive-minded coach like Temple's Al Golden, because all the excitement that had been built with a team that can score 40-plus points per game would have evaporated as soon as he coached the Bearcats to a 12-9 victory. This system also will be helpful to the offensive linemen. Since Kelly and his staff already had been stockpiling linemen who fit this system so well - thinner, more athletic players that can move in space and get off the line of scrimmage and run - Bearcats like Jason Kelce and Alex Hoffman shouldn't have to change their bodies (or their mindsets) very much at all.

3. No reason for the top Bearcats players to transfer: Not that many of them were going to leave anyway, because of the whole having-to-sit-out-a-season-as-penalty thing. But if you were worried about Zach Collaros having second thoughts about remaining a Bearcat, this should put that to rest. Same with Armon Binns and Isaiah Pead and the rest of the skill player recruits. If the offense remains the same, the players that were recruited to play in that offense should stay satisfied. Most of them, at least.

Three things Butch Jones should accomplish in the next year

1. Continue the local recruiting upswing: When it was clear Kerry Coombs was not heading to South Bend, Jones' first call should have been to the former associate head coach. It appears that was exactly the case. So, Jones is already off to a good, smart start. Coombs is one of the major reasons top local recruits have to consider UC. It was the right move to offer him the job. It was really the only move.

2. Keep the fanbase excited: I hate to keep harkening back to what Kelly did when he was here, but he provides the perfect example of how to get people pumped for Bearcats football - pumped enough to get them to buy season tickets and start donating more money, anyway. Jones might not have the same kind of charasmatic, politiciany-type personality that makes fans want to put down their prayerbooks and shout "Hallejuah" when he's finished with his sermons, but it falls to Jones to keep the fanbase enlivened. Perhaps Coombs can help with that, as well, because, as we all know, Coombs is fairly excitable.

3. Schedule Notre Dame: Brian Kelly talked about this in the Enquirer the other day, saying he wants to schedule the Bearcats in the future (though, I wonder if he'd be amenable to having a home-and-home series in South Bend and then at Paul Brown Stadium). Either way, schedule the game. This will be a prime opportunity for UC to show it's more than just Brian Kelly's program but also a program that can survive the loss of him.

Crosstown Shootout Rock 'N Roll Party

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I think Xavier coach Chris Mack said it best when he entered the postgame presser and said simply, "A shootout to remember."


Indeed it was. The double overtime, the play of UC freshman guard Lance Stephenson (22 points, six rebounds), the clutch shooting of Muskies guard Terrell Holloway (a career-high 26 points, 11 of 11 from the foul line), and, of course, the almost-fight.


So, what should we talk about? The fight, right?


"Just a little talking going on," said Rashad Bishop, who got into it with Xavier guard Jordan Crawford. "We got heated at some points in the game."


Um, yeah. Before the near brouhaha, UC was leading by seven points. By the time it was over, Xavier went into halftime with a 31-26 halftime lead.


"You have to walk away," Mick Cronin said. "You shouldn't be starting it, first of all. If you're not, you have to walk away. My guys lost their cool. We were concerned about everything but our execution."


But you talk about intensity, and yeah, this game had plenty of that.


"It was intense," confirmed Xavier guard Dante Jackson. "How many times did the official have to break us up? Both teams really wanted to win."

Said Crawford: "I don't think a fight was going to happen. They were trying to come in here and be the bullies. We wanted to be the bullies too. We were coming too, and that put them back on their heels."


In the end, though, it wasn't the near-fisticuffs that took place that cost UC the 83-79 loss. It was the fact the Bearcats offense didn't get into a flow, shooting 37.6 percent from the floor, 21.7 percent from the 3 and 45.5 percent from the foul line.


"We missed layups," Cronin said. "You can only play so much defense. You're only going to stop them so many times. Finishing at the rim has been a problem."


--Lance Stephenson made a statement on national TV by hitting 9 of 19 attempts and taking big-time shots with the game on the line. He also apparently made some statements to Mack during the game. Asked after the game what he thought about Stephenson's performance, a very tight-lipped Mack said, "He's a very good player."


Then, somebody asked him if Stephenson had said some words to him during the game, and Mack confirmed that account. When Stephenson came into the interview room, he said he didn't remember talking to Mack.


Stephenson and Holloway, who had been teammates and opponents while growing up in New York City, had a nice battle going, and during a huddle in the game, Holloway announced to Mack that he wanted to guard Stephenson. Holloway said it was a New York City thing.


"OK, I'm from Cincinnati," Mack said. "Guard him."


--Ibrahima Thomas, in his first game for the Bearcats, didn't have much of an impact (unless you count the fact he walked through the middle of a Xavier huddle that led to the bench-clearing scenario in the first half). He finished with two points on 1 of 6 shooting (0 for 2 from the 3) and blocked a shot in seven minutes.


"Obviously he wasn't in the flow tonight. We need to get him incorporated before Big East play starts," Cronin said. "That's something we've got to do. I didn't know what I was going to see. I see him in practice every day, and he makes shots and plays well. But when a guy hasn't played in a year, it's pretty tough to come out."

Crosstown Shootout LIVE blog

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Live from Cintas Center:

Starting lineup for UC: Wright, Vaughn, Stephenson, Bishop, Toyloy. No Yancy Gates.

Starting lineup for Xavier: Lyons, Holloway, Jackson, McLean, Love. No Jordan Crawford.

As little coverage as this game received this past week - and rightfully so - the atmosphere in here, as always for the Shootouts, is pretty damn strong.

Cashmere Wright, taking his first free throws in this game, is long with the first one and sinks the second. Dante Jackson buries a 3 for an answer. And he's answered by a 3 from Stephenson.

Jason Love blocks Toyloy on two consecutive layup attempts. Then when Toyloy with his second foul of the half with 17:33 to play. Gates comes in to relieve him.

Holloway picks up his second foul with 16:52 to play by tripping Vaughn. Jordan Crawford in to replace him. Well, I guess the officials are going to see who caused the foul. Looking at the replay. Never mind, the foul is on McLean, not Holloway.

Xavier builds a six-point lead, and hte crowd, is well, excited about that.

Jeez, Love just blocked Gates. He's got like four blocks in the first 4:15.

Xavier 10, UC 4 (15:45 to go)

This from Mo Egger's Twitter: "'Catholics always win' with pic of BK sign in the student section. Nicely done."

Ibrahima Thomas in for his first action with 15:18 to go. His first shot draws nothing but air. Then, he picks up a quick foul.

Gates and Thomas in the game together. Xavier has Kenny Frease and Love in there at the same time. Lot of big men in there right now.

UC inbounds with two seconds on the shot clock, and Mick tells Davis to shoot the ball. Instead, he catches and dribble and the shot clock goes off. Mick asks him why he didn't shoot.

UC is shooting 26.7 percent from the field. Xavier is at 36.4.

UC 12, Xavier 12 (11:01 to go)

Wilks, from the top of the key, gives UC a 15-12 with his second 3-pointer of the game.

Xavier students have now started a "Bri-an Kel-ly" chant.

Great ball movement from Stephenson and Wilks to get Gates an open 6-footer. Which he drains. Xavier, meanwhile, taking plenty of 3-pointers and missing them.

Jamel McLean picks up his second foul with 9:18 to go. He's out of the game.

Anthony McClain makes his first appearance with 8:17 to play.

Xavier has missed its last nine shots and have gone 8:24 without a field goal.

UC 17, Xavier 12 (7:56 to go)

Bishop and Crawford are ready to throw down after a hard foul by Wright on Dante Jackson. He's being pulled away, and Bishop briefly escapes and goes after Crawford again. Technicals are being doled out right now.

Bishop and Crawford are given double technical fouls.

With Jackson's FTs, it's the first points Xavier has scored in about 7 1/2 minutes. Thus, ends a 15-2 run for UC. After a Crawford layup, that ends a stretch of 9:32 without a Muskie FG.

Wilks, by the way, playing reall well so far. He's all over the court. 'Course, then he turns it over.

Holloway taking over this game. He's scored the last six points and is penetrating the paint.

This is freakin' nuts. We've basically got a bench-clearing situation.

After a turnover, Stephenson going in for the dunk, but Love fouls him hard enough to draw the intentional foul. From there, it just escalated and escalated and escalated. The officials are meeting with both coaches at mid-court.

Xavier 24, UC 21 (3:20 to go)

Pretty pass from Stephenson to Thomas, who jams it hard to tie the game 26-26.

Cashmere Wright continues to miss layups.

Stephenson puts up a shot off the side of the backboard and his next shot hits the underside of it.

Holloway has to be helped up from the court and slowly walks to the bench. That, folks, is the healing power of Xavier trainer Mike Mulcahey.

Everybody is watching carefully as the two teams cross the court to head to their respective locker rooms for halftime. No fights.

Xavier 31, UC 26 (half)

Halftime stats: UC is 28.6 from the field, 30 percent from the 3. Xavier is 40 and 30 percent, respectively. Stephenson leads UC with eight points. Gates with four rebounds. Holloway has 11 points for the Muskies and Love has 10 rebounds.

Toyloy and Bishop back in the game to start the second half.

Lyons hits a 3 on Xavier's first possesion for the eight-point lead.

Toyloy with his third foul 1:21 into the half. He's got about the same number of fouls as minutes played. Twelve seconds later, he picks up No. 4. Good-bye Steve. Hello Yancy.

Vaughn, with the layup, scores his first points in the past three halves.

Xavier 37, UC 31 (16:57 to go)

Gates and Frease apparently don't care for one another's company. Gates backs him down, bumps him out of the way, misses his shot and lays in the rebound.

Xavier 41, UC 35 (14:51 to go)

A big 3-pointer by Jordan Crawford gives the Muskies a 10-point lead.

UC, BTW, is 4 of 10 from the foul line.

With 13 minutes to go, UC's fouling puts Xavier in the bonus. Muskies are gonna be shooting a lot of FTs.

Xavier 45, UC 39 (11:40 to go)

Vaughn starting to heat up. A short baseline jumper and then a 3-pointer. Then a trey that goes in and out.

Toyloy is back in the game. Over-under on how long before he fouls out?

Cashmere Wright misses another layup.

Great defense by Bishop on Lyons, and then Stephenson nails a 3 to cut the lead to 2.

Xavier 51, UC 49 (7:42 to go)

Another long jumper by Stephenson ties the game. Wright's layup gives UC the lead.

Gotta say, UC's defense has been really good in the past few minutes.

UC 55, Xavier 51 (5:37 to go)

Gates misses two FTs. Gotta start making those.

Crawford with a heck of a shot to give Xavier the lead.

Xavier 57, UC 55 (3:08 to go)

Bishop drives the lane and makes a tough runner to tie it. Holloway with the layup, as Gates just misses the block. Vaughn misses the 3 and Bishop should have got the rebound, but Stephenson tips it away from him. Xavier ball.

Xavier 59, UC 57 (1:32 to go)

Jason Love loses the ball out of bounds

Xavier 59, UC 57 (1:15 to go)

Frease with the foul on Gates, which might be a good situation for Xavier. Considering the way UC has shot FTs. One and one for Gates. Makes both. Tie game 59-59.

Holloway with a mid-range jumper. He was guarded by a Vaughn. Frease created a screen, Vaughn went behind him and Holloway hit a 12-footer with 31 seconds to go.

Xavier 61, UC 59 (0:27 to go)

Who gets the final shot? Stephenson or Vaughn?

Stephenson blows right by Jackson for the finger roll to tie the game with 14 seconds left. Other end of the floor, Holloway's shot is off the mark. Jackson with the rebound and puts in the shot, a millisecond after the buzzer.

UC 61, Xavier 61 (overtime)

According to Michael Perry, this is the sixth OT in Shootout history. Xavier has won five of them. 1967 was UC's only win.

Cashmere Wright is not in the game. Vaughn is running the point.

Gates with the rebounded putback and Stephenson with the step-back jumper. On the other end, Love misses a short jumper and then a Xavier turnover. UC up by 4.

Lyons with a runner and then hits both FTs to tie the game at 65-65.

Gates with a crazy with two Muskies on him and he hits it. Then, he hits the deck trying to get a foul called on Frease. No call and Frease with the easy layup.

Bishop hits 1 of 2 FTs. 68-67 UC.

Crawford misses low-percentage jumper. Wow, Stephenson with the reverse layup. That was a stunning play to put UC up 70-67. He's got 22.

Crawford misses the 3, and Vaughn with a layup.

Holloway out of control, but Vaughn fouls him, which causes Mick to jump about 2 feet in the air. Hits both FTs to make it 72-69 UC.

UC 72, Xavier 69 (:51 to go)

A UC turnover, and Gates fouls him. Holloway with FTs with 27 seconds to play. Hits one and UC calls timeout.

UC 72, Xavier 70 (:27 to go)

Holloway hits the second to make it 72-71.

Dion Dixon's turn to try FTs with 25 seconds to go. Hits both. Up by 3.

So, why would Parker not just let Holloway either drive by him for the layup or foul him hard enough so he couldn't get up a shot? In fact, why is he even in the game? Holloway hits the FT for the 3-point play to tie it at 74-74 with 19 seconds to go.

Xavier with the press. UC breaks it, and Mick calls timeout.

UC 74, Xavier 74 (0:07 seconds to go)

Stephenson takes the step-back 3, but it's short off the rim. Putback fails. Buzzer.

UC 74, Xavier 74 (2nd OT)

No Crosstown Shootout has ever gone to double overtime.

Gates, guarded by Love, misses his shot, but Xavier knocks it out of bounds. Cashmere Wright is fouled by Crawford and hits one. 75-74 UC

Great defense by Gates on Love as he misses the shot. Vaughn with a tough layup to put UC up by 3. Holloway with a tough, tough shot, and he hits the jumper.

Gates with the layup to make it 3 points again. Stephenson fouls Crawford, and he makes on. 79-77 UC.

Gates with the travel. Love over Bishop to tie the game. Stephenson called for the offensive foul, and Mick is going berserk. Crawford with an inadvisable shot. Still tied at 79 with about 1:20 to go. Vaughn misses a layup, Toyloy with the rebound and Andrew Taylor with the foul. Toyloy gets two FTs. He misses both. X timeout.

UC 79, Xavier 79 (0:56 to go)

Great pass from a driving Holloway to Love, who lays it in.

Xavier 81, UC 79 (:35 to go)

Stephenson dishes to Dixon, who is short with the 3-pointer. Xavier rebounds. Jackson will shoot 2 FTs. He hits one. Xavier up 82-79.

Vaughn misses the layup, Gates with the foul. Game just about over. Love with two FTs. First bounces off the back of the rim and goes in. Second is no good. Doesn't matter. Shot is missed and game is over.

Xavier 83, UC 79 (final)

UC-Miami Rock 'N Roll Party

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Let's talk about Charlie Coles for a minute. Let's talk about how funny he is in the postgame pressers. Let's talk about how amusing he is, even after his Miami squad fell 63-59 to No. 19 Cincinnati.


Mick Cronin knows it. After Coles left the podium to plenty of laughter from the assembled media, Cronin entered the room and said he wasn't going to try to compete with Coles in the arena of news conference delightfulness. He knew Coles would dominate him.


Here's Coles talking about Miami's 64-42 loss to Temple on Tuesday.


"Temple just took us apart. I'm going to write a $50 check out to Miami. I know it cost more than that, but just say, 'This is for last Tuesday. I really wasn't at the game. I'm sorry I missed the game. I get paid for working. Here's $50."


And then some sneaky former TV guy who was sitting next to me (not Dan Hoard) said to me, "Watch this," and proceeded to ask Coles if he'd ever played against a UC team that only had committed 10 fouls on his RedHawks. Then, he nudged me in the ribs.


Said Coles as he eyed on the box score: "Well, let's see. Let's look at the free throws. They shot 32. We shot 3. I'll play along with you. No, I've never played against a UC team that was as timid as this one was. Let's leave it at that."


He was certainly the highlight of the night, and it's why Coles should be a national treasure.


--The Bearcats full-court press definitely hurt Miami, which committed 14 turnovers.


"The first half, we were a little passive," said Miami guard Kenny Hayes, who led both teams with 19 points on 7 of 13 shooting. "We were a little timid instead of just blowing straight past it. When you went past them, the zone was kind of soft. If you took care of the ball, you'd be OK. The second half, we did a pretty good job in the press-break and got some easy looks at the basket."


The only problem with the press was that UC didn't capitalize on the turnovers it caused. Despite the eight steals - including three from Lance Stephenson, who led the Bearcats with 17 points and eight rebounds - the Bearcats only managed 13 points off turnovers (the same total as the RedHawks) and eight fast-break points (compared to six from Miami).


"We didn't give up layups, we only gave up one basket off our press, and we were able to wear them down a little bit," Cronin said. "We got some key steals, but we didn't convert layups. Cash and Dion had some layups they didn't convert."


Speaking of Cashmere Wright, he played well down the stretch despite not starting for the first time this season. He finished with 12 points on 4 of 8 shooting.


"I just came in and did whatever the defense gave me and played with that," Wright said. "They let me go to the hole. I kept making shots, and they kept giving it to me. It really doesn't matter who starts. At the end of the day if we win, it doesn't matter."


--Cronin said Lance Stephenson took an elbow to the eye and that he needed two stitches after the game. He expects Stephenson to play vs. Xavier on Sunday.


Said Miami forward Nick Winbush: "Lance Stephenson and Cashmere are two really good players. They might be freshmen, but they don't play like freshmen. We had a big emphasis on guarding them. I didn't think they necessarily killed us. Some other stuff killed us. I mean, yeah, they kind of killed us. They're two really good players.

The band is playing Three Dog Nights "Joy to the World." I would imagine that doesn't reflect the mood of many people inside U.S. Bank Arena tonight.

Well, we're up in the hockey press box area. It will not be easy seeing much of anything here tonight. I'd say 75 percent of the people in this place have better seats than we do.

Starting lineup for UC: Vaughn, Bishop, Stephenson, Toyloy, Jaquon Parker.

About 90 seconds in, Dion Dixon, Cashmere Wright and Darnell Wilks are in the game. They replace Parker, Stephenson, and Bishop.

Man, Stephenson and Dixon really working the glass so far.

UC 4, Miami 2 (15:43 to go)

Tough start for Yancy Gates. He misses two free throws and then he doinks a layup. His teammates aren't shooting much better.

UC playing a little full-court pressure. It's already resulted in two Miami turnovers. Make that three. And make that four.

Brian Kelly's picture just popped up on the scoreboard. Some people booed.

Two nice three-point plays from Stephenson. Really athletic moves.

UC on a 9-0 run.

Miami is shooting 25 percent from the field. UC is at 41.7 percent.

UC 13, Miami 6 (11:42 to go)

The wireless keeps going in and out. Oh, U.S. Bank Arena, how I love thee.

Methinks the game is going to be a grind.

UC 17, Miami 15 (7:49 to go)

Stephenson continues to impress. He missed a jumper, followed it, got the rebound, and made a sweet dish to Toyloy, who laid it in and drew the foul. Three-point play.

Mick is yelling at Cashmere Wright about something, but he's about 50 yards away from me. So I don't know what he's upset about.

UC's defense is playing well. Miami has run up against the shot clock about three times so far.

Stephenson leads all scorers with 10 points and four rebounds.

UC 22, Miami 18 (3:54 to go)

UC is 0 for 7 from the 3.

With the clock runningn down, Ballard drives the lane and attempts a runner that would give Miami the first lead since 7-4. It bounces off the rim.

UC is shooting 33.3 percent from the field. 0 percent from the 3. Miami is also shooting 33 percent. Both teams are 9 for 27. Both teams have seven turnovers. Both teams are not particularly exciting to watch. 

UC 24, Miami 23 (half)

Wright opens the half with UC's first 3-pointer of the game.

Somehow, Rodney Haddix picks up his fourth foul with 18:48 to go. Naturally, he heads to the bench.

UC 34, Miami 28 (15:54 to go)

Geez, that's at least three air-balls for Miami. And a couple missed layups.

Deonta Vaughn has taken one shot so far. He missed it.

UC 43, Miami 35 (10:52 to go)

Miami is starting to hit its 3s.

UC 46, Miami 43 (7:34 to go)

One of the Bearcats is hurt, but I can't see who it is. We're awfully high up here in the stands.

UC 51, Miami 47 (3:32 to go)

Cashmere Wright has really done a nice job the last few minutes of put the Bearcats on his back. Also Parker hits a mid-range jumper to give UC an eight-point lead.

I guess Stephenson was the one who was hurt. They just showed him on the scoreboard with a bandage over his eye.

Don't have any stats for you. The monitors have been off and on all night.

UC 63, Miami 59 (final)



A BK timeline (via @Twitter)

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Basketball game starts in 35 minutes, so real quickly, here's what I wrote about on my Twitter account today (You really should be following me, BTW).

(5 hours ago) FYI, the football banquet that was open to the media is now closed. Some 1 on 1 availability from 5-6 p.m. But no filming and no admittance. (This was when I figured that this was the beginning of the end).

(4 hours ago) #Bearcats fans thoughts: Brian Kelly (two weeks ago) = the greatest man ever. Brian Kelly (today) = scum of the earth.

(4 hours ago)
Food for thought. @iPead writes "Damn Bryan... say it ain't so dogg." Maybe he's talking about a Bryan who spells his name w/ a 'Y.'

(3 hours ago)
From the South Bend Trib: "ND athletic dpt employees have been put on notice that 'casual Friday' has been canceled. Bus. attire required."

(3 hours ago)
Tony pike: no players meeting today. We know what you guys know. He told us we would be the first to know.

(3 hours ago)
Tony pike: mood of the team is anxious. We want to find something out.

(3 hours ago)
Pike: we feel he has been honest with us. Dont think he would go behind our back.

(2 hours ago)
John goebel says he expects kelly here tonight. Saw him today at Uc.

(2 hours ago)
Kelly enters. "no word. We are here to celebrate our seniors."

(2 hours ago)
Brad jones: you cant blame him. Its a tremendous amount of money.