No. 23 Panthers Edge Bearcats, 74-71|
Jan. 4, 2010
CINCINNATI - The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team saw a second-half rally come up short as the Bearcats fell to No. 23 Pittsburgh, 74-71, in BIG EAST Conference action Monday evening at Fifth Third Arena.
UC (10-4, 2-1 BIG EAST), who lost its first game at home during the 2009-10 campaign, battled back from a six-point deficit, trailing Pitt (13-2, 3-0 BIG EAST) 70-64, with 26 seconds remaining.
Yancy Gates set a career best with 14 rebounds. He closed out his third double-double of the season with 16 points. Lance Stephenson dropped in 15 points, the ninth time the freshman has found double figures in his rookie season.
Deonta Vaughn, who scored seven of his team-high 17 points in the final 20 seconds of the game, sent home a layup and the and-one free throw to halve the margin, 70-67, with19 ticks left on the clock. Pitt's Jermaine Dixon split a pair of free throws to make the lead four, 71-67, with 16 seconds remaining.
After Vaughn put home another layup to pull within two, 71-69, Ashton Gibbs put Pitt up four, 73-69, with seven seconds left. Vaughn scored another layup to bring UC within two at 73-71 with three seconds remaining.
Gibbs split a pair of free throws and Pitt called a timeout to set the defense with three seconds remaining, leading 74-71. UC inbounded and Larry Davis heaved a last-second effort from halfcourt that came up short, handing the Panthers a three-point win.
Gibbs led all players with 19 points. He was 4-of-6 from the field and 10-for-11 from the charity stripe. Gilbert Brown (17) and Jermaine Dixon (10) also found double figures.
Pitt finished 20-of-27 from the free-throw line, outpacing UC's 8-for-11 effort. The Bearcats shot nearly 50 percent from the field (30-for-61/.492), but were only 3-for-12 (.250) from behind the three-point line. The Panthers shot at a 49.0-percent clip (25-for-51), and were 4-of-7 (.571) from behind the line.
UC opened the second half on an 8-2 run, tied things up at 40 with 16:41 left.
A Darnell Wilks three-pointer with 10:58 left capped a 14-11 UC run over 5:43 to give UC a 52-51 lead, the first time the Bearcats had led since the 15:10 mark of the first half. Pitt responded with a 7-4 run over the next three-plus minutes to regain a two-point cushion, 58-56, with 7:24 to go.
The teams traded buckets over the next four minutes, setting up the last-minute flurry of action.
UC trailed 38-32 at the break, despite shooting 51-percent (15-of-29) from the field in the first half. Stephenson and Gates led the way, scoring 25 of UC’s 32 points in the opening stanza. Gates also added a game-high nine boards in the first half.
UC opened the game up on an 11-4 run, taking a seven-point advantage and forcing Pitt to burn a timeout with 16:03 left in the half. Stephenson and Gates combined for the team’s first 11 points, combining to go 5-for-6 from the floor.
A 9-0 Panthers’ run over the next 2:20 swung the margin to a 13-11 Pittsburgh lead. The teams traded the lead over the next eight minutes and a fastbreak layup by Stephenson tied things up for the sixth time at 23-23 with 5:31 left in the half.
Pitt closed the half on a 15-9 run to take a 38-32 advantage into the locker room. Pitt’s Ashton Gibbs turned in a 14-point first-half performance.
UC wraps up a two-game homestand Wednesday, welcoming non-league foe Cal-State Bakersfield to Fifth Third Arena for a 7:30 p.m. EST tipoff. The game will be televised on FOX Sports Ohio by the BIG EAST Network. Tickets are available by calling 1-877-CATS-TIX or visiting CATSTIX.com.