Jan. 14, 2012
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CINCINNATI - Four Bearcats scored in double figures and the University of Cincinnati men's basketball team withstood a big game from Villanova's Maalik Wayns to defeat the Wildcats 82-78 Saturday at Fifth Third Arena.
Wayns, a 6-foot-2 junior point guard, scored 39 points for Villanova (8-10, 1-5 BIG EAST), setting a record for most points scored by a UC opponent at Fifth Third Arena.
Cincinnati (14-4, 4-1 BIG EAST) combated Wayns' performance by committing a school-record low three turnovers and shooting 45 percent (9 for 20) from three-point range, led by senior guard Dion Dixon, who went 4 for 7 from deep and scored a team-high 22 points for the Bearcats.
Senior forward Yancy Gates nearly recorded a double-double after posting 16 points and nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick added 14 points and junior point guard Cashmere Wright totaled 11 points and five assists.
After Villanova shot lights out (64 percent) in the first half, the Bearcats turned up the defensive pressure and held the Wildcats to 28.1 percent in the second.
Wayns, Villanova's primary source of offense in the game's final 20 minutes, hit a three to start the second half that put VU ahead 48-40 before UC went on a 7-0 run to get to within one point at 48-47.
Each team went back and forth for most of the second half. After hitting two free throws with 10:36 left in the game, freshman guard Jeremiah Davis III gave UC its first lead, at 57-56, since the 3:44 mark of the first half when the Bearcats were ahead 37-36.
With the score tied 68-68, Cincinnati outscored Villanova 8-3 over a 2-minute, 51-second span to take a 76-71 lead with 2:10 left in the game.
In the final 28 seconds of the game, the Bearcats made 6 of 8 free throws to close out the Wildcats and improve their BIG EAST record to a school-best 4-1 start.
Villanova led 45-40 at the break thanks to hot shooting from Wayns (19 points) and junior guard Dominic Cheeks (16), while the Bearcats were led by Dixon's 17 first-half points.
The first half was a display of offensive firepower from both teams, as the two squads combined to make 17 3-pointers and shot 54 percent from the field.
Villanova started the game shooting 5 for 6 from the field, including 4 for 5 from three, and went on an 8-0 run within a 1:01 span to take a quick 16-6 lead at the 15:47 mark.
UC responded by outscoring Villanova 22-5 over a 4:04 span to take a 28-21 lead, orchestrated by Dixon's four treys during the run.
After Villanova came back to take a 30-26 lead, UC went on a 7-0 run that featured a spectacular full-court outlet pass from Gates to Dixon, leading to layup that put the Bearcats up 37-31.
But thanks to four Wildcats 3-pointers, Villanova ended the half by outscoring UC 14-3 in the final 4:14 to lead 45-40 at the break.
After starting the game 6 for 7 from behind the arc, UC went 1 for 5 to finish the half 7 for 12. Villanova combined to make 10 of 16 3-pointers in the first half.
Cincinnati has a two-game road trip next week, starting with a 7 p.m. Wednesday contest at No. 17/16 Connecticut, and ending with a 3 p.m. game on Saturday, Jan. 21, at West Virginia.