Jan. 23, 2012
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CINCINNATI – Cashmere Wright scored a game-high 17 points, but it was not enough as the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team fell to No. 3/4 Syracuse 60-53 before a sold-out crowd of 13,176 on ESPN’s Big Monday.
While Cincinnati (15-6, 5-3 BIG EAST) held Syracuse (21-1, 8-1 BIG EAST) to nearly 19 points below its season average, the Orange shot 46.4 percent from the field and got most of their points in the paint.
Senior forward Yancy Gates recorded his 20th career double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds and moved up to 21st place on UC’s all-time scoring list, surpassing former 2000 College Player of the Year, Kenyon Martin.
Similar to the first half, the Bearcats went on a quick run to regain the lead to start the second half, spearheaded by five points from Wright and four from Gates.
A Sean Kilpatrick 3-pointer from the right baseline gave the Bearcats a 41-38 lead at the 11:51 mark.
Syracuse went on an 8-0 run, which featured the Orange’s first two triples of the game, and took a 48-42 lead with 8:01 left in the second half.
Syracuse’s Scoop Jardine’s 3-pointer with 1:11 left in the second half to push SU’s lead to 59-48 made UC’s deficit too large to overcome.
The Orange overcame hot 3-point shooting by the Bearcats by ending the half on a 9-2 run to go into the break leading 28-25. The run was sparked by five quick points from Orange guard Kris Joseph and capped off by Dion Waiter’s runner just before the clock expired.
Against Syracuse’s vaunted zone defense, Cincinnati shot 5 for 11 from downtown in the first half, led by Wright’s 3-for-3 effort.
UC wasted little time showcasing its shooting touch, as the Bearcats started the game by connecting on 4 of its first 5 attempts from behind the arc to take an early 15-6 lead.
Syracuse responded with nine consecutive points to tie the score 15-15 at the 12:11 mark.
Cincinnati’s offense began to cool down midway through the first half as the Bearcats went on a 4-minute, 54-second span without a field goal and ended the period committing nine turnovers. Free-throw shooting was also an issue for the Bearcats after making just 2 for 6 from the free-throw line in the first stanza.
The drought ended when Dion Dixon hit a 3-pointer from the left wing that put UC ahead 23-19 with 3:58 left in the first.
Cincinnati will travel to Piscataway, N.J. to take on Rutgers on Saturday at 6 p.m. The game will be televised live on the BIG EAST Network and locally on FOX Sports Ohio.