Bearcats Pull Away From Notre Dame, 93-83

Feb. 4, 2009

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CINCINNATI (AP)--Sophomore guard Larry Davis scored a career-high 21 points Wednesday night and led a second-half surge that swept Cincinnati to a 93-83 victory over fast-fading Notre Dame, stuck in its worst rut in 15 years.

Notre Dame (12-9, 3-7 Big East) has lost six in a row for the first time since the 1993-94 season, falling apart during the toughest regular-season stretch in school history. The previous five losses came against Top 25 teams-- the Fighting Irish had never played five straight games against ranked teams in the regular season.

Instead of giving them a respite, the Bearcats (15-8, 5-5) gave them more than they could handle, pulling away with a 27-9 run led by Davis early in the second half.

Luke Harangody had 28 points and 14 rebounds--his 11th consecutive double-double--for Notre Dame.

Deonta Vaughn steadied Cincinnati with a season-high 34 points, repeatedly finding open shots against a defense that applied very little pressure and ended up fouling to try to catch up. Vaughn went 19-of-22 on free throws, and Cincinnati scored 31 from the line overall as it racked up a season high in points.

Cincinnati is in the midst of a modest revival, winning five of its last seven games.

The lead changed hands on nine consecutive baskets or sets of free throws. There were three ties and a dozen lead changes in the half, with neither team up by more than five points.

Notre Dame is the conference's top 3-point shooting team, but missed its first four attempts from behind the arc against an extended man-to-man defense. Harangody also missed several point-blank shots, watching them roll off the rim.

Davis scored 13 points in the first nine minutes of the second half, helping Cincinnati pull out to a 66-52 lead. Davis, who had never scored more than 16 in a game, made three 3s, a pull-up jumper and a driving layup during the decisive spurt.

The Irish never got closer than 10 points the rest of the way. They finished 3-of-13 from behind the arc, their season low for 3-pointers made in a game.

It was the third time during their losing streak that the Irish have given up 93 points.

The game was played at a downtown arena instead of Cincinnati's campus. The Bearcats occasionally play at U.S. Bank Arena, where they also beat Mississippi State 75-63 on Dec. 18.

After playing Georgetown eight days ago, the Bearcats and Hoyas meet again on Saturday, Feb. 7, at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. Tip-off is scheduled for Noon on the BIG EAST Network, which will be carried in Cincinnati by Local 12 (WKRC).