Feb. 29, 2012
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CINCINNATI – Jaquon Parker scored a career-high 28 points, Dion Dixon added 21 and the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team capped off Senior Day by defeating No. 8/7 Marquette 72-61 Wednesday night at Fifth Third Arena.
Cincinnati (21-9, 11-6 BIG EAST) built a 19-point lead in the second half as the Bearcats defense suffocated Marquette (24-6, 13-4 BIG EAST) into 33.9 percent shooting and forced 17 Golden Eagle turnovers to avenge a 95-78 loss at MU on Feb. 11.
The win was UC's first victory over a top-10 team since it topped No. 10 UConn 71-69 on Dec. 30, 2009. The last time the Bearcats beat a top-8 team was on Feb. 22, 2003 vs. No. 8 Louisville. Both games were played at Fifth Third Arena.
The Bearcats converted those 17 turnovers in 14 points, held a 19-5 advantage in fast-break points and dominated the points-in-the-paint department, 42-24.
UC made 23 of 42 shots from 2-point range to offset a 4-for-24 performance from 3-point range.
Senior forward Yancy Gates tied his season high with 13 rebounds and scored six points despite playing just 23 minutes due to first-half foul trouble. Sophomore forward Justin Jackson came off the bench and recorded a career-high seven blocks in just 13 minutes of action.
Cincinnati took control of the game early, going up 19-11 when Dixon scored six quick points to spark a 12-2 Bearcats run that started at the 15:15 mark of the first half.
UC then closed out the first half on a 13-5 run, capped off by a buzzer-beating 3-pointer from Parker, who scored 16 first-half points, as the Bearcats went into halftime with a 42-26 lead.
The halftime advantage occurred despite just 3 minutes, 44 seconds of playing time from Gates, who after grabbing five quick boards, was called for his second foul at the 16:16 mark of the first half and did not return until the second period.
But Jackson ensured the UC interior would not miss a beat as the 6-foot-8 sophomore forward blocked six shots in the first stanza and grabbed four rebounds in 11 minutes.
Through the game’s first 20 minutes, the Bearcats forced a Marquette team that averages just 12.5 turnovers during BIG EAST play into 10 turnovers, which UC converted into 12 points.
While Marquette started 3-3 from the 3-point line, UC started just 1-14 from downtown before Parker swished a trey from the left baseline corner that fell through the goal as the first-half horn blared. UC combated its shooting woes from three by making 15 of 25 (60 percent) 2-point attempts in the first half.
Cincinnati concludes the regular season 2 p.m. Saturday when it plays at Villanova on ESPN.