Cincinnati Upsets No. 2 Syracuse 71-68 to Advance to Final

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Cashmere Wright

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Cashmere Wright
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Men's Basketball |

March 9, 2012

Box Score |  Quotes |  Notes |  Photo Gallery  | Game Recap Video | Bearcats' Three-Pointers Video | Cronin Interview Video | Kilpatrick Interview Video
Cincinnati Tournament Central

NEW YORK (AP) - Cincinnati didn't spend much time celebrating its biggest win of the season. That's because the Bearcats have one more game to go for their first BIG EAST title.

Minutes after shooting their way to a 17-point lead and then holding on to beat No. 2 Syracuse 71-68 on Friday night and advance to their first BIG EAST championship game, the Bearcats were already thinking about what could be.

"I walked in the locker room and the guys had written 'We need to win one more' on the board. I didn't even have to write it," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said.




"I walked in the locker room and the guys had written `We need to win one more' on the board. I didn't even have to write it,"
Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin


The fourth-seeded Bearcats (24-9) will meet seventh-seeded Louisville in Saturday night's championship game at Madison Square Garden. The Cardinals beat third-seeded and 23rd-ranked Notre Dame 64-50.

To get there, they ended the 11-game winning streak of the top-seeded Orange (31-2). They did it with an incredible shooting performance over the opening 14 minutes of the game, when they took a 17-point lead, and then by holding on as Syracuse was able to get within one point in the final seconds.

"It's a huge win for our program," Cronin said. "I think what you've got to realize in college basketball is you've got to allow teams the course of the season, some teams get better."

Now a program that made headlines early in the season for a tussle against intra-city rival Xavier and losing at home to Presbyterian, has its seventh win over a ranked team this season, the most in the country.

Justin Jackson

"No, not at first, but as the season went on, yeah," forward Yancy Gates said of thinking about playing for the conference title.

Gates and Sean Kilpatrick both had 18 points for Cincinnati, which rebounded from one of its worst 3-point efforts in the quarterfinals against Georgetown with one of its best against Syracuse.

"Over the course of the entire season, we lead the BIG EAST in 3-point point field goals made. We've made more 3s than anybody in the BIG EAST," Cronin said. "We're standing there wide open. Last night, we were 2 for 21. We shot seven that went in and out. We've got guys that can make shots, so law of averages catches up."

Dion Waiters had 28 points for Syracuse, which was able to close within 69-68 with 5.4 seconds left when he made two free throws - and the second one he was trying to miss. Justin Jackson was all alone when he dunked with 1 second left for a three-point lead, and Waiters' desperation heave from beyond midcourt was off at the buzzer.

The loss shouldn't hurt the Orange's chances of being a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament, but it did keep them from getting a chance to play for a sixth BIG EAST title and first since 2006.

"Cincinnati moved the ball better than we did. They got some real good looks. They made eight 3s in the first half, and we didn't get anything going offensively in the first half. I was shocked that we were within 12," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said. "We just couldn't get anything going. We'd get close a couple times.

"And then late, Dion made a couple really difficult 3s, and we got it to two and we had an opportunity, and we just couldn't make a play there. We wanted Dion to try to miss the second one, but he's such a good shooter, he couldn't do that."

Cashmere Wright and Dion Dixon both had 11 for the Bearcats, who came into the BIG EAST tournament with their at-large NCAA berth still up for debate. That's no longer true with the double-overtime quarterfinal win over No. 13 Georgetown and the victory over Syracuse in their first-ever semifinal appearance.

The Bearcats shredded Syracuse's famed 2-3 zone from the start, making six of their first seven 3-point attempts. They made eight of their first 10 shots from beyond the arc in taking a 34-17 lead with 5:43 left in the first half, with Kilpatrick going 4 of 4. That was one point shy of Syracuse's biggest deficit this season, and that came at Notre Dame in its only loss. It was only the third time this season the Orange trailed by double figures.

The sellout crowd of 20,057, which was wearing a lot of orange, was stunned as Syracuse shot 31 percent in the first half (9 of 29), while the Bearcats went 13 of 26 and had an assist on all but one of the field goals. A modest 6-1 run to close the half had Syracuse within 35-23.

The crowd came alive as the Orange chipped away at the lead. They became the team with the touch from 3-point range, shooting 9 of 17 in the second half while Cincinnati missed its first six 3s. Kilpatrick made the Bearcats' only 3s of the second half in nine attempts, the second from the left corner as the shot clock ran out that made it 65-55 with 1:47 to play.

Yancy Gates and Dion Dixon


"Cashmere just told me to stay in the corner, and then Coach was telling me to go to the corner because Kris Joseph, he was going to come up and play Cash because Cash was hot, as well, throughout the game," Kilpatrick said "Once he played Cash, I was just wide open, so it was a good thing that Cash caught me."

The Orange, though, weren't done.

Scoop Jardine, Kris Joseph and Waiters all made a 3 in the final 37 seconds. Waiters' 3 made it 68-66 with 17 seconds to play.

Jaquon Parker made one of two free throws with 15.6 seconds left. Waiters was fouled before he could get off a possible tying 3-pointer. He made the first and when the second went through the net, he turned to the Syracuse bench with slumped shoulders as he apparently tried to miss it to give the Orange one last chance.

"No matter who you're playing, the top half of our league, the game is never over," Cronin said. "It's human nature to flinch a little bit when they come. Obviously it's like a home game for them, which makes the win even sweeter for us. But we hesitated for a little bit and didn't attack their pressure. Once we started attacking their pressure, we were able to get it back to a 10-point lead.

"I kept telling the guys in the timeouts, this is going to be a crazy ending and we're going to win by more than 10 because we got to break the press. I have seen them play. When they get behind, they're going to come. They're not going to sit back in that zone. They're going to come. So we did a pretty good job after our initial hesitation of attacking their pressure."

It was the second straight year Syracuse lost in the semifinals. Connecticut beat the Orange 76-71 in overtime last season on its way to the tournament title.

"We've won 31 games, and we've proven what we can do and we've got to get back and we have to play a little better from the beginning," Boeheim said. "Most national championships, not all, but a lot of them, have been won by teams that lose in their conference tournament, including us. So as much as we want to win this tournament, the tournament that starts next week is the only one that matters. Nothing else matters anymore in college basketball."


 

 

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Gunner Kiel impresses at UC football's spring game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Youthful UC can make its own history next season

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's defense makes statement in latest scrimmage

    FanIQ.com

    Remember Gunner Kiel? He's Ready to Dominate

    SportsIllustrated.com

    Hank Hughes Q&A

    New York Times

    Growing as a Player, Beaming as a Father

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    NCAA Tournament is 'Cincinnati vs. the world'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Kiel comes out strong in Bearcats' spring scrimmage

    Sporting News

    2013-14 Men's Basketball All-Americans

    Fox Sports

    Cincinnati made me a believer

    CBS Sports.com

    Former redshirt Sean Kilpatrick finishing out historic career

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Q&A with UC AD Mike Bohn

    ESPN

    Brennan's Wooden Watch: Week 14

    MLSSoccer.com

    Fit and healthy, Omar Cummings offering a new dynamic up top for Houston Dynamo

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Men's soccer signee Clark named Gatorade Ohio player of the year

    ESPN

    Munchie Legaux and Shaq Washington gain extra year

    Denver Post

    Mike Bohn eager to point Cincinnati Bearcats in right direction as AD

    The Washington Post

    No. 7 Bearcats have highest ranking in 10 years

    Yahoo! Sports

    How Sean Kilpatrick willed UC past Louisville and back into the nation's consciousness

    SI.com

    Cincinnati takes over AAC with win at Louisville

    ESPN.com

    Tough Bearcats don't get rattled

    ESPN.com

    UC staves off Temple to stay perfect in AAC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC looks to 15-year sports admin vet Reed-Francois for interim AD

    CBS Sports

    No. 15 Cincinnati stomps UCF, wins 11th straight

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats take down USF 61-54, win 10th straight

    USA Today

    Why Cincinnati is not a team to sleep on

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Short-handed Bearcats cautious about ranking

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's goal: win them all at home

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Cronin: Not easy, but Cats got through fatigue

    The News Record

    What you missed in UC sports during break

    FB Schedules

    Boise State, Cincinnati Schedules 2019, 20 Home-and-Home Series

    Forbes

    The Best and Worst College Football Teams for the Money

    USA Today

    Report: Colleges doing poorly at hiring women coaches

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Randolph named AAC Player of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC women's basketball knocks off Ohio State

    Bleacher Report

    Belk Bowl 2013: Cincinnati-North Carolina

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Belk Bowl: UC vs. UNC

    ESPN

    Belk Bowl Breakdown

    BelkBowl.com

    The Showdown is Set

    ESPN

    Cards, Bearcats set for defensive battle

    CBS Sports

    Louisville-Cincinnati Preview

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thursday is UC's fight for perception

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Don't let UC's next opponent fool you

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC jumps to No. 23 in USA Today football poll

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats break into USA Today Top 25

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    McKay turns in monster game against Rutgers

    ESPN

    Kay throws for 408 yards, 4 TDs as Cincinnati routs Rutgers

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats won't lessen the pressure

    News & Record

    Pressure takes toll on NC State against Cincinnati

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats face variety of bowl scenarios

    The News Record

    UC weary of SMU's aerial attack ahead of AAC clash

    Bleacher Report

    Best College Football Moments in Cincinnati History

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Mark Barr returns to UC, gets ovation

    HoustonDynamo.com

    After frustrating year, Omar Cummings puts Houston Dynamo on his back with clutch playoff goal

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's Shaq Thomas 'our version of Herb Jones'

    USA Today

    Cincinnati holds off Memphis for third straight

    ESPN

    Cincinnati's Mark Barr out of hospital

    TopDrawer Soccer

    Furman and Cincinnati men go nose-for-nose in College Goal of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Green seizing his moment for the Bearcats

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermaine Lawrence is new breed of forward

    UC Magazine

    Hostility to Hope: Feature on Men's Soccer Player John Manga

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermiah Davis III fights to be remembered

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Justin Jackson goes from energizer to example

    The News Record

    Cronin excited for new group

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC Bearcats' Sean Kilpatrick: 'It's the season now'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats basketball will have fresh look

    The News Record

    UC Looks to RetainVictory Bell for Eighth Consecutive Season

    Miami Herald

    Kay Ready to Lead Bearcats into Rivalry Game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Former Bearcat Thompkins making most of shot in NFL

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    New practice setup could benefit UC basketball

    ESPN.com

    Munchie Legaux out for season

    ESPN.com

    Cincinnati Rolls Past Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats defense puts up dominant effort

    American Athletic Conference

    2013 Team Previews: Cincinnati Bearcats

    Sports Illustrated

    Bowl projections: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl

    Cincinnati Business Courier

    Bearcats sell out football opener against Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Depth at defensive line still strong for Bearcats

    Bleacher Report

    Cincinnati Bearcats Football 2013 Team Preview

    UC Voted 2nd

    Coach Tuberville and his players discuss their reactions to being voted to finish 2nd in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference

    QB Timetable

    Coach Tuberville discusses his timetable to choose a starting QB with The Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thompkins at Patriots' Training Camp

    Former UC wide receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins, impressed many at Patriots' training camp 

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas 

    Nippert Renovation Plan

    The Cincinnati Enquirer looks at the Nippert Stadium Project

    Cincinnati football's 'Crocodile Dundee'

    A former professional rugby player from Australia joins the Bearcat football team

    2013 Preseason 'Watch List' 

    Several Cincinnati Bearcats make 2013 national 'watch list'

    Sports Insider Today

    Young Cincinnati Team Looks to Improve in 2013 Amidst New Conference Setting

    ESPN Blog

    Cincinnati to play Pitt in December

    GoBEARCATS.com

    Former Bearcat Herman Qualifies for U.S. Open

    USA Today

    BearcatsTV Gets National Attention from USA Today's For the Win

    SportingNews.com

    Cincinnati Bearcats Baseball Earns Top Honors in Videobombing

    The Washington Post

    Cincinnati Bearcats Do the Best Postgame Interviews

    Fox Sports

    Bearcats Rock Postgame Interviews

    Philly.com

    Cincinnati Bearcats Revolutionize the Post Game Interview

    YardBarker

    You'll love this Cincinnati Bearcats Post Game Funny Business Compilation

    Philly.com

    Those guys having all the fun: An oral history of the Cincinnati baseball team's videobombs

    MSN Now

    This college baseball team wins the 'best interview' award

    ESPN.com

    Winn, Cincinnati run over Pittsburgh

    Cincinnati.com Bearcats Blog

    Cincinnati looks to sophomore RB Ralph Abernathy to increase production