Bearcats Eliminated from Big East Tournament

March 12, 2008

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NEW YORK (AP) - Sam Young scored 21 points, matching Cincinnati guard Deonta Vaughn nearly shot for shot, and Pittsburgh held on to beat Cincinnati 70-64 on Wednesday night in the first round of the Big East tournament.

Ronald Ramon hit three 3-pointers late and finished with 12 points for seventh-seeded Pittsburgh (23-9), which advanced to play second-seeded Louisville on Thursday. Keith Benjamin added 15 points and Levance Fields had 10.

Vaughn finished with 30 points, and at one point scored 20 straight for 10th-seeded Cincinnati (13-18) over a more than 10-minute stretch in the second half. Even Pittsburgh fans rose from their seats when he kept hitting 3-pointers and circus-style layups late in the game.

Rashad Bishop added 11 points and Jamual Warren 10 for the Bearcats, who wrapped up their season with six straight losses.

The Panthers led 31-25 at halftime and never really got much breathing room, mostly because Vaughn wouldn't let it happen.

When Fields hit consecutive 3-pointers with just under 10 minutes to go, Vaughn answered with 3s of his own - four in a row, to be exact, the last one from the top of the key and well beyond the NBA 3-point line that made it 56-54 with 6:52 left.

Young answered with a couple of free throws, then a putback a couple of minutes later, helping to push the lead back to seven with 5:09 to go.

Vaughn's three-point play with 1:11 left made it 64-60, and his two free throws with 41.3 seconds remaining made it 67-64.

But after a Pittsburgh free throw, Vaughn drove the lane with just under 20 seconds left and had his shot swatted away by Young, who had four blocks and always seemed to come through when it mattered the most.