Nov. 15, 2011
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CINCINNATI – Cashmere Wright (Savannah, Ga./Urban Christian Academy) scored 23 points, Dion Dixon (Chicago, Ill./Crane Technical Prep Common) added 20 and Justin Jackson (Cocoa Beach, Fla./ Arlington Country Day) grabbed a career-high nine rebounds as No. 20 University of Cincinnati defeated Jacksonville State University 73-59 Tuesday evening at Fifth Third Arena.
Cincinnati (2-0) shot 61.5 percent (8 for 13) from three-point range and 48.2 percent (27 for 56) overall while dishing out 20 assists.
After Dixon’s layup at the 18:25 mark of the second half increased UC’s lead to 27 points, Jacksonville State (1-3) fought to get back in the game. A three-pointer from JSU senior forward Stephen Hall with 1:52 left in the game cut UC’s lead to 10 points.
The junior point guard, Wright - whose 23 points were one short of his career high set Jan. 29 vs. West Virginia - assured UC would come out on top with four points in the closing moments of the game.
Dixon’s 20 points were three shy of his career best set Dec. 21, 2010 at Miami (Ohio) University. The senior guard added nine rebounds, which were one short of tying his career high last set vs. Vanderbilt University on Nov. 11, 2009.
The Bearcats went into halftime with a 44-21 advantage thanks in large part to their 7-for-8 shooting from three-point range and crisp ball movement as they distributed 12 assists on their 17 field goals, all while mostly facing a zone defense employed by Jacksonville State.
Overall, UC shot 56.7 percent from the field in the first half while limiting JSU to 31 percent. Additionally, the Bearcats held a 24 to 11 rebounding margin after the first period.
The Bearcats started the game with seven straight points to take control early and didn’t look back, maintaining the lead for the remainder of the evening.
Dixon led all scorers in the first with 16 points after nailing four three-pointers in five attempts. He also added four rebounds, two blocks and one steal in the first.
Jackson, who hauled in seven rebounds and two blocks in the first half, finished the game with nine boards, three assists, three blocks and two steals before fouling out after 29 minutes of action.
The final play of the first half capped off an efficient offensive output for Bearcats in the first 20 minutes. JSU sophomore guard Brian Williams’ layup attempt with six seconds left was blocked from behind by Dixon. The ball bounced toward senior forward Yancy Gates (Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow), who stormed down the right side of the court, made a behind the back dribble and calmly sank a three-pointer from the right elbow as the clock expired.
Gates, who scored 15 points with 11 rebounds in the season opener vs. Alabama State on Sunday, nearly earned his second double-double of the season after finishing with eight points and nine boards.
At the 8:03 mark of the first half, freshman guard Jermaine Sanders (Far Rockaway, N.Y./Rice High School) scored his first collegiate field goal, a 15-foot jumper from the left baseline off an inbounds pass, and finished the night with six points.
Cincinnati faces Presbyterian College on Saturday at Fifth Third Arena beginning at 4 p.m.