Balanced Bearcats Turn Back Fairfield, 69-64|
Nov. 24, 2007
CINCINNATI---A 10-0 run midway through the second half and a balanced scoring attack helped Cincinnati pick up its third win of the year, a 69-64 decision over Fairfield on Saturday afternoon at Fifth Third Arena. The spurt, which occurred over a four-plus minute span, allowed the Bearcats to turn a one-point cushion into a double digit lead that would stay in place until the final minute of the game.
Freshman Rashad Bishop tied his career-high with 12 points, but it was a trio of bench players that sparked the win for Cincinnati (3-2). Marcus Sikes, with just nine points to his credit in the first four games, chipped in 11 in the win. High-flying Darnell Wilks added six in his most extensive action of the year (17 minutes), while fellow frosh Larry Davis knocked down a pair of threes for six points of his own. UC's scoring leader, Deonta Vaughn, made just 3-of-10 from the floor, but canned 4-of-5 from the free throw line, scoring 11 points, while adding six assists.
Jonathan Han led Fairfield (2-3) with 20 points, connecting on 5-of-10 shots from the floor, including 4-of-8 from behind the arc. Anthony Johnson chipped in 12 points, along with a game-high 11 rebounds. The 6-8 sophomore helped Fairfield to a 40-28 edge on the glass, including a 17-6 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Cincinnati got off to a fast start with Wilks soaring high for an alley-oop pass from Vaughn and dunking it home to put UC up 19-11 with 8:27 to play. Fairfield answered with four straight points, the last on a dunk by Johnson to trim the lead to four, but Cincinnati countered with eight consecutive points, six by Sikes, to reestablish a 12-point lead with just over two and a half minutes to play. The Bearcats took the same 12-point advantage into the locker room as Bishop knocked down a jumper as tied expired in the first half.
Fairfield started the second half strong, scoring 12 of the first 15 points in a five-minute span to claw within three at 35-32. Han did most of the damage, scoring seven of the Stags' count during the spurt. A three-point play by Vaughn, a tip-in by Bishop and a Sikes bucket put UC back up comfortably, but a trio of Fairfield threes fell to bring the Stags back within a point.
That set the stage for the Bearcats back-breaking run, which was keyed by trio of Hrycaniuk, Davis and Williamson entering the game. Davis and Vaughn each hit a three to get the spurt going and the run was punctuated by a fast-break dunk by Williamson. In the final five minutes, UC's lead would leave double digits only once when Han dropped in his third three of the day. Bishop answered with a triple of his own to put the hosts back up 10. Down the stretch, Fairfield continued to heave three's and Han's fourth with just one second to play provided the final 69-64 margin.
Williamson led the Bearcats with six rebounds, while Hrycaniuk tacked on five. Anthony "Biggie" McClain, who played just 10 minutes, led all players with three blocks in the limited time.
The Bearcats are back in action in just two days, wrapping up a season-opening six-game home stand with a visit from USC Upstate on Monday night. Tip time is set for 8 p.m.