Nov. 29, 2011
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CINCINNATI – In the 148th game between the University of Cincinnati men’s basketball team and Miami University, the Bearcats came out on top with a 56-47 win Tuesday evening at Fifth Third Arena.
Junior center Cheikh Mbodj (Dakar, Senegal/Grayson County [Texas] College) led four Bearcat double-digit scorers with a season-best 12 points, including five clutch points on consecutive possessions inside the final three minutes of the game.
With Cincinnati (4-2) leading by two points at 49-47, Mbodj hit a jumper near the free-throw line as the shot clocked expired to put UC ahead 51-47. The next time down the floor, the 6-foot-10 big man drilled a three-pointer from the top of the key that gave UC a 54-47 advantage with 1:33 left.
In addition to Mbodj, UC received 10-point performances from senior forward Yancy Gates (Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow), senior guard Dion Dixon (Chicago, Ill./ Crane Technical Prep Common ) and sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick (White Plains, N.Y./Notre Dame Prep). Gates added 10 rebounds for his 16th career double-double and third of this season.
Similar to the opening minutes of the game, UC went on a 7-0 run to start the second half and extended its lead to 30-22.
Each time it appeared the Bearcats were going to break the game open, the Redhawks responded with several clutch shots.
Miami (2-3) was led by senior forward Julian Mavunga, who recorded game highs of 26 points and 12 rebounds.
After Miami crept its way back into the game and cut the lead to 35-33, UC went on a 10-2 run that saw junior point guard Cashmere Wright (Savannah, Ga./Urban Christian Academy) nail consecutive jumpers and increased the Bearcats lead to 45-35 with 8:50 left in the game.
After producing 10 assists against Marshall on Friday, Wright finished Tuesday night with seven assists to go along with nine points.
Miami closed the first half on a 9-2 run and went into halftime trailing 23-22 after Cincinnati built its lead back up to 21-13 with 4:46 remaining.
In the first half, Cincinnati put an emphasis on crashing the boards and the effort paid off with 10 offensive rebounds, including three putbacks - two slam dunks by Gates and a layup from Kilpatrick – that led to six points.
Mavunga led all scorers with 14 first-half points on 6 of 10 shooting. Dixon paced UC with six points, followed by five points from Kilpatrick.
The Bearcats jumped out to an early 14-2 lead within the first 5:35 of the game on the strength of three jumpers from behind the arc by Dixon, Kilpatrick and Wright.
Miami was held scoreless until the 14:59 mark of first half when Mavunga made a reverse layup around Gates.
With the win, UC now leads the all-time series against Miami, 95-53.
As part of the BIG EAST/SEC Challenge, UC travels to Athens, Ga. to play its first road game of the season 7 p.m. Friday against University of Georgia at Stegeman Coliseum on ESPNU.