UC Hosts Cal State Bakersfield in Final Non-Conference Tilt

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM UC vs. Pittsburgh Men's Basketball - Photos by Brett Hansbauer.
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
UC vs. Pittsburgh Men's Basketball - Photos by Brett Hansbauer.
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Men's Basketball |

Jan. 5, 2010

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Game 15: Cal State Bakersfield at Cincinnati

Wednesday, Jan. 6 | 7:30 p.m. | Fifth Third Arena (13,176) | Cincinnati, Ohio | TV: FOX Sports Ohio/BE Network | Radio: 700 WLW

 

Television: FOX Sports Ohio/BE Network

Michael Reghi (PXP)

Anthony Buford (ANA)

 

Radio: 700 WLW

Dan Hoard (PXP)

Chuck Machock (ANA)

Mo Egger (Host)

 

Satellite Radio: Sirius 158

 

Pay-Per-View: None

 

Streaming Video: None

 

Streaming Audio: GoBEARCATS.com

 

THE MATCH-UP

The Cincinnati Bearcats (10-4, 2-1 BIG EAST) close out non-conference play on Wednesday, Jan. 6 at 7:30 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena as they take on Cal State Bakersfield (2-11, Independent). Cincinnati has won four of its last five games while the Roadrunners have just one win vs. Cal Poly, 70-63, in its last 11 outings. The game will be telecast on FOX Sports Ohio locally and is part of the BIG EAST Network (check local listings). Michael Reghi (pxp) and former UC standout Anthony Buford will handle the call on television. Dan Hoard (pxp) and Chuck Machock (analyst) will call the game on 700 WLW.

 

THE SERIES

Wednesday's game will be the first between Cincinnati and Cal State Bakersfield. Bakersfield is in its final year of a five-year process transitioning from NCAA Division II to Division I. If certified by the NCAA, Bakersfield will officially become a member of Division I in July, 2010. Despite not having an on-court history, UC has contributed a pair of players to the Roadrunner's program. After starting their careers as Bearcats, Charles Williams (1996-97) and Marcus Moss (1995-96) transferred to CSUB where they completed their collegiate careers.

 

SCOUTING THE ROADRUNNERS

·         Cal State Bakersfield is 2-11 overall and has one win its last 10 games, a 70-63 victory at home vs. Cal Poly on Dec. 31.

·         The Roadrunners are in their last year of a five-year transition, moving from NCAA Division II to Division I. If certified by the NCAA, CSUB will become an official member of Division I in July.

·         Senior forward Trent Blakley (14.9 ppg), freshman guard Stephon Carter (12.3 ppg), and junior guard Donavan Bragg (10.4 ppg) each average over 10 points for CSUB.

·         Santwon Latunde, a 6-foot-6 senior forward, is the team's top rebounder, averaging 8.8 rebounds per game. His average would ranked tied for 65th in the nation if CSUB was eligible for NCAA rankings.

·         Cal State Bakersfield is hauling in 37.8 rebounds per night, but are allowing its opponents to snare 40.0 boards a game -- a -2.2 rebounding margin.

·         The Roadrunners are shooting 36.1 percent (279-for-773) from the floor and 28.6 percent (71-for-248)from 3-point range.

·         CSBU is allowing its opponents to shoot 45.7 percent from the floor and their opponents are averaging 76.2 points per game.

 

JAN. 4 -PITTSBURGH GAME NOTES

·         Pittsburgh hit 8-of-10 free throws in the last minute and junior Larry Davis' last-second three-point attempt missed wide as Pittsburgh defeated Cincinnati, 74-71.

·         The loss was Cincinnati's first this season to an opponent ranked in the Top 25 in the Associated Press poll. The Bearcats are now 3-1 against teams ranked in the AP poll this season.

·         UC dropped its first home game of the season and is now 7-1 in Fifth Third Arena this season.

·         Cincinnati shot 49.2 percent (30-of-61) from the floor, while Pittsburgh connected on 49.0 percent (25-of-51) of its shots.

·         The Panthers outscored the Bearcats by 12 at the free throw line, making 20-of-27 attempts compared to 8-of-11 for UC.

·         UC committed eight turnovers for the game, its fewest turnovers in a game since committing a season-low six against Gonzaga on Nov. 25, 2009, in the Maui Invitational.

·         A three-pointer by junior Darnell Wilks with 10:55 to play in the second half gave Cincinnati a 52-51 lead, its first lead since leading 11-9 with 15:10 to play in the first half.

·         UC's starters combined to score all but two points and grab all but two rebounds for the Bearcats in the opening half.

·         Seven points in the final minute by senior Deonta Vaughn gave him a team-high 17 points, his fourth straight double-digit scoring contest and his third straight 17-point contest.

·         Sophomore Yancy Gates scored 12 points and added nine rebounds, three blocks, two steals and an assist in the opening 20 minutes vs. Pitt. Gates finished with 16 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, his third double-double of the season. Gates also tied a career high with four blocks and two steals.

·         Freshman Lance Stephenson scored 13 points in the first half, tying his season-high for first-half points. He finished with 15 points and four assists.

·         Stephenson and Gates combined to score Cincinnati's first 13 points over the first 6:50. The duo scored 25 of UC's 32 first half points.

 

UC VS. NON-CONFERENCE OPPONENTS

·         The game vs. Cal State Bakersfield is Cincinnati's last this season vs. a non-conference opponent.

·         UC is 8-3 vs. non-conference opponents this season.

·         All three losses have come away from Fifth Third Arena (vs. Gonzaga at Maui Invitational; at Xavier; at UAB).

·         Since Mick Cronin took over the program in 2006-07, Cincinnati is 32-18 (.640) vs. non-conference opponents, including a record of 27-6 (.818) at home.

·         UC has won 14 of its last 16 non-conference games at home with the losses coming vs. Xavier and Memphis the last two seasons. During the stretch, the Bearcats have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 18.9 points per game in the 14 wins.

 

TOUGH STRETCH

·         Starting with the Connecticut game on Dec. 30, the Bearcats are in the midst of an 11-day stretch where they play five games, including four BIG EAST Conference games. The Cal State Bakersfield game is the only non-conference game during the stretch.

·         The Bearcats are 2-1 so far during the stretch, including a home win over No. 10/10 Connecticut and its first road win of the season at Rutgers. The Bearcats loss came on Monday vs. No. 23/rv Pittsburgh, 74-71.

·         UC's BIG EAST opponents during the stretch (Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and Seton Hall) are a combined 44-13 (.772).

 

UC VS. RANKED OPPONENTS

·         Cincinnati is 114-169 (.403) all-time vs. opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including a 23-21 (.523) record in Fifth Third Arena.

·         UC is 3-1 vs. teams ranked in the AP Poll this season after knocking off No. 24/24 Vanderbilt and No. 21/22 Maryland in the first and second rounds of the 2009 EA Sports Maui Invitational, respectively, and No. 10/10 Connecticut at home on Dec. 30. The loss was to No. 23 Pittsburgh, 74-71, on Jan. 4, and Cincinnati's first at home this season.

·         The wins vs. Vanderbilt and Maryland marked the first time since the 1999-00 season that Cincinnati defeated ranked opponents in consecutive games. That year, UC defeated No. 25 Gonzaga 75-68 on Dec. 4, 1999, before defeating No. 7 North Carolina 77-68 on Dec. 8, 1999.

·         UC is 6-17 vs. ranked opponents under Cronin.

 

TALE OF THE TAPE -- LAST THREE GAMES

·         Cincinnati has a record of 2-1 with wins over then-No. 10/10 Connecticut (71-69), and Rutgers (65-58). The loss was against No. 23/rv Pittsburgh (74-71).

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn leads the team in scoring, averaging 17.0 points per game. During the stretch he has scored in double figures in all three games, matching his season high with 17 points in each game.

·         Freshman Lance Stephenson (15.3 ppg) and Yancy Gates (10.7 ppg) are also averaging double-digit points over the three games.

·         The UC defense is limiting opponents to 67.0 points per game on 40.8 percent shooting (69-of-169) from the field.

·         Cincinnati is shooting 44.1 percent (79-of-179) from the field during the stretch.

·         The Bearcats, who are one of the nation's top teams in terms of rebounding margin (+7.6 rpg - 24th in NCAA), are pulling down 36.3 boards a contest during the last three games. They are allowing opponents 33.3 rebounds per game during this latest stretch for a +3.0 margin.

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn, who was struggling with his 3-point shot (.292, 19-of-65) before the current stretch is 8-for-16 (.500) in the last three games.

 

FIFTH THIRD ADVANTAGE

·         The Bearcats are 273-56 (.830) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 37-22 in Fifth Third (.627).

·         UC is 7-1 at home and 6-1 in Fifth Third Arena this season. The Miami (OH) game is considered a home game despite being played at U.S. Bank Arena.

·         The seven consecutive wins to start the year matched the best home winning streak for the Bearcats since 2004-05, when they won nine games, spanning two seasons.

·         The Bearcats are averaging 76.8 points per game at home led by Lance Stephenson's 13.8 points per game.

 

TOUGH TIMES ON THE ROAD

·         UC's game vs. Xavier at the Cintas Center was its first "official" road game of the season.

·         The Bearcats' three games in Maui were considered neutral site contests, while the Miami (OH) game at U.S. Bank Arena is considered a "home" game since Cincinnati moved a home contest to an arena within the city limits.

·         Cincinnati picked up its first road win of the season at Rutgers, knocking off the Scarlet Knights, 65-58. It was UC's  first road win since Feb. 7 of last year when the Bearcats beat Georgetown, 64-62, in overtime at the Verizon Center.

·         The Bearcats are 1-2 in away games this season and have a record of 8-29 (.216) in road games under Mick Cronin.

·         UC has shot 37.1 percent and averaged 63.7 points per game on the road this season compared to 48.3 percent and to 77.6 points in Fifth Third Arena.

 

PUTTING IT ALL TOGETHER

·         After getting off to a tough start to the season averaging 9.7 points per game, two-time all-BIG EAST performer Deonta Vaughn has begun to find his shooting stroke over the last four games and has played an important role.

·         Vaughn struggled with his 3-point shot (.258, 16-of-62) through UC's first 10 games but is 11 for his last 19 (.579) from 3-point range in his last four games.Despite his early struggles shooting and scoring, Vaughn did not allow other areas of his game to suffer as his assist and rebounding numbers stayed the same or improved.

 

FINDING THEIR STROKE

·         Before the start of BIG EAST Conference play, Cincinnati found times tough at the free throw line, converting on 61.1 (124-of-203) percent of its attempts from the charity stripe.

·         In its three BIG EAST games vs. Connecticut, Rutgers, and Pittsburgh, the Bearcats are a combined 36-of-48 (.750) -- 13.9 percent higher.

·         Deonta Vaughn (7-for-7), Lance Stephenson (9-for-10) and Dion Dixon (6-for-6) are a combined 22-for-23 (.957) in three games.

·         Stephenson was perfect (7-for-7) for Cincinnati in the win over then-No. 10/10 Connecticut on Dec. 30, including the game winning free throws with 0.7 seconds remaining.

 

DEFENSIVE STOPPERS ...

·         One of the major reasons for Cincinnati's success this season has been its defense, which has held its opponents to 62.8 points per game.

·         10 of UC's 14 opponents this season have scored 64 points or less. Despite giving up 83 points to Xavier, Cincinnati limited XU to 61 points in regulation.

·         Opponents are shooting 38.1 percent (280-of-749) vs. UC.

·         Even in UC's four losses, UC's defense has been solid holding its opponents to 42.9 percent shooting overall and 31.1 percent from 3-point range.

·         The Bearcats rank 26th in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (.381) and tied for 66th in scoring defense (62.8 ppg).

 

... AND REBOUNDING FIENDS

·         Besides defense, the other main characteristic of UC basketball has been rebounding.

·         The Bearcats are tied for 24th in the nation in rebounding margin at +7.6 per game.

·         Cincinnati is pulling down 41.4 boards per game, while limiting opponents to 33.8 rebounds.

·         Five times this season UC has posted 45 or more rebounds in a game (Prairie View A&M - 47, Vanderbilt - 53, Maryland - 47, Texas Southern - 47, Xavier - 52).

·         Sophomore Yancy Gates has posted double-digit rebounds four times this season and UC is 3-1 in those games (Prairie View A&M, Vanderbilt, Maryland, Pittsburgh). His 14 rebounds in the loss to Pitt are a career high.

·         Dion Dixon and Lance Stephenson have Cincinnati's other two double-figure rebounding performances.

 

UC'S SIXTH MAN

·         Sophomore Dion Dixon has become the Bearcats "Sixth Man" this season, a role he started to take on during BIG EAST play last year.

·         As the Bearcats "sixth man," Dixon averages 7.5 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.6 assist per contest in 20.1 minutes per game.

·         He posted his first double-double of the year coming off the bench vs. No. 24/24 Vanderbilt in the opening round of the Maui Invitational with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and an assist as Cincinnati knocked off the Commodores, 67-58.

·         Dixon notched his third double-figure scoring performance at UAB with 13 points. He was the only Bearcat in double-figures vs. the Blazers.

·         In the following game at home, Dixon posted a 15 point scoring effort against Lipscomb with 13 of those points coming in the first half.

·         Dixon spends his time playing the point and shooting guard positions.

 

BENCH STRENGTH

·         Now in his fourth year, Coach Cronin has developed a bench that has nine players averaging 10 minutes or more a game and another two averaging 9.0 or more.

·         UC is outscoring its opponents bench 404-201 (28.9-14.4 per night).

·         The Pittsburgh game on Jan. 4 marked the first time this season UC was outscored from the bench, 28-21.

 

HIS TIME HAS COME

·         After transferring to UC following the first quarter last year and sitting out the first seven games this season, junior forward Ibrahima (ib-ruh-HEE-muh) Thomas made his debut in a Bearcats uniform at Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout. Thomas scored two points, grabbed two rebounds, and blocked a shot in seven minutes of action vs. the Musketeers.

·         Since joining the team, Thomas averages 5.0 points and 3.9 rebounds per game in 13.9 minutes per game. He has started Cincinnati's last five games.

·         Thomas made his first start as a Bearcat against Lipscomb on Dec. 19 and recorded his first double-digit scoring effort with 10 points and added six boards.

·         He followed up Lipscomb with 11 points vs. Winthrop, marking the first time in his career he had consecutive double-figure scoring efforts.

·         Despite a 1-for-7 shooting night against Connecticut (Dec. 30), Thomas played a key role in the game, scoring his only basket of the night on a dunk with 17 seconds remaining to put UC up, 69-66. He also pulled down a game-high tying nine rebounds.

·         Thomas transferred to Cincinnati from Oklahoma State last season at the end of the fall quarter after starting seven games for the Cowboys and averaging 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds. He also blocked eight shots.

·         Thomas is a native of Dakar, Senegal.

 

VAUGHN IN SEARCH OF HISTORY

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn has started all four years at Cincinnati for head coach Mick Cronin where he has twice been named all-BIG EAST Conference (1st team in 2007-08; 3rd team in 2008-09) and led the team in points and assists all three years.

·         In UC's game vs. Connecticut he became the eighth player in school history to score 1,600 points in his career, moving ahead of NBA Hall of Famer Jack Twyman. He also took over second place in career 3-pointers made.

·         Only Oscar Robertson, Steve Logan, and Deonta Vaughn have scored 1,600 points and dished out 400 assists in their career in Clifton.

 

BUSTING OUT OF THE GATES

·         To compete in the BIG EAST Conference every team needs a big man who can score, rebound, and play defense and sophomore forward Yancy Gates is the player Coach Cronin looks to fill that role.

·         A 2009 BIG EAST All-Rookie selection, Gates is the Bearcats top rebounder (7.0 rpg), third-leading scorer (11.0 ppg) and,  a new facet, the squad's top shot blocker (1.5 bpg).

·         Gates has posted double-figure points in three of his last four games, including a season-high 16 points vs. Pittsburgh.

·         He posted his fourth double-digit rebounding night vs. Pittsburgh with a career-high 14 boards.

 

ALL-AROUND EFFORT

·         The maturation of junior forward Rashad Bishop and his move to the four spot on the floor has given Coach Cronin many options, offensively and defensively.

·         After averaging 5.4 points per game as both a freshman and sophomore, Bishop has become a bigger scoring option for UC, posting 7.9 points per game. He scored a career-high 20 points vs. Toledo on Nov. 18.

·         With 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the floor against Lipscomb on Dec. 19, Bishop picked up his third double-figure scoring effort of the season, matching his double-figure scoring performances from 2008-09.

·         Bishop has a keen sense for shot selection and is the Bearcats second-best shooter, converting 50.0 percent of his shots (44-of-88).

·         Bishop is also second on the team in rebounds (5.1) and is fourth in assists (1.7 apg).

·         On defense, Bishop is considered the Bearcats top defender and typically draws the opponent's toughest assignment.

 

STEPHENSON PRESEASON ROOKIE OF THE YEAR

·         Freshman Lance Stephenson, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard who was named the 2009 BIG EAST Conference Preseason Rookie of the Year, committed to the Bearcats on June 30 after a highly-decorated prep career at Lincoln High School (Brooklyn, N.Y.), where he averaged 28.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists to earn Class AA New York State Sports Writers Association (NYSSWA) Player of the Year honors his senior year.

·         He graduated high school as the all-time leading scorer in the history of the state of New York with 2,946 points, passing fellow Lincoln High grad Sebastian Telfair, who was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

·         Stephenson is among the team's top 3 in points (1st, 13.1 ppg), rebounds (3rd, 4.7 rpg), assists (2nd, 2.9 apg), and steals (1.1 spg).

·         Stephenson made his college debut starting the season opener vs. Prairie View A&M. He scored seven points, pulling down four rebounds and dishing out two assists vs. the Panthers.

·         Stephenson earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season after leading the Bearcats in scoring against local foes Miami (OH) and Xavier. He scored 11 points in a 63-59 win over the RedHawks. In an 83-79 double-overtime loss at Xavier, Stephenson scored a collegiate-high 22 points and grabbed six boards.

·         Stephenson is looking to become the first UC freshman to lead the team in scoring since his teammate Deonta Vaughn did it in 2006-07 with 14.5 points per game.

 

UP NEXT

·         The Bearcats take off for New Jersey for the second time in a week for a BIG EAST Conference road game on Saturday, Jan. 9 at Seton Hall. Pirates junior Jeremy Hazell is the league's second-leading scorer, averaging 23.3 ppg.

 

 

 


 

 

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