Men's Basketball Closes Homestand with Rutgers|
Jan. 13, 2009
GAME 17: Rutgers at cincinnati
Wednesday, Jan. 14 l 7:30 p.m. EST l Fifth Third Arena (13,176) l Cincinnati, Ohio. l BIG EAST Network
The Cincinnati Bearcats (10-6; 0-3 BIG EAST) close out their three-game BIG EAST homestand on Wednesday, Jan. 14 as Rutgers (9-8, 0-4 BIG EAST) travels to the Queen City for the first time since the 2006-07 season. The game will be shown as part of the BIG EAST Network’s syndicated television package. Mike Gleason will call the play-by-play with Bob Wenzel handling the analysis. Cincinnati has lost four straight games, including two in Fifth Third Arena where it is 8-3 on the season. Rutgers is riding a five-game losing streak that includes losses to then-No. 1 North Carolina (97-75), No. 2 Pittsburgh (78-72), and No. 3 Connecticut (80-49). The Scarlet Knights are 3-2 this season on the road. In its last game, Rutgers dropped an 82-66 decision to No. 11 Syracuse, despite 17 points from senior Anthony Farmer and 15 from freshman Mike Rosario. Rosario leads the team in scoring with 17.4 points per game.
Saturday’s game will be the 12th meeting between Cincinnati and Rutgers and the fifth since UC joined the BIG EAST. The Bearcats hold a 8-3 lead in the series, which began in 1971-72. The Bearcats took last year’s match up in Piscataway as UC rallied late and forced overtime where Deonta Vaughn scored 13 of his 19 points in a 72-68 victory.
· Rutgers is 9-8 overall and 0-4 in the BIG EAST and has lost its last five games.
· The Scarlet Knights lost to Syracuse, 82-66, last Saturday as the Orange outscored Rutgers 43-28 in the second half. Senior guard Anthony Farmer led Rutgers with 17 points.
· The Knights are 3-2 on the road this year with wins over Delaware, Rider, and Princeton.
· Four players average eight or more points for Rutgers led by Mike Rosario’s 17.4 points a game, the most in the BIG EAST by a freshman. Anthony Farmer (10.0 ppg), Gregory Echenique (9.5 ppg) and Corey Chandler (8.2 ppg) round out the quartet.
· Echenique leads the team in rebounding with 8.5 caroms a game. Harmady Ndiaye is second at 6.8 rpg.
· Ndiaye and Echenique, who lead the team in blocked shots with 3.4 and 2.5 blocks, respectively, are also No. 2 and No.3 overall in the BIG EAST rejections. As a team, Rutgers averages 7.4 blocks a game, tops in the BIG EAST.
· The Scarlet Knights are shooting 72.1 percent (277-for-384) from the free throw line this season, ranking them 64th in the nation in the latest NCAA statistics and fifth in the BIG EAST.
· Rutgers is hitting on 43.3 percent of its shots from the field, 11th in the BIG EAST.
· Despite a 29.0 3-point shooting percentage, the Knights have made 13 more treys (84 to 71) than their opponents because they are holding foes to 27.4 percent from behind the arc, the fourth-best 3-point shooting percentage defense in the country.
· Rutgers is outrebounding its opponents by 3.6 boards a game (37.9-34.3), 11th in the BIG EAST.
CONNECTICUT GAME NOTES - JAN. 10
· With the win, Connecticut improves to 5-0 all-time against the Bearcats.
· After blocking one shot in their last two games, the Bearcats finished with four blocks vs. Connecticut.
· The Bearcats dished out 15 assists and committed a season-low eight turnovers. Cincinnati’s previous low for turnovers was 10 vs. South Dakota (11/16) and Eastern Kentucky (12/20).
· UConn was UC’s third straight opponent to shoot 50 percent or better from the floor and from behind the three point line. The Huskies shot 58.0 percent from the field and shot 60 percent from long range.
· Connecticut outscored Cincinnati 34-24 in points in the paint.
· Cincinnati finished the game with 26 rebounds, the first time this season UC has pulled down less than 30 rebounds in a game.
· UC was outrebounded, 31-26, only the fourth time this season Cincinnati has been outrebounded.
· Ahead by three points, 55-52, with 10:18 remaining, UConn went on a 13-4 run over the next 4:04 to take a 12-point lead, 68-56, with 5:48 to play.
· Vaughn went 8-of-15 from the field and scored 19 points, his 13th double-figure scoring game of the season.
· Williams scored 14 points, his second consecutive double-figure scoring game and his seventh of the season.
· Williams and Vaughn combined to score UC’s first 16 points of the game as the Bearcats trailed 19-16 with 9:31 in the first half.
· Williams also had a career-high five assists.
· Freshman Yancy Gates finished with 12 points and nine rebounds, his 10th double-figure scoring game this season.
· Coming in averaging 10.7 rebounds per game, Connecticut junior center Hasheem Thabeet was held to three rebounds.
TALE OF TWO SEASONS
· Looking at the Bearcats statistically, UC has played two totally different seasons; one being the first 12 games of the year and the second, the four games following the Christmas break.
· UC started off the year winning 10 of 12 during its non-conference slate, picking up quality wins over UNLV (13-3), who has lost just once since playing Cincinnati on Nov. 29, and Mississippi State (11-5), last year’s SEC West Division champion.
· During the 12-game stretch, the Bearcats averaged 74.6 points compared to its opponents 60.2. UC held its opponents to 36.7 percent from the field and 30.1 percent from behind the 3-point line.
· Deonta Vaughn, Cincinnati’s leading scorer, averaged 15.1 points in 33.2 minutes a night.
· Since the break, the Bearcats are 0-4 and struggling offensively and defensively, being outscored 78.0 to 61.5 a game. UC opponents are hitting 50.0 percent (108-of-216) of their shots in their last four, including 45.1 percent (37-of-82) from three.
· After outrebounding opponents by 11.4 boards a night to start the year, UC has been out manned on the glass, 35.0 to 32.5, a decrease of 10.9 rebounds a game for Cincinnati.
· Vaughn’s scoring is down one point in the last four games, but he has dished out 21 helpers, one more assist per game than his season average (4.9 apg).
MORE HELP DOWN THE STRETCH
· Last season junior guard Deonta Vaughn was called on more often than not to be the Bearcats go-to-man down the stretch of games, a role he excelled at averaging 7.2 points per game over the final 10 minutes.
· With the addition of Mike Williams and the maturation of the team, he has not had to do as much this season and is averaging 2.8 ppg.
· Last year after Vaughn, only John Williamson (2.8 ppg) averaged over two points per contest down the stretch.
· Mike Williams has been the Bearcats leading scorer down the stretch this year, posting 3.8 per contest. He has also received help from Vaughn (2.8 ppg), Dion Dixon (2.4 ppg) and Yancy Gates (2.3 ppg) who all average over two points per game during the stretch run.
BISHOP STEPS UP BIG IN BIG EAST
· Since the start of BIG EAST Conference play, sophomore guard Rashad Bishop re-asserted himself as an all-around threat in the Bearcats starting line-up averaging, 10.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 4.0, assists in his last three games.
· For the season Bishop has put up 6.0 points, 4.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists a night.
· He notched his first double-figure scoring games of the year to start league play, posting 11 vs. Marquette (Jan. 4) and Providence (Jan. 7). In his last outing he scored nine vs. Connecticut (Jan. 10).
· 11 of his 17 rebounds in league play are from the offensive glass (3.7 offensive rpg).
SPREADING THE WEALTH
· Senior guard Deonta Vaughn has become more comfortable with his new role as the team’s point guard and has 42 assists in the last eight games (5.25 apg).
· He is fifth overall and in conference-only games with 4.9 and 6.0 assists per game, respectively.
· With his 10 assists at Marquette on Jan. 4, Vaughn surpassed 300 assists for his career. He has 317 assists in his career and needs 90 more assists to reach Damon Flint’s 407 career assists, which ranks fourth on the all-time UC assists list.
· Vaughn became the first player since Devan Downey on Dec. 30, 2005, to record 10-plus assists in a game after dishing out 10 assists at Marquette on Jan. 4.
· For the first time in his career, senior guard Deonta Vaughn was held scoreless in Cincinnati’s loss to Marquette on Jan. 4, marking the 18th game in his career that he has been held to 10 points or less.
· Vaughn rebounded against Providence posting his 16th career game with 20 or more points on 8-of-16 shooting. He also added a career-high tying seven rebounds.
· For his career, Vaughn is averaging 15.7 points per game in games following single-digit point contests.
· Eight times in his career Vaughn has followed up a single-digit point performance with a 20-plus point performance, including two 30-plus point performances.
GATES LEADING THE WAY
· Over the past eight games, freshman Yancy Gates has stepped up his game and provided a presence on the blocks for the Bearcats.
· Since the Dec. 13 match-up with then No. 10/9 Xavier, Gates is second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.0 points per game and leads the squad with 7.5 rebounds per contest.
· During that stretch, Gates is also shooting 50.6 percent from the field (42-of-83).
· After scoring just two points against Xavier on Dec. 13, freshman Yancy Gates has turned in six double-digit scoring nights in the past eight games (vs. Charleston Southern (18), Mississippi State (12), Eastern Kentucky (17), Arkansas-Pine Bluff (14), Marquette (10), and Connecticut (12)). His 12.0 points per game during the stretch are second on the team.
· For the season, Gates is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 10.3 points per game.
· Gates grabbed six rebounds in the first 8:59 of the opening half vs. Memphis and finished with a team-high nine rebounds.
· The Cincinnati native has had 10 double-figure scoring games this season and Cincinnati is 8-2 when he scores in double-figures
· His lone double-double of the season came in the season opener vs. South Dakota (Nov. 16).
HARD TIMES BEHIND THE LINE
· Before its current four-game losing streak, the Bearcats were one of the better 3-point shooting teams in the BIG EAST knocking down 34.9 percent of its 3-point attempts.
· In the last four games, Cincinnati has struggled from behind the arc, shooting 27.0 percent (20-of-74).
· Before hitting on 7-of-25 vs. Providence (Jan. 7), UC was a combined 6-of-35 (.714) vs. Memphis and Marquette, making just three treys in each game.
· Deonta Vaughn has seen his 3-point percentage drop from 37.6 percent to 33.1, going 6-for-24 (.250) in the last four games. All six makes came in the last two games vs. Providence and vs. Connecticut.
WHAT A DIFFERENCE A YEAR MAKES
· Through 16 games this season, UC has improved its win total by three and notched 10 wins before the start of conference play for the first time since going 11-2 in 2005-06.
· The Bearcats did not win their 10th game of the season last year until Game 21 at West Virginia on Jan. 30.
· Defensive play has been the biggest area of improvement for UC as it has limited opponents to 64.6 points per game, down 2.4 points from last year. From the field, opponents are hitting on just 39.8 percent of their shots this year.
· After defense, the boards have also keyed UC’s four-win jump as they are getting 5.3 more rebounds per game this season
FIFTH THIRD ADVANTAGE
· The Bearcats opened the season with just three road games in their first 14 contests before starting BIG EAST Conference play on Jan. 4 at Marquette.
· Two of the three road games were part of the Global Sports Classic. After playing home games vs. Western Illinois (Nov. 22) and Coastal Carolina (Nov. 24), the Bearcats traveled to Las Vegas for the final two rounds at the Thomas & Mack Center where they faced Florida State (Nov. 28) and UNLV (Nov. 29).
· The other lone pre-conference road game was at 2008 NCAA national runner-up Memphis on Dec. 29.
· UC is 2-3 in their five games away from Fifth Third this season and a 8-3 at home.
· UC’s 8-1 start at home this season was its best since the 2004-05 team started its home campaign with an 8-0 record.
· UC is 262-53 (.832) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.
· Under Mick Cronin, UC is 28-18 at home (.609).
TALE OF THE TAPE
· In Cincinnati’s 10 wins this season, UC is averaging 8.9 3-pointers per game and 17.1 assists per game compared to 14.8 turnovers per game.
· However, in UC’s six losses, the Bearcats are averaging just 5.0 made 3-pointers per game, while averaging 11.7 assists per game compared to 15.5 turnovers per game.
· The Bearcats are also one of the top rebounding teams in the country and owning a positive rebounding margin is key for the Bearcats. UC owns a rebounding margin of +14.6 in wins compared to -3.2 in losses.
SCORING IN BUNCHES
· Junior guard Deonta Vaughn has begun to earn a reputation for scoring his points in bunches during a game, starting at last year’s BIG EAST Conference Championship in New York, when he single-handedly brought UC back against Pittsburgh with 23 of his 30 points in the second half.
· In front by three points, 32-29, with 4:06 to play in the first half vs. Mississippi State (12/18), Cincinnati went on a 15-0 run over that stretch to enter the intermission with a 47-29 lead. Vaughn scored 14 of his team-high 16 points during that run, including 11 straight points.
· Cincinnati closed out the first half vs. Eastern Kentucky (12/20) on a 17-6 run over the final 5:59 to close within four points, 36-32, after trailing in the half by as many as 15 points. Vaughn scored all eight of his first-half points during that stretch.
· The Bearcats jumped out to an 11-7 lead against Arkansas-Pine Bluff thanks to three 3-pointers from Vaughn.
· Cincinnati trailed Eastern Kentucky, 30-15, at 7:19 of the first half on Dec. 20 before mounting the second-largest comeback under head coach Mick Cronin.
· Trailing 73-71, an alley-oop dunk by Yancy Gates from Deonta Vaughn with 0.1 second left in regulation tied the game at 73, sending UC to its first overtime game this season and its first overtime game since March 2, 2008.
· The Bearcats went on a 12-4 run in overtime, including nine free throws, to pull out the dramatic victory.
· The largest comeback under Cronin was vs. West Virginia in 2006-07. Down by as many as 17 points with 10:49 left in the first half, UC, led by 32 points by Marvin Gentry, fought all the way back and downed the Mountaineers, 96-83, in overtime.
· Cronin is 4-1 at UC in overtime games.
PLAY DEFENSE AND REBOUND
· UC basketball has built its success over the last 20 years on two core values ... defense and rebounding. Head coach Mick Cronin learned it as an assistant at UC and those same values still hold true.
· This season UC has shown marked improvement in each category, holding its opponents to 64.6 points per game and 39.8 percent shooting, while averaging 40.7 rebounds per game and a +7.9 rebounding margin. Last year, UC allowed opponents 67.8 points per contest on .430 shooting.
· UC’s +7.9 rebounding margin ranks third in the BIG EAST.
· In the most recent NCAA statistics, Cincinnati was ranked nationally among the Top 15 in rebounding margin (+7.9/15th).
· Five players are averaging over 4.0 rebounds per game this season.
· Of the 547 missed shots by Cincinnati this season, the Bearcats have come away with the offensive rebound 254 times (46.4 percent).
· In the latest release of NCAA statistics, UC’s 15.9 offensive rebounds per game ranked 14th nationally and is the seventh highest by a BCS program, behind Kansas State (16.8), West Virginia (16.7), Miami (FL) (16.2), Pittsburgh (16.2), Washington (16.1), and Tennessee (15.9).
UC SHOOTS PAST BULLDOGS
· Cincinnati hit nine first-half 3-pointers vs. Mississippi State to jump out to a 47-29 halftime advantage over the Bulldogs.
· UC finished the game 12-of-27 from behind the arc (.444), its most made 3-pointers in a game this season.
THE GROOVY 70’S
· With Cincinnati’s 79-49 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 22, Cincinnati surpassed the 70-point plateau in its fourth straight game and for the ninth time this season. UC was 9-0 in those contests.
· Providence ended UC’s nine-game streak with an 87-79 win on Jan. 7, and after falling to UConn, 81-72, the Bearcats are now 9-2 when scoring 70-plus points.
· UC is 17-10 in head coach Mick Cronin’s two-plus seasons behind the bench when scoring 70 or more points.
· Last season, the Bearcats surpassed 70 points seven times in 32 contests.
FINDING MORE DEPTH
· In 2007-08, the Cincinnati Bearcats relied on their starting five to generate 72.4 percent of the offense (46.8 points per game).
· This season the tide has swung as UC’s bench is scoring 27.7 points per game or 38.9 percent of the points. The bench has been outscored five times this season, including 20-12 vs. Connecticut, and the Bearcats are 1-4 in those games.
· Against Charleston Southern on Dec. 15, Cincinnati’s bench scored 55 points to equal the Buccaneer scoring total in the game. The last time Cincinnati’s bench scored 50-plus points in a game was on Dec. 30, 2003 in a 102-63 win over Elon, posting 50 points.
· The Bearcats’ bench has combined to score 20 or more points in 11 of 16 games this season.
· The Bearcats have three players averaging four points or more off the bench, led by the team’s fifth-leading scorer Alvin Mitchell (7.0 ppg).
· Steve Toyloy, the team’s third-leading rebounder is averaging 4.5 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16.0 minutes a game. He posted season-highs for points (14) and rebounds (9) vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff off the bench.
· Cincinnati has eight players averaging 15 or more minutes per game.
NO. 5 SLIDES INTO NO. 5 SLOT
· Junior guard Deonta Vaughn made five 3-pointers vs. Xavier on Dec. 13 in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout and moved into fifth-place on the career 3-pointer list ahead of former UC standout Damon Flint (1993-97).
· Vaughn has sank 199-of-578 (.344) 3-point field goal attempts in 78 career games, while Flint was 177-of-593 (.298) over his four-year career.
· Vaughn is 59 treys behind Steve Logan (1998-2002) for fourth place and needs three more to be just the fifth Bearcat to reach the 200 3-point plateau.
· Darnell Burton is the all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 306.
MITCHELL MAKES ADJUSTMENTS
· After scoring 33 points per game as a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., sophomore guard Alvin Mitchell found the transition to college basketball difficult last season as he averaged 2.8 points and shot 26.3 percent from the floor.
· After spending a lot of time in the gym during the offseason, Mitchell has found his shooting touch once again and is fourth on the team in scoring with 7.0 points per game in 17.9 minutes per game off the bench.
· Against Charleston Southern, Mitchell put his all-around game on display with 16 points, a career-high nine rebounds and a career-best six assists.
· It took Mitchell just seven games this season to eclipse his 2007-08 season points total (62), and he has scored 112 points this season.
· Against Texas Southern (Nov. 18) and Western Illinois (Nov. 24), Mitchell led the team in scoring each night, improving on his career-high for points with 15 vs. TSU and 19 vs. WIU. In each game, Mitchell knocked down a career-high four 3-pointers.
· Mitchell’s 3-point shooting played a big part in the Bearcats win at UNLV. With the Bearcats trailing by two, 59-57, and 3:13 left in the game, Mitchell hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put UC up by four, a lead it did not relinquish.
· Mitchell missed most the Eastern Kentucky game on Dec. 20 suffering from a stomach ailment.
GETTING RIGHT TO BUSINESS
· With the departure of five veteran players from last year’s squad that accounted for 33.6 points per game, Cronin needed to find scoring in the off-season and his Class of 2008-09 has not disappointed.
· Despite the loss of highly-touted point guard Cashmere Wright for the season, the four new faces, which includes freshmen Dion Dixon and Yancy Gates, senior transfer Mike Williams, and junior college transfer Steve Toyloy, are averaging 30.6 points a game.
· More impressively, the group is averaging 19.9 rebounds per game — almost half of the team’s nightly average (48.9 percent).
A LONG ROAD BACK
· Senior forward Mike Williams has battled and persevered during his basketball career since first stepping foot on a college campus at the University of Texas in 2004-05.
· A highly-recruited McDonald’s All-American, Williams spent two seasons at Texas (2004-06) where he played in 58 games and averaged 2.7 points and 3.4 rebounds a game. He helped the Longhorns to an NCAA Tournament berth in 2005-06.
· After his sophomore season at Texas, Williams decided to transfer to the University of Cincinnati to join Mick Cronin who had just taken over as head coach at his alma mater.
· After sitting out the 2006-07 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Williams was set to join the Bearcats for the 2007-08 season, but was lost for the year during preseason workouts when he ruptured an Achilles tendon.
· After missing last year, Williams made his Bearcats debut during UC’s exhibition games and on Nov. 16, 2008 vs. South Dakota — a span of 973 days — played in his first regular-season game at Cincinnati. Williams scored eight points and pulled down nine rebounds vs. the Coyotes.
· Williams has made a dramatic impact on the team this season, averaging 9.0 points and 5.6 rebounds in 25.2 minutes of work.
· His 20 points vs. Providence on 8-of-14 shooting set a new career high for points for Williams.
· Williams followed his 20-point performance with 14 points vs. Connecticut (1/10), marking the first time in his career that he has notched consecutive double-digit scoring games.
· With 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, Williams notched his third double-double of the season against Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 20).
· He netted 17 points vs. UAB (Dec. 6), knocking down 11-of-14 free throws.
· His 78.6 percent (44-of-56) free throw percentage ranks second on the team. He has been Mr. Clutch at the line in the last three minutes of close contests (10 points or less), knocking down 14-of-18 free throws (.778).
BEARCATS JOIN FIELD FOR 2009 MAUI INVITATIONAL
· The EA Sports Maui Invitational announced last month that the University of Cincinnati will replace Louisville in the 2009 tournament field.
· The Bearcats join former national champions Arizona, Maryland, and Wisconsin along with Colorado, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt and host Chaminade University of Honolulu.
· The invitational, which turns 26-years old next season, will take place Thanksgiving Week 2009 in the Lahaina Civic Center.
· It will be Cincinnati’s first appearance in the Maui Invitational.
VAUGHN A COUSY AWARD NOMINEE
· Junior guard Deonta Vaughn has been named one of 35 Division I nominees for the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford.
· The award is given annually to the top collegiate male point guard spanning across all divisions within the game by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
· The selection criteria emphasize leadership, team work, success, and fundamentals as being critical parts for the game of basketball as a point guard.
· Nominations are solicited from across the country from head coaches and the winner is selected by a Blue Ribbon Selection Committee.
· Vaughn joins fellow BIG EAST Conference nominees: Edgar Sosa (Louisville), Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Levance Fields (Pittsburgh), Malik Boothe (St. John’s), and Scottie Reynolds (Villanova).
WRIGHT OUT FOR SEASON
· For the second year in a row, the University of Cincinnati will go the season minus one of its top players as highly-touted freshman point guard Cashmere Wright suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during preseason practices.
· Wright underwent surgery to repair his ACL and will miss the season as he goes through rehabilitation over the next 6-8 months.
· Wright, a 6-0, 175-pound native of Savannah, Ga., was a highly-regarded high school prospect who was listed as one of the nation’s Top 100 players by many of the national recruiting services and was listed as the No. 12 point guard in 2007-08 by Rivals.com.
BEARCATS INK ONE IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD
· Sean Kilpatrick, a native of White Plains, N.Y., signed a national letter of intent during the first week of the early signing period to play for UC next year.
· Kilpatrick, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward was a three-time all-league and all-section selection at White Plains Senior High School and was the school’s second-leading scorer. He averaged 25.6 ppg as a senior.
· He is is playing for Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., this season and averaged 23.0 ppg in his first five games.
BEARCATS Add Transfer at Start of Quarter
· Ibrahima Thomas, a 6-foot-11, 230 pound forward/center, enrolled at the University of Cincinnati at the start of the winter quarter and will be eligibile to play after the fall quarter of the 2009-10 school year.
· Thomas, a native of Dakar, Senegal, transferred from Oklahoma State and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
· He started at forward for Oklahoma State in its first seven games this season before deciding to transfer, averaging 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds per contest. In his 40 games at OSU, Thomas started 34 times, including 27 as a freshman in 2007-08. He averaged 6.4 points and 4.1 rebounds in his time at Oklahoma State.
· Junior guard Deonta Vaughn became the 45th player in UC basketball history to reach 1,000 points for his career when he scored 12 points in the season opener vs. South Dakota on Nov. 16.
· Vaughn equaled Jim Ard (1968-70) as the sixth-fastest player to reach the 1000-point plateau, doing it in 63 games.
· As remarkable as it was, Bearcat great Oscar Robertson scored his first 1,000 points in his first 29 games (first game of second season), averaging over 30 points a night.