Fighting Irish Take on Bearcats in Fifth Third Arena

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Men's Basketball |

Jan. 16, 2010

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Game 18: Cincinnati VS. NOTRE DAME

Saturday, Jan. 16 | 4 p.m. | Fifth Third Arena (13,176) | Cincinnati, Ohio | TV: ESPNU | Radio: 700 WLW

 

THE MATCH-UP

The Cincinnati Bearcats (11-6, 2-3 BIG EAST) begin a two-game BIG EAST homestand when UC takes on Notre Dame (14-3, 3-1 BIG EAST) Saturday, Jan. 16 at 4 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena. UC has lost two games in a row after falling in the final seconds at St. John's this past Wednesday, 52-50. The Fighting Irish has won five of its last six games, including two straight in league play vs USF and No. 8 West Virginia. The game will be telecast on ESPNU with Jim Barbar  (pxp) and Dickey Simpkins (analyst) handling the call. Dan Hoard (pxp) and Chuck Machock (analyst) will call the game on 700 WLW.

 

THE SERIES

Saturday's meeting with Notre Dame will be the eighth between the two schools. The Fighting Irish lead the all-time series, 5-2, but UC snapped Notre Dame's four-game winning streak in the series with a 93-83 victory at U.S. Bank last season. The Bearcats, who are 1-1 vs. the Irish in Cincinnati, are playing Notre Dame for just the second time in Fifth Third Arena. In the first meeting in Fifth Third Arena, Notre Dame defeated UC, 76-64, in 2007. Three UC players have a career scoring average in double-digits against the Irish led by senior Deonta Vaughn, who averages 22.0 ppg all-time against Notre Dame.

 

SCOUTING THE FIGHTING IRISH

·         Notre Dame is 14-3 overall and 3-1 in the BIG EAST heading into Saturday's game vs. Cincinnati.

·         The Fighting Irish have won five of its last six games,  including a 70-68 win at home over No. 8 West Virginia on Jan. 9.

·         Notre Dame averages 82.1 points per game, which ranks fifth in the BIG EAST and 19th nationally.

·         The Irish are led by senior forward Luke Harangody, who averages 24.9 ppg and 9.5 rpg. Harangody's 24.9 ppg is tops in the BIG EAST and second nationally, while his 9.5 rpg ranks fourth in the conference.

·         ND also ranks among the nation's elite in field goal percentage and 3-point field goal percentage. The Irish are shooting 49.6 percent from the floor and 42.7 percent from behind-the arc, which ranks first in the BIG EAST and second nationally.

·         Tim Abromaitis leads the squad and is second in the conference in 3-point field goals made per game (2.71), and his 50.5 percent (46-of-91) shooting from behind-the-arc places him second among league leaders and fourth nationally.

·         Tory Jackson and Ben Hansbrough lead the team in assists, averaging 5.3 and 5.2 apg, respectively. Notre Dame is sixth in the country in assists (18.6) and is first nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.69).

 

JAN. 13 - ST. JOHN'S GAME NOTES

·         A sophomore Yancy Gates lay-up with 1:31 to play put UC ahead, 50-47, but Cincinnati went scoreless from that point on and the Red Storm went on a 5-0 run to defeat the Bearcats, 52-50.

·         St. John's snapped its three-game losing skid to Cincinnati and the Red Storm now lead the all-time series, 6-5.

·         The loss was Cincinnati's first this season when holding its opponent under 60 points.

·         UC shot 55 percent (11-of-20) from the field in the second half, while holding St. John's to 29.6 percent (8-of-27) shooting. For the game, the Bearcats shot 42.6 percent (20-of-47) and the Red Storm made 35.3 (18-of-51) percent of its shots.

·         UC finished 0-12 from 3-point range compared to 5-of-18 shooting from deep by STJ. The last time Cincinnati failed to make a 3-pointer in a game was on March 3, 2002, against Memphis (244 games).

·         The Bearcats fell to 10-3 on the season when outrebounding its opponents. Cincinnati outrebounded St. John's, 41-28.

·         The Bearcats committed a season-high 21 turnovers. Cincinnati's previous high for turnovers were 18, which occurred on three occasions..

·         Both teams struggled from the free throw line as Cincinnati shot 55.6 percent (10-of-18) and St. John's shot 55.0 percent (11-of-20).

·         A 7-2 St. John's run over a 1:07 stretch in the second half gave the Red Storm a 43-41 lead with 5:44 to play.

·         Both teams struggled from behind-the-arc in the first half as Cincinnati failed to connect on nine attempts, while St. John's hit just 2-of-8 tries from three.

·         UC held the Red Storm scoreless over the last 5:05 of the first half and went on a 6-0 run to take a 24-23 lead into the half.

·         Cincinnati led throughout most of the first half until a 10-1 St. John's run from the 7:42 mark to the 5:05 mark placed the Red Storm in front, 23-18.

·         Gates played just 2:34 in the first half after picking up his second foul with 17:26 to play in the first half. Despite just playing 22 minutes, Gates scored a team-high 12 points and grabbed a team-best eight rebounds.

·         Senior Deonta Vaughn came into the game averaging 17.8 ppg in BIG EAST play, but did not score his first points until there was 6:38 remaining in the second half. Vaughn finished with four points and four steals.

·         With his four steals, Vaughn moved past Tarrance Gibson for fifth on UC's all-time steals list. Vaughn also made his 106th career start, tying him with Steve Logan for third in school history in career starts.

·         Senior Steve Toyloy was extremely effective for Cincinnati off the bench scoring eight points and grabbing seven rebounds.

·         Freshman Lance Stephenson scored seven points, grabbed five rebounds, and dished out three assists. The seven points are Stephenson's fewest in BIG EAST play this season and marked the first time in league play that he did not score in double digits.

 

FIFTH THIRD ADVANTAGE

·         The Bearcats are 274-56 (.830) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 38-22 in Fifth Third (.633).

·         UC is 8-1 at home and 7-1 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 77.9 points per game at home led by Lance Stephenson's 12.7 points per game.

 

LONG STRETCH BEHIND THEM

·         Starting with the Connecticut game on Dec. 30, the Bearcats had an 11-day stretch in which they played five games, including four BIG EAST Conference games.

·         The Bearcats went 3-2 during the stretch, including a home win over No. 10/10 Connecticut (Dec. 30), its first road win of the season at Rutgers (Jan. 2), and a non-conference victory over Cal State Bakersfield (Jan. 6). The Bearcats lost the final two league games of the run on Jan. 4 vs. No. 23/rv Pittsburgh (74-71) and on Jan. 9 at Seton Hall (83-76).

·         UC's BIG EAST opponents during the stretch (Connecticut, Rutgers, Pittsburgh, and Seton Hall) were a combined 43-17 (.717).

 

UC VS. RANKED OPPONENTS

·         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.

·         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.

·         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 FOUR GAMES

·         Cincinnati has a record of 1-3 with a win vs. Cal State Bakersfield (87-58) and losses to then No. 23/rv Pittsburgh (74-71), Seton Hall (83-76) and St. John's (52-50).

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn leads the team in scoring, averaging 12.5 points per game. He posted his first 20-point game of the season at Seton Hall.

·         The UC defense is giving up 66.8 points per game during the stretch -- 3.0 more points per game than its season average (63.8 ppg).

·         Cincinnati is shooting 49.3 percent (112-of-227) from the field during the stretch. The shooting percentage is almost five points higher than the team average (.447 FG%) for the year.

·         The Bearcats, who are one of the nation's top teams in terms of rebounding margin (+8.3 rpg - 13th in NCAA), are pulling down 41.1 boards a contest during the last three games. They are allowing opponents 32.5 rebounds per game during this latest stretch for a +8.6 margin.

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn, who was struggling with his 3-point shot (.325, 25-of-77) before the current stretch is 9-for-21 (.429) in the last four games.

 

TOUGH TIMES ON THE ROAD

·         The Bearcats are 1-4 in away games this season and have a record of 8-31 (.205) in road games under Mick Cronin.

·         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.

·         UC has shot 40.8 percent and averaged 63.4 points per game on the road this season compared to 48.8 percent shooting and 77.9 points in Fifth Third Arena.

·         Cincinnati's 3-point shooting stuggles the most on the road as the Bearcats are converting just 18-of-94 (.191) treys away from home.

 

EXPERIENCE IN THE POST

·         Yancy Gates went against a talented group of post players during his freshman year and playing against the likes of Hasheem Thabeet and DeJuan Blair, to name a few, has been beneficial for Gates in his second year in the BIG EAST.

·         The Cincinnati product finished his first season of conference action averaging 10.9 ppg and 6.0 rpg, but Gates started a bit slow in conference play averaging 8.4 ppg and 5.2 rpg over the first five conference games.

·         Through five conference games this season, Gates has gotten off to a great start averaging 11.6 ppg and 7.6 rpg, while shooting .643 percent from the floor.

·         Gates has scored in double figures in four of five conference contests and posted a double-double with 16 points and 14 rebounds against Pittsburgh (Jan. 4).

 

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 five BIG EAST games and the Cal State Bakersfield game, the Bearcats are a combined 69-of-97 (.711) -- 10.0 percent higher.

·         Deonta Vaughn (11-for-11), Lance Stephenson (14-for-18) and Dion Dixon (10-for-11) are a combined 35-for-40 (.875) in the last five 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.

 

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 seven games.

·         Vaughn struggled with his 3-point shot (.258, 16-of-62) through UC's first 10 games, but is 18 for his last 36 (.500) from 3-point range in his last seven games.

·         Vaughn posted his first 20-point game of the season at Seton Hall on Jan. 9 with a 7-for-13 shooting performance, including 6-of-11 from 3-point range.

·         The Bearcats are 8-2 this season and 41-39 (.513)during Vaughn's career when he scores in double figures.

 

DEFENSIVE STOPPERS ...

·         One of the major reasons for Cincinnati's success this season has been its defense, which has held its opponents to 63.1 points per game.

·         12 of UC's 17 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 38.5 percent (370-of-962) vs. UC.

·         Even in UC's six losses, UC's defense has allowed its opponents to shoot 42.9 percent shooting overall and 31.6 percent from 3-point range.

·         The Bearcats rank 29th in the nation in field-goal percentage defense (.386) and 82nd in scoring defense (63.8 ppg).

 

... AND REBOUNDING FIENDS

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

·         The Bearcats are 13th in the nation in rebounding margin at +8.3 per game.

·         Cincinnati is pulling down 41.1 boards per game, while limiting opponents to 32.5 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 is 10-3 when outrebounding its opponents this season and 1-3 when its opponent outrebounds the Bearcats.

 


 

 

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