Men's Basketball Faces Notre Dame in Rematch
gobearcats.COM Steve Toyloy
gobearcats.COM
Steve Toyloy
gobearcats.COM

Feb. 4, 2010

Complete Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

 

Game 22: Cincinnati at Notre Dame

Thursday, Feb. 4 | 9 p.m. | Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center (9,154) | Notre Dame, Ind. | TV: ESPN | Radio: 700 WLW

Television: ESPN

Dave Pasch(PXP)

Doris Burke (ANA)

 

Radio: 700 WLW

Dan Hoard (PXP)

Chuck Machock (ANA)

Mo Egger (Host)

 

Satellite Radio: Sirius 159; XM 117

 

Pay-Per-View: None

 

Streaming Video: ESPN360.com

 

Streaming Audio: GoBEARCATS.com

 

 

THE MATCH-UP

The Cincinnati Bearcats (14-7, 5-4 BIG EAST), who completed the first half of its BIG EAST Conference schedule last Saturday with a 92-88 win over Providence, set sights on the second half, taking on Notre Dame (15-7, 4-5 BIG EAST) on Thursday, Feb. 4 at the newly-renovated Purcell Pavilion at the Joyce Center in Notre Dame, Ind. at 9 p.m. ET. UC won the first match-up between the two schools this season on Jan. 16, eking out a 60-58 victory at Fifth Third Arena on a Yancy Gates tip-in with two seconds left. Notre Dame comes into Thursday night looking to stop a two-game losing streak which include a 74-73 loss last Saturday at Rutgers. The game will be telecast on ESPN with Dave Pasch (pxp), and Doris Burke (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 ninth between the two schools. The Fighting Irish lead the all-time series, 5-3, but UC has won the last two, both of which were played in Cincinnati. The Bearcats are 0-2 vs. the Irish in South Bend, including a 94-71 loss in its last trip in 2007-08. Three UC players have a career scoring average in double-digits against the Irish led by senior Deonta Vaughn, who averages 20.3 ppg all-time against Notre Dame.

 

SCOUTING THE FIGHTING IRISH

·         Notre Dame is 15-7 overall and 4-5 in the BIG EAST heading into Thursday’s game vs. Cincinnati.

·         The Fighting Irish have lost four of their last five games, all in BIG EAST play, including a 60-58 decision on Jan. 16 at UC.

·         Notre Dame averages 79.9 points per game, which ties for fifth in the BIG EAST and 21st nationally.

·         The Irish are led by senior forward Luke Harangody, who averages 24.2 ppg and 9.7 rpg. Harangody’s 24.9 ppg is tops in the BIG EAST and third nationally, while his 9.7 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 47.8 percent from the floor (27th in NCAA) and 40.3 percent from behind-the arc, which ranks second in the BIG EAST and 14th nationally.

·         Tim Abromaitis leads the squad and is second in the conference in 3-point field goals made per game (2.71), and his 47.7 percent (62-of-130) shooting from behind-the-arc places him fourth among   leaders and third nationally.

·         Tory Jackson and Ben Hansbrough lead the team in assists, averaging 5.7 and 5.0 apg, respectively. Notre Dame is fourth in the country in assists (18.4) and is first nationally in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.78).

 

ALL-TIME VS. NOTRE DAME

·         Cincinnati has three players averaging 10-plus points per game for their careers against Notre Dame.

·         Senior Deonta Vaughn averages 20.3 ppg in his career against the Fighting Irish in four games, while junior Larry Davis and sophomore Yancy Gates average 10.3 and 13.0 points, respectively.

·         In addition to his 20.3 ppg, Vaughn is also averaging 3.0 rpg, 3.5 apg, and 1.8 spg against Notre Dame.

·         Vaughn also posted his career-high for points vs. the Irish, scoring 34 on Feb. 4, 2009 in a 93-83 UC victory at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati, Ohio.

 

JAN. 30 - PROVIDENCE GAME NOTES

·         Providence outscored Cincinnati 21-11 in the final 2:45, but a free throw by freshman Jaquon Parker with five seconds left sealed the 92-88 win for Cincinnati.

·         The 5-4 start in BIG EAST play matches the Bearcats’ best start in league play through nine games since joining the conference. The 2007-08 Cincinnati squad also started 5-4 through nine conference contests.

·         The 92 points are UC’s most points in a game in BIG EAST action this season and ties for its second-most points this season. The 92 points are Cincinnati’s most points in a BIG EAST game since scoring 93 vs. Notre Dame on Feb. 4, 2009.

·         Cincinnati finished 8-of-18 from three, giving UC its most made 3-pointers in back-to-back games this season (The Bearcats finished 10-of-20 against Louisville in its last outing).

·         Cincinnati outscored Providence 40-32 in points in the paint, marking the sixth time this season UC has scored 40-plus points in the paint.

·         The Bearcats made 20-of-41 free throws compared to 9-of-18 for the Friars. Cincinnati is now 8-0 on the season when attempting more free throws than its opponent.

·         After shooting 50 percent (8-of-16) from behind-the-arc in the first half, UC held Providence to 27.8 percent (5-of-18) shooting from 3-point range in the second half. The Friars 34 3-point attempts tie for fourth in UC single-game history for most attempted treys by an opponent.

·         The Bearcats outrebounded the Friars 38-33. UC is now 12-4 on the season when outrebounding its opponents.

·         The 17 assists for Cincinnati are its most in BIG EAST action this season. The Bearcats previous best was 16 against Connecticut on Dec. 30.

·         Trailing 24-16 with 13:19 to play of the first half, UC went on an 11-3 run over the next 4:35 to tie the game at 27 with 8:43 to play. Six of the 11 points came from junior Darnell Wilks.

·         Both teams combined to shoot 15-of-16 from the field (UC, 6-of-6; PC, 9-of-10) over the opening 6:06 of the game as the Friars led 24-16 with 13:54 to play.

·         Five players scored in double figures led by Wright’s career-high 24 points. His 24 points are the most by a Cincinnati player this season and the most by a Bearcat against Providence in series history.

·         Wright set a new career high with 13 points in the first half (5-of-7 shooting). Wright finished with 24 points, his second straight double-figure scoring effort. The 24 points marked his first career 20-point game and the sixth by a UC player this year.

·         Wright also set career-highs in made 3-pointers (3), steals (3), and tied a career-high with five assists.

·         Junior Rashad Bishop added 16 points, his sixth double-figure scoring game of season. Bishop connected on three 3-pointers, tying a career high.

·         After scoring four points in his last five games, Wilks scored 10 points against the Friars, his second double-figure scoring game of the season. His other came against Texas Southern (12/1), where he scored 12 points.

·         Freshman Lance Stephenson and senior Deonta Vaughn also chipped in 12 points apiece. Stephenson also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds.

·         Wright and Bishop combined to hit UC’s first six shots and scored 15 of the Bearcats first 16 points in the opening 5:30.

 

PLATOONING AT THE POINT

·         UC has posted a record of 2-1 in its last three games thanks in large part to the work at the point guard position and most notably the play of freshmen Cashmere Wright and Jaquon Parker.

·         In the last three games, the duo has combined to average 20.0 points (Wright 12.0; Parker 8.0), 6.0 rebounds (Parker 4.0; Wright 2.0), and 4.0 assists (2.0 apg each) per game. They have also turned the ball over just four times in 118 minutes of action.

·         Prior to this three-game stretch, Wright and Parker were posting 4.7 and 3.5 points per game, respectively, with a combined 47 assists in 18 games (2.6 apg).

·         In his first start in a BIG EAST Conference game on Jan. 20 vs. USF, Parker poured in career-highs of 15 points and five assists along with four rebounds as Cincinnati knocked off the Bulls 78-70.

·         At Louisville, Wright single-handedly tried to bring UC back from a 12-point deficit midway through the second half by scoring seven points of a 12-2 run to cut the Cardinals lead to two points, 58-56. Even though the comeback fell short, 68-60, Wright finished with a team-high tying 12 points.

·         Wright followed up his double-figure performance at UofL with a career-night vs. Providence as the Bearcats held on for a 92-88 victory over the Friars. Wright, whose previous career scoring high was 12 points, put in 13 points in the first half vs. PC and went on to finish with 24. He also added four rebounds and career-highs of five assists and three steals. He did not turn the ball over in 30 minutes of play.

 

SECOND TIME AROUND

·         Starting with Cincinnati’s game at Notre Dame on Feb. 4, the Bearcats will begin their second trip through their repeat league opponents (Connecticut, Notre Dame, USF).

·         UC’s 5-4 start in BIG EAST Conference action equals its best league start since 2007-08 when it knocked off nationally-ranked opponents Villanova and Pittsburgh.

·         UC went undefeated against the trio in the first match-ups at Fifth Third Arena, winning 71-60 over then-No. 10 UConn on Dec. 30, knocking off Notre Dame, 60-58, on Jan. 16, and finally beating USF, 78-70 on Jan. 20.

·         In the three games vs. UConn, Notre Dame and USF, senior guard Deonta Vaughn is averaging a team high 17.3 points per game, followed by freshman Lance Stephenson’s 15.0 ppg. Rashad Bishop and Jaquon Parker are also averaging in double figures with 10.3 and 10.0 ppg, respectively.

·         The Bearcats have outrebounded the three opponents by a margin of +5.3 per game (40.0-34.7) and out shot them 42.2 percent to 40.6 percent.

·         Against Connecticut and Notre Dame, two of the nation’s top scoring offenses, Cincinnati held each below their season average. The Huskies came into Fifth Third Arena averaging 74.9 points per game, while Notre Dame was posting 82.1 point a night. The two were held to 69 and 58 points, respectively. USF, which is averaging 85.0 points per game since playing UC on Jan. 20, scored just 70 points.

 

TOUGH TIMES ON THE ROAD

·         The Bearcats are 1-5 in away games this season and have a record of 8-32 (.200) 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 41.4 percent and averaged 63.1 points per game on the road this season compared to 48.4 percent shooting and 77.6 points in Fifth Third Arena.

·         Cincinnati’s 3-point shooting struggles the most on the road as the Bearcats are converting just 28-of-114 (.246) treys away from home, compared to 34.6 percent at home (81-of-234).

·         Taking care of the ball is also a weakness on the road as UC is giving up 15.7 turnovers per game, compared to its season average of 12.9, an increase of almost three per game.

 

FIFTH THIRD ADVANTAGE

·         The Bearcats are 277-56 (.831) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 40-21 in Fifth Third (.656).

·         UC is 11-1 at home and 10-1 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 77.6 points per game at home led by Lance Stephenson’s 12.3 points per game and Deonta Vaughn’s 12.2 average.

 

TALE OF THE TAPE — CONFERENCE HOME VS. AWAY

·         Cincinnati has a record of 5-4 in the BIG EAST entering Thursday’s game at Notre Dame. UC is 4-1 at home compared to 1-3 on the road in league action.

·         The Bearcats are shooting better at home (46.5 percent) than on the road (45.3 percent) in conference play

·         UC has been turnover prone away from Fifth Third Arena with a -7.2 turnover margin on the road compared to -1.0 at home.

·         While the Bearcats are shooting better from the free throw line in road games (72.5 percent) than in home games (60.7 percent), UC has been able to get to the free throw line 22.4 times per game at home compared to 12.8 times on the road.

·         Cincinnati also has done a much better job defending the three-pointer in Fifth Third Arena than in road contests. Opponents are shooting 34.7 percent (25-of-72) on their home floor compared to 32.6 percent (29-of-89) on UC’s home floor.

 

RESUME BUILDING — 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.

 

LAST THREE GAMES

·         One of the keys to the Bearcats record of 2-1 in its last three games has been its offense (76.7 ppg) and their shooting from the floor.

·         Over the last three games, UC is shooting an impressive 52.1 percent from the floor (85-of-163), led by freshman Cashmere Wright’s 72.2 percent (13-of-18).

·         Cincinnati, which came into the last three games shooting 28.1 percent from 3-point range, has been on fire converting 23-of-52 (.442) treys vs. USF, Louisville, and Providence.

·         Vaughn leads the team with eight (8-of-18) triples during the three-game stretch, but Wright has been efficient with five threes in his last six attempts (.833).

 

STRUGGLES FROM THE LINE

·         After shooting almost 70 percent (69.7) from the free throw line in the nine games since the start of BIG EAST play on Dec. 30 vs. UConn, the Bearcats free-throw shooting woes returned against Providence as they knocked down just 20 of their 41 attempts (.488).

·         Senior Deonta Vaughn, who had not missed a free throw in 24 attempts since Nov. 25 vs. Gonzaga in the finals of the Maui Invitational was just 5-of-10 from the line vs. the Friars.

·         For the season, UC is shooting 63.0 percent from the line and averaging 18.4 attempts per game.

·         In the 10 games since the start of league play, sophomore Yancy Gates has attempted just 13 free throws and made only six (.461).

 

EXPERIENCE IN THE POST

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

·         The Cincinnati product finished his freshman season of conference action averaging 10.9 ppg and 6.0 rpg, but Gates started a bit slow in conference play averaging 9.4 ppg and 5.4 rpg, while shooting .409 over the first nine conference games.

·         Through nine conference games this season, Gates has gotten off to a better start averaging 10.7 ppg and 7.2 rpg, while shooting .577 percent from the field.

·         Gates has scored in double figures in six of nine conference contests and posted double-doubles vs. Pittsburgh (16 points and 14 rebounds) and Notre Dame (11 points, 13 rebounds).

·         Gates’ defense has shown improvement as well in 2009-10. Against Notre Dame’s Luke Harangody on Jan. 16, Gates and teammate Steve Toyloy combined to hold the nation’s second-leading scorer at the time (29.4 ppg) to 14 points on 5-of-20 shooting —  10.4 points below his season average.

·         Gates has also become the team’s top shot blocker, averaging 1.1 per game.

·         Despite playing in the paint, Gates has made it to the free-throw line just 13 times in UC’s last 10 games. Four of those attempts came against Seton Hall on Jan. 9 where he was a perfect 4-for-4 from the line.

 

HIGH-FLYING WILKS

·         With the Bearcats trailing, 24-16, with 13:19 to play of the first half against Providence on Jan. 30, UC went on an 11-3 run over the next 4:35 to tie the game at 27 and set up the Bearcats 92-88 win over the Friars. Six of the 11 points came from junior forward Darnell Wilks.

·         Wilks came off the bench for UC vs. Providence and finished with his second double-figure scoring night of the year with 10 points on 5-of-7 shooting in 16 minutes. He also grabbed four rebounds (three offensive), dished out an assist and blocked a shot.

·         Wilks’ 10 points helped him break out of a slump in which he had scored just four points in Cincinnati’s last five games.

·         One of the Bearcats most athletically gifted players, Wilks owns the highest vertical jump on the team at 40.5 inches.

 

UP NEXT

·         The Bearcats return home on Super Bowl Sunday (Feb. 7) to face No. 3/4 Syracuse at 2 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena. UC is 2-4 all-time vs. the Orange. UC won Syracuse’s last trip to the Queen City, 74-66,  on Jan. 9, 2008. Deonta Vaughn posted 29 points and five assists in the victory.