Men's Basketball Faces Off with Georgetown on Saturday
gobearcats.COM Sophomore Larry Davis
gobearcats.COM
Sophomore Larry Davis
gobearcats.COM

Feb. 6, 2009

 

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THE MATCH-UP

The Cincinnati Bearcats (15-8, 5-5 BIG EAST) meet the Georgetown Hoyas (13-8, 4-6 BIG EAST) for the second time in 11 days when they square off on Saturday, Feb. 7, in the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C. Tip-off is scheduled for Noon ET and will be televised on the BIG EAST Network and carried in Cincinnati by CinCW(WKRC-D2). Mike Gleason will call the play-by-play with Mike Kelley handling the analysis. Cincinnati is coming off a 93-83 win over Notre Dame in U.S. Bank Arena on Wednesday, Feb. 4, UC’s fifth win in its last seven games. Georgetown recently snapped a five-game losing skid when it defeated Rutgers at home, 57-47, on Tuesday, Feb. 3. One of the Hoyas’ five losses during their losing skid came in Fifth Third Arena as the Bearcats downed Georgetown, 65-57, on Jan. 28.

 

THE SERIES

In the last meeting on Jan. 28, Cincinnati defeated Georgetown, 65-57, giving the Bearcats their first win over the Hoyas in program history. The schools have met five times with Georgetown owning a 4-1 lead in the series, including a 3-0 mark when playing in Washington, D.C. All five meetings in series history have taken place since UC joined the BIG EAST in the 2005-06 season.

 

SCOUTING GEORGETOWN

·         Georgetown owns a record of 13-8 overall and 4-6 in the BIG EAST Conference.

·         The Hoyas snapped a five-game losing streak with a 57-47 win over Rutgers on Feb. 3.

·         In the win over Rutgers, senior Jessie Sapp scored a team-high 11 points.

·         The Hoyas are 10-2 when playing at home this season.

·         Georgetown ranks in the Top 60 nationally in scoring margin (+8.2/59), field goal percentage (.474/29), field goal percentage defense (.398/38), 3-point fg percentage defense (.311/54), free throw percentage (.727), and steals (8.1/59).

·         Junior DaJuan Summers leads the team in scoring averaging 14.6 ppg, while freshman Greg Monroe (13.0), Austin Freeman (12.4), and Chris Wright (12.1) also average in double-figures.

·         Monroe leads the team in rebounding averaging 6.4 boards, and his 1.7 blocks per game ranks eighth in the BIG EAST.

·         Georgetown has eight players averaging over 10 minutes per game, led by Wright, who is playing 32.0 minutes per night.

·         Defensively, the Hoyas are sixth in the BIG EAST in scoring defense (63.5 ppg), one spot ahead of UC.

·         Georgetown’s .472 field goal percentage ranks fifth in the BIG EAST.

·         On average, the Hoyas are outscoring their opponents by 7.5 points in the first half as they have scored 744 first-half points compared to 587 for their opponents.

·         Georgetown’s 8.24 steals per game ranks fourth in the BIG EAST.

 

NOTRE DAME GAME NOTES - FEB. 4

·         With the win, UC snapped a four-game losing streak against the Fighting Irish and cut Notre Dame’s series lead to 5-2. The 93-83 victory is UC’s largest margin of victory over Notre Dame (UC won by eight, 95-87, on March 21, 1975).

·         UC’s 93 points are the most points since the Bearcats scored 96 against West Virginia on Jan. 20, 2007, a span of 64 games.

·         UC committed a season-low five turnovers. Cincinnati’s previous low for turnovers was six vs. Rutgers on Jan. 14. It is also the fewest turnovers by Cincinnati under head coach Mick Cronin.

·         UC hit 10 three-pointers in the game, the most triples the Bearcats have made since landing 11 3-pointers against Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 20, 2008.

·         Cincinnati shot 53.8 percent (14-of-26) in the second half, including 54.5 percent from three (6-of-11). UC held Notre Dame to 23.1 percent (3-of-13) shooting from behind the arc for the game.

·         The Bearcats outscored the Fighting Irish 27-18 in bench points.

·         UC connected on 31-of-41 attempts from the free throw line, including 22-of-31 in the second half. Cincinnati’s 31 made free throws and 41 attempted free throws are both season highs.

·         Two Luke Harangody free throws cut the UC lead to three points, 53-50, with 13:26 to play, before the Bearcats went on a 13-2 run over the next 4:32 to take a 66-52 lead with 9:54 remaining.

·         Trailing 43-39, with 17:35 to play in the second half, sophomore Larry Davis scored eight straight points for UC, putting the Bearcats in front, 47-45, with 15:40 to play.

·         Three free throws by junior Deonta Vaughn in the final 10 seconds of the first half sent both teams into the intermission tied at 37. It is the first time this season Cincinnati has been tied entering halftime.

·         Cincinnati’s 37 first-half points are its most points in the opening 20 minutes in BIG EAST play and its most since scoring 43 first-half points vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 22.

·         Vaughn and Davis scored 34 and 21 points, respectively, the first time two UC players have scored 20-plus points in  the same game since Providence on Jan. 7, 2009.

·         Vaughn scored 16 first-half points for the Bearcats and finished with 34 points. It is Vaughn’s 18th double-figure scoring game, his seventh 20-plus point game, and his first 30-plus scoring game of the season. It is also his fifth 30-plus point scoring game of his career.

·         Vaughn had his first 30-point scoring performance since he poured in 30 against Pittsburgh in the BIG EAST Tournament last season on March 12, 2008.

·         Vaughn connected on a career-high 19 free throws (19-of-22), topping his previous best of 10 free throws made against Pittsburgh on January 19, 2008.

·         Freshman Yancy Gates scored eight points and grabbed four rebounds in the first 12:18 of the game. Gates finished with 15 points and eight rebounds, his 13th double-figure scoring game of the season.

·         After scoring 17 points in his last seven games, Davis scored a career-high 21 points, his sixth double-figure scoring game of the season.

·         Davis became the first UC player other than Vaughn and senior Mike Williams to score 20-plus points in a game this season. Davis finished with 21 points. The last player to score more than 20 points for UC, other than Vaughn and Williams, was John Williamson when he scored 27 points at Pittsburgh on Feb. 27, 2008.

 

“D” THE THREE:

·         In the past three games, Cincinnati has gone 2-1 and one of the reasons for its success has been its ability to defend the 3-pointer.

·         In their first seven league games, opponents shot .425 from deep, connecting on 54-of-127 long-range attempts.

·         In the past three contests, UC has held Notre Dame, Villanova, and Georgetown to a combined 10-of-42 from three (.231).

·         All three teams are ranked in the top eight in the BIG EAST in 3-point field goal percentage and the Irish’s three made 3-pointers were a season-low for Notre Dame.

·         Notre Dame’s Kyle McAlarney, who was leading the BIG EAST in 3-pointers made per game (4.05) and was third in 3-point percentage (.458) heading into his match-up with UC, went  0-for-5 from three and 2-for-12 from the field.

 

DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME …

·         In the final eight games of the regular season, the Bearcats will face five teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including Top 10 opponents No. 6 Pittsburgh (Feb. 14) and No. 5 Louisville (Feb. 21).

·         Of the eight remaining teams on UC’s schedule all but one own a winning record (USF – 7-14) and they have a combined mark of 125-66 (.654).

·         Cincinnati is currently 58th in the RPI Ratings and owns the nation’s 19th toughest schedule.

·         UC is 1-3 vs. ranked teams in the AP poll and 1-5 vs. teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Its one win in both polls came in a 65-57 win vs. Georgetown on Jan. 28.

·         Following is a list of UC’s opponent which are ranked in the Top 64 in the RPI rankings along with this season’s result or the date of the game:

 

2008-09 UC Opponents in the Top 64 in the RPI

Rk.                               Team     Date/Result

2.                     Pittsburgh    Feb. 14

6.                   Connecticut    L, 81-72

7.                          Xavier    L, 76-66

10.                     Louisville    Feb. 21

11.                     Memphis    L, 60-45

12.                     Villanova    L, 71-50

13.                   Marquette    L, 84-50

16.               West Virginia    Feb. 26

18.                 Georgetown    W, 65-57; Feb. 7

24.                    Syracuse    March 1

27.                Florida State    L, 58-47

44.                           UAB    W, 87-80

47.                           UNLV    W, 67-65

63.                  Providence    L, 87-79; L, 72-65

                                                               

BIG (EAST) TURNAROUND

·         Looking at the Bearcats statistically, UC has played two completely different segments of the BIG EAST schedule. UC started off the New Year losing its first three BIG EAST games by an average of 17.0 points per game.

·         In the seven games since, the Bearcats have won five thanks to a much improved defense that is holding opponents to 65.3 points per game, 18.7 points fewer per outing than the first three conference games.

·         Below is a comparison of UC’s first three BIG EAST games to the last five:

 

Category        First 3 Last 7      Dif.

Record               0-3     5-2    

Points               67.0   67.4     +0.4

Points Allowed    84.0   65.3     -18.7

Scoring Margin  -17.0   +2.1     +19.1

FG Percentage   41.6   40.1     -1.5

FG Perc. Def.             55.3     43.6    -11.7

3-PT Percentage 28.8   34.2     +6.4

3-PT Perc. Def.  54.7   27.6     -27.1

Rebounds          32.7   35.7     +3.0

Opp. Rebounds   32.0   35.3     +3.3

Reb. Margin      +0.7   +0.4     -0.3

 

DAVIS GOES FOR 21

·         Sophomore Larry Davis had been struggling to find his shot for the previous seven games before the Notre Dame game, scoring 19 combined points.

·         Against Notre Dame, Davis went 8-of-14 from the field and scored a career-high 21 points.

·         Davis’ previous career high was 16 points against Providence on March 2, 2008.

 

GETTING FAMILIAR

·         As part of the BIG EAST’s 18-game league schedule, Cincinnati will face Providence, St. John’s, and Georgetown each in a home-and-home series this season.

·         Five games into the BIG EAST schedule, the Bearcats finished their season series with Providence, losing twice to the Friars within 10 days — 87-79 on Jan. 7 and 72-63 on Jan. 17.

·         UC started its series at St. John’s on Jan. 22 and vs. Georgetown on Jan. 28. The return trips are on Feb. 7 at the Hoyas and Feb. 11 vs. the Red Storm.

·         The Bearcats are 2-2 vs. teams in their pod.

 

GROWING UP ON THE ROAD

·         One thing a young team has to learn as it grows up is how to win on the road, especially in conference play. This season, the Bearcats are showing signs of a maturing team as they are 4-5 overall away from Fifth Third Arena, including 2-3 in BIG EAST play.

·         Cincinnati’s most league victories on the road as a member of the BIG EAST came last season going 3-6. UC is 7-23 on the road as a member of the BIG EAST.

·         The Bearcats opened the season with just three road games in their first 14 contests before starting league 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.

·         The Bearcats do not find the rims on the road kind as they are shooting 36.0 percent on the road compared to 45.3 percent at home.

·         UC also has a difficult time with the caroms as opponents hold the Bearcats to 35.6 rebounds per game on the road compared to 40.9 at home.

·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn averages just 12.6 points per game away from Fifth Third Arena compared to 17.9 ppg at home and was held scoreless for the first time in his career at Marquette on Jan. 4.

 

FINDING HIS STRIDE

·         In Cincinnati’s last nine games, freshman guard Dion Dixon has begun find his game and become more at ease vs. BIG EAST competition.

·         In the nine games since scoring three points at Marquette on Jan. 4, Dixon is fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 8.3 points and 2.7 rebounds.

·         He equaled his career high for scoring at Providence (Jan. 19) with 14 points, including 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.

·         The 14-point output marked his fifth double-digit scoring effort of the season and his first in seven games since posting 11 points at home vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 22).

·         Dixon registered his second double-digit scoring game in three outings vs. Georgetown (Jan. 28) with 10 points on three 3-pointers and a free throw. He also added four rebounds.

·         In his last four games, Dixon is averaging 9.6 ppg, he is shooting 45.7 percent from the field (16-of-35), and 45.8 percent from behind the arc (11-of-24).


GOTTA GET TO THE LINE

·         Getting to the free throw line is always important, but for the Bearcats in BIG EAST play it has been even more of a deciding factor.

·         Since the start of league play, UC is 4-0 when getting to the line at least 20 times in a game.

·         On the season, UC is 8-2 on the year when attempting 20 or more free throws in a game.

·         Cincinnati is also 5-0 this season when shooting 20 or more free throws in the second half.

·         Against Notre Dame on Feb. 4, Cincinnati went 31-of-41 from the charity stripe, including 22-of-31 in the second half.

·         The 41 free throw attempts are UC’s most since shooting 41 against West Virginia on Jan. 20, 2007, and the 31 made free throws are its most made free throws since making 31 vs. Northwestern State on Dec. 18, 2004.

·         At St. John’s on Jan. 22, the Bearcats trailed the Red Storm, 39-28, at the half and was 1-for-1 from the line. In the second half, the Cincinnati found its way to the free throw line 21 times and converted on 14 as it battled from behind for a 71-60 win. Deonta Vaughn led the way going 7-for-10 from the charity stripe.

 

 

PROTECT WHAT IS YOURS

·         Since equaling their season-high with 20 turnovers at Memphis (Dec. 29), the Bearcats have been making steady improvements protecting the basketball.

·         In its last 10 games, UC has turned the ball over an average of 12.1 times per game (121 turnovers). 66 of the turnovers have come in four games vs. Marquette (15), at DePaul (16), at Providence (17), and at Villanova (18).

·         Cincinnati had a season-low five turnovers vs. Notre Dame (Feb. 4), the lowest total in Mick Cronin’s three years at UC.

·         The Bearcats previous low for turnovers was six vs. Rutgers (Jan. 14).

·         After turning over the ball 10 times in the first half vs. Georgetown (Jan. 28), Cincinnati gave up the ball just four times in the second half as they pulled away late for a 65-57 win over the nationally-ranked Hoyas.

·         Since the start of league play, the team’s best at protecting the ball on paper has been Rashad Bishop, who is second in the league in conference only games with a 3.18 assist-turnover ratio.

 

“D-ING” IT UP

·         After getting behind by as many as 16 and trailing 36-29 at halftime to Rutgers on Jan. 14, head coach Mick Cronin went in search of his five best defenders to help Cincinnati come from behind and knock off the Scarlet Knights, 71-59.

·         In the second half, Cronin found his line-up as he went to a rotation of Deonta Vaughn, Larry Davis/Dion Dixon, Rashad Bishop, Mike Williams, and Steve Toyloy.

·         Cincinnati held Rutgers to 29.0 percent (9-of-31) shooting in the second half, including 1-for-10 from 3-point range. Mike Rosario, the Scarlet Knights top scorer, scored just one 3-pointer in the second half and was 1-of-10 from the floor.

·         UC outrebounded the Knights, 20-18, in the second half, led by Vaughn’s seven second-half boards. He finished with a career-high eight rebounds in the game.

·         The group has started every game since Rutgers and has a record of 4-2 when starting.

·         On Jan. 17,they went on to hold the DePaul to 25.0 percent shooting from three (4-of-16) and 1-of-8 shooting from deep in the second half in a 59-55 victory.

·         At Providence, the group held the Friars, who had scorched the Bearcats with 12-of-24 shooting from 3-point range on Jan. 7, to 3-of-20 shooting (.150) from 3-point range in the second match-up.

·         The group started its third straight game at St. John’s and keyed the comeback with their defensive heroics. With the Bearcats trailing, 51-40, with 13:16 to play, Cincinnati rattled off 31 of the final 40 points to defeat the Red Storm, 71-60. During the final stretch, UC held St. John’s to 2-of-17 shooting from the floor.

 

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 3.6 ppg over the final 10 minutes.

·         Last year after Vaughn, only John Williamson (2.8 ppg) averaged over two points per contest down the stretch.

·         Mike Williams and Vaughn are the Bearcats leading scorers down the stretch this year, posting 3.6 points apiece per contest. He has also received help from Dion Dixon (3.5), and Yancy Gates (2.3 ppg) who all average over two points per game during the stretch run.

·         In the 71-60 come-from-behind win at St. John’s (Jan. 22), Vaughn returned to his old self, scoring 20 points in the second half including 11 in the final 10 minutes, shooting a perfect 2-for-2 from 3-point range.

·         In the 93-83 win over Notre Dame, Vaughn scored 18 of his season-high 34 points in the second half.

·         In conference-only action, Dixon leads UC averaging 5.5 ppg in the final 10 minutes of games.

 

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, 6.5 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 3.5 assists.

·         For the season, Bishop has put up 5.7 points, 4.2 rebounds and 2.9 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).

·         He posted a career-high 15 points on 7-of-12 shooting at St. John’s (Jan. 22) before fouling out with two technical fouls with just over 17 minutes to play in the game.

·         Bishop turned in a stellar all-around performance on Jan. 28 vs. No. 25/23 Georgetown, posting six points, six rebounds and a career-high nine assists.

·         20 of his 44 rebounds in league play are from the offensive glass (2.0 offensive rpg).

·         Bishop has also taken care of the ball since the start of conference play, dishing out 35 assists, while committing just 11 turnovers.

·         His 3.18 assist-to-turnover ratio in conference-only games ranks second in the BIG EAST.


SPREADING THE WEALTH

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn is seventh overall and eighth in conference-only games with 4.57 and 4.50 assists per game, respectively.

·         With his 10 assists at Marquette on Jan. 4, Vaughn surpassed 300 assists for his career. He has 336 assists in his career and needs 68 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.

 

BATTLING BACK

·         For the fourth time this season, the Bearcats battled back from a half-time deficit and beat St. John’s, 71-60, on Jan. 22. Trailing 51-40 with 13:16 to play, Cincinnati ended the game on a 31-9 run to defeat St. John’s, 71-60. During that stretch, Cincinnati held St. John’s to 2-of-17 shooting from the floor.

·         UC is 4-8 on the season when trailing at the half.

·         On Jan. 14 vs. Rutgers, Cincinnati battled back from a half-time deficit for the third time this season and knocked off the Scarlet Knights, 71-59. The Bearcats trailed by as many as 16 to St. John’s in the first half, making it the second-largest come-from-behind victory in Mick Cronin’s tenure at UC.

·         UC’s other halftime comebacks this season came against UNLV (Nov. 29) and Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 20).

·         Trailing the Colonels, 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.

·         Cincinnati trailed Eastern Kentucky, 30-15, at 7:19 of the first half on Dec. 20 before mounting its comeback.

·         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.

 

BOUNCING BACK

·         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 on Jan. 7 posting his 16th career game with 20 or more points on 8-of-16 shooting. He also added a career-high tying seven rebounds.

·         After being held to six points vs. Providence a couple weeks later on Jan. 19, Vaughn bounced back again, this time with a game-high 23 points at St. John’s (Jan. 22) — 20 of which were scored in the second half.

·         For the fifth time this season, Vaughn was held below 10 points at Villanova (Feb. 1), scoring eight points on 3-of-14 shooting.

·         Vaughn again responded with a season-high 34 points vs. Notre Dame (Feb. 4)