Men's Basketball Welcomes West Virginia on Thursday

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM Freshman Dion Dixon
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Freshman Dion Dixon
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Men's Basketball |

Feb. 25, 2009

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THE MATCH-UP

The Cincinnati Bearcats (17-10, 7-7 BIG EAST) play just their second game in the last 15 days as they welcome West Virginia (19-8, 8-6 BIG EAST) to Fifth Third Area on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. UC looks to stop a two-game losing streak and pick its eighth win in league play. The Bearcats are currently in ninth place in the conference a half game behind Syracuse for the final first-round bye in the BIG EAST Championship. The Mountaineers are in sixth place in the conference, one game ahead of Cincinnati, and have won three in a row, including a 97-72 win at home vs. No. 10/12 Villanova on Feb. 13. Thursday’s game will be televised on ESPN with Brent Musburger handling the play-by-play, Bob Knight providing analysis, and Holly Rowe as the sideline reporter.

 

THE SERIES

Thursday’s game will be the 16th meeting between Cincinnati and West Virginia.  Cincinnati holds a 9-6 lead in the series, which began in the 1940-41 season.  Last year, UC picked up its largest margin of victory vs. the Mountaineers, winning by 24 (62-39). The Bearcats have won three of the last four meetings, including a 2-1 mark under Mick Cronin. UC is 5-1 at home vs. West Virginia.

 

SCOUTING WEST VIRGINIA

·         West Virginia owns a record of 19-8 overall and are sxith in the BIG EAST Conference with a mark of 8-6.

·         WVU is receiving votes in both the Associated Press Poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll.

·         The Mountaineers have won four of their last five games, including a 93-72 win over No. 10/12 Villanova on Feb. 13.

·         WVU has posted a record of 9-6 away from the WVU Coliseum this season, including a mark of 3-4 in the BIG EAST.

·         West Virginia averages 73.3 points per game and allows 61.4, ranking 10th and 2nd in the BIG EAST, respectively.

·         The Mountaineers rank 19th in the nation in scoring margin (+11.8) and are second in 3-point field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot 27.3 percent from behind the arc.

·         Da’Sean Butler is West Virginia’s leading scorer, ranking sixth in the BIG EAST and 70th nationally with 18.1 points a game. Alex Ruoff, who is 11th in the BIG EAST in scoring, is the only other Mountaineer to average in double figures with 16.1 points per game.

·         Devin Ebanks leads the team with 6.9 rebounds per game to go along with his 9.3 points per contest.

·         West Virginia is 24th in the nation in assists per game with Ruoff (3.6 apg), Darryl Bryant (2.6), and Ebanks (2.3) each averaging over two assists.

·         WVU protects the ball well ranking 32nd in the NCAA in turnovers per game (12.2) and 10th in turnover margin (+4.6).

·         Wellington Smith gives the Mountaineers a defensive presence inside as he is the team’s top shot blocker with 43 of the squad’s 128 swats. He also averages 4.0 rebounds per game, ranking third on the team.

 

PITTSBURGH NOTES - FEB. 14

·         After UC opened the game leading 4-2, Louisville used a 9-0 run over the next 1:26 to lead 11-4 with 16:19 left in the first, after hitting three triples in a row.

·         The Bearcats responded with a 9-2 run of their own to knot things up at 13 apiece with 14:21 left in the half.

·         The first half featured six lead changes.

·         UC had no free throw attempts in the first half.

·         It marked the first time this season the Bearcats did not attempt a free throw in a half this season. UofL was 7-for-8 from the charity stripe. The Bearcats finished 2-for-2 from the line, a season low for makes and attempts. UC’s free throws came with 16:35 of the second half with Yancy Gates sinking a pair.

·         UC outscored Louisville, 11-8, in second-chance points in the opening stanza. Both teams grabbed six first-half offensive rebounds.

·         Cincinnati finished with 19 assists, just two off its season high of 21 vs. Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 20.

·         The Bearcats hit 11 three pointers in the game, marking the 10th straight game and the 22nd time this season UC has hit six or more threes in a game. It was the third time this season the Bearcats knocked down 11 or more threes in a game.

·         UC is 11-2 when hitting more than seven triples in a game.

·         UC is now 5-10 this season when trailing at the half.

·         The attendance was 12,350, the second best home crowd this season.

·         Alvin Mitchell finished with a team-high 14 points, his first game in the past five netting double figures and the fifth time this season. He finished with four three pointers, marking the third time in the last four games he has knocked down three triples.

·         Yancy Gates scored all 10 of his points in the second half.

·         Deonta Vaughn had eight assists in the game, his second best total of the season.

·         Mike Williams had four assists, leaving him one short of a season and career high.

·         Vaughn and Williams, who finished with nine and eight points, respectively, were held to a combined two points in the second half.

 

FAMILIAR FACES AND PLACES

·         Tonight will be the second meeting between Cincinnati head coach Mick Cronin and West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, however their relationship goes back much further.

·         Cronin joined Coach Huggins and UC in 1996-97 as the team’s video coordinator after spending five years as a high school coach.

·         After one year overseeing video, Cronin was named an assistant coach at UC and spent the next four years with Coach Huggins, compiling a record of 108-26 (.806) and going to four straight NCAA Tournaments.

·         This will be Bob Huggins’ first visit to Fifth Third Arena since his departure following the 2004-05 season.

·         All fans entering Fifth Third Arena the night of the game will receive a two-sided sign: one side stating “THANKS HUGGS” and the other “GO BEARCATS”.

·         A video tribute will also be played pregame honoring Huggins and the student-athletes who played him during his 16 years at UC.

 

HITTING THE GLASS

·         The match up of West Virginia vs. Cincinnati will feature two of the nation’s top rebounding teams.

·         West Virginia is 52nd in the nation averaging 37.9 rebounds per game and a +5.0 rebounding margin (t-28th in the NCAA).

·         Cincinnati is 75th in the NCAA in rebounds per game with 37.6 per game and owns a +4.4 rebounding margin, which is 47th in the nation.

·         Both teams fare extremely well rebounding on the offensive end of the floor with the Mountaineers ranking 12th in the country with 14.8 offensive rebounds per game and the Bearcats tied for 20th with 14.3 rpg. Cincinnati pulls in 43.4 percent (385 of 888) of its missed shots, while WVU collects 44.0 percent (400 of 909).

 

MORE MINUTES, MORE SCORING

·         After sitting out two seasons, including last season when he was rehabbing from a ruptured Achilles tendon, it took Mike Williams time to get his “legs” back under him.

·         Since the start of BIG EAST play, Williams has averaged 31.4 minutes per game in comparison to 24.1 minutes in non-conference action.

·         Those extra 7.3 minutes have meant an additional 3.7 points per game for Cincinnati.

 

“D” THE THREE:

·         In the past six games, Cincinnati has gone 4-3 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 seven contests, UC has held Notre Dame, Villanova, Georgetown (2), Pittsburgh, St. John’s and Louisville to a combined 33-of-104 from behind the arc (.317).

·         Notre Dame, Villanova, and Georgetown 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.

 

REVERSAL OF FORTUNE

·         After starting out 0-3 in conference action, UC has won seven of its last 11 games.

·         In the first three conference games, junior Deonta Vaughn averaged 13.0 ppg, and shot 30-percent from behind-the-arc. Over the last 11 games, Vaughn is averaging 16.5 ppg and is shooting 36.4 percent from three.

·         Freshman Yancy Gates has established himself in the post over the last 11 games as his scoring average went from 10.0 ppg over the first three league games to 10.5 over the last 11. Gates is also averaging 0.9 bpg over the stretch after having just one total block in the first three league contests.

·         Another telling stat for UC is during its first three conference opponents, the Bearcats went to the line just over 11 times per game on average. Since the loss to Connecticut on Jan. 10, Cincinnati is averaging just under 18 free throw attempts per game (17.9).

 

WORKING TOGETHER AS ONE

·         Throughout the entire season, UC’s primary scoring has come from either junior Deonta Vaughn, freshman Yancy Gates, and senior Mike Williams.

·         Over the past five games, those three players are all averaging in double figures (Vaughn - 16.4 ppg; Gates - 12.2 ppg; Williams - 11.6 ppg), but it has been the emergence of sophomore Larry Davis and freshman Dion Dixon that have given the Bearcats a much needed scoring presence out of the shooting guard position.

·         In the last five games, Dixon and Davis are averaging 23.6 and 24.6 minutes per game, respectively. In that amount of work, the duo is combining to score  20.0 ppg, grab 3.6 rpg, and dish out 3.2 apg.

·         Dixon and Davis also have combined to shoot 58.7 percent from the floor and 51.7 percent from three-point range.

·         Since playing at Villanova on Feb. 1, the shooting guard position has outscored every other position on the floor for UC.

 

CLASSIC TRIO

·         In Cincinnati’s win over St. John’s, freshman Yancy Gates scored 21 points, junior Deonta Vaughn scored 14, and senior Mike Williams added 12 points, marking the fifth time this season that all three players have scored 10-plus points in a game.

·         UC is 4-1 in the games where Gates, Vaughn, and Williams score in double-figures — vs. UAB (Dec. 6), Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 20), Connecticut (Jan. 10), Georgetown (Feb. 7), and St. John’s (Feb. 11) .

·         In those five games, Vaughn is averaging 17.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg, and 5.4 apg. Gates is averaging 14.4 ppg, 6.8 rpg, while Williams is scoring 13.4 ppg and grabbing 8.4 rpg.

 

UC VS. RANKED OPPONENTS

·         Cincinnati is 113-166 (.405) all-time vs. opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including a 22-20 (.524) record in Fifth Third Arena.

·         UC is 1-7 vs. teams ranked in both the AP or ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll this season and 1-5 vs. teams ranked in the Associated Press Poll.

·         Last season, head coach Mick Cronin led the Bearcats to a pair of home wins vs. ranked teams, beating No. 19 Villanova, 69-66, and No. 15 Pittsburgh, 62-59.

·         UC is 3-15 vs. ranked opponents under Cronin.

 

DOWN THE STRETCH THEY COME …

·         Of the four remaining teams on UC’s schedule all but one own a winning record (USF – 8-18) and they have a combined mark of 61-46 (.570).

·         Cincinnati is currently 53rd in the RPI Ratings and owns the nation’s 23rd toughest schedule.

·         UC is 1-5 vs. ranked teams in the AP poll and 1-7 vs. teams ranked in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches’ Poll. Its one win in both polls came in a 65-57 decision vs. then-No. 25/23 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

1.    Pittsburgh             L, 85-69

6.    Connecticut           L, 81-72

9.    Villanova              L, 71-50

10.   Memphis              L, 60-45

12.   Louisville              L, 72-69

13.   Xavier                 L, 76-66

14.   West Virginia          Feb. 26

17.   Florida State         L, 58-47

21.   Marquette            L, 84-50

25.   Syracuse              March 1

39.   UAB                   W, 87-80

48.   Georgetown W, 65-57; W, 64-62

49.   UNLV                  W, 67-65

 

DYNAMIC DAVIS

·         Sophomore Larry Davis had been struggling to find his shot the seven games prior to the Notre Dame game on Feb. 4, scoring 19 combined points.

·         In his last five outings, Davis has scored 58 points, third-most on the team.

·         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.

·         In the Bearcats’ 64-62 come-from-behind win at Georgetown, he scored all 11 of his points in the second half, including three 3-pointers.

·         Davis scored seven consecutive points in the second-half at No. 4/4 Pitt, helping the Bearcats close within as few as six points in the second half. Davis finished the contest with 13 points, his third double-figure scoring game in the last five outings.

 

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 11 games since, the Bearcats have won seven thanks to a much improved defense that is holding opponents to 67.0 points per game, 16.8 points fewer per outing than the first three conference games (84.0 ppg).

·         Below is a comparison of UC’s first three BIG EAST games to the last 11:

 

Category First Three Last 11 Dif.

Record          0-3      7-4     

Points          67.0     67.2   +0.2

Points Allowed 84.0    67.0  -17.0

Scoring Margin -17.0 +0.2 +17.2

FG Percentage 41.6   43.5   +1.9

FG Percentage Def.  55.3   44.4     -10.9

3-PT Percentage 28.8 37.6   +8.8

3-PT Percentage Def. 54.7   31.1     -23.6

Rebounds     32.7     33.1   +0.4

Opponent Rebounds  32.0   33.9     +1.9

Rebounding Margin   +0.7    -0.8     -1.5

 

THE POD RACE

·         As part of the BIG EAST’s 18-game league schedule, Cincinnati faced 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.

·         The Bearcats went 4-2 vs. teams in their pod this season, including a sweep of Georgetown and St. John’s.

 

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 maturing as they are 5-6 overall away from Fifth Third Arena, including 3-4 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 8-24 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 38.7 percent on the road compared to 46.1 percent at home.

·         UC also has a difficult time with the caroms as opponents hold the Bearcats to 33.8 rebounds per game on the road compared to 39.5 at home.

·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn averages just 12.6 points per game away from Fifth Third Arena compared to 17.1 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 to find his game and become more at ease vs. BIG EAST competition.

·         In the nine games since scoring five points at DePaul on Jan. 17, Dixon is fourth on the team in scoring, averaging 8.9 points. he is shooting 49.1 (27-of-55) from the floor and 46.9 (15-of-32) from 3-point range.

·         Dixon has scored in double figures five times during the nine-game stretch, including 10 points in each  of the Bearcats last three games. In total he has nine double-digit games this season.

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


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.

·         UC completed its 64-62 come-from-behind win at Georgetown on Feb. 7 scoring all five overtime points from the free throw line on 5-of-6 shooting.

·         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 13 games, UC has turned the ball over an average of 12.2 times per game (159 turnovers).

·         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.

 

“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 eight rebounds in the game.

·         The group has started every game since Rutgers and has a record of 6-4 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.

·         After a DaJuan Summer’s 3-pointer that put Georgetown up 52-44 with 7:19 remaining on Feb. 7, Cincinnati held the Hoyas to 1-of-12 shooting from the field over the remainder of regulation and overtime. Georgetown was 0-for-8 in overtime.

·         Against St. John’s on Feb. 11, UC held St. John’s to 28.1 percent shooting from the field in the first half as the Bearcats opened up a 39-22 halftime lead. For the game, Cincinnati held St. John’s to 22.2 percent (4-of-18) shooting from behind-the-arc.

 

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 3.5 ppg over the final 10 minutes.

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

·         Dion Dixon is the Bearcats leading scorer down the stretch this year, posting 3.6 points per contest, 0.1 ahead of Vaughn (3.5 ppg). Dixon and Vaughn have also received help from Mike Williams (3.3), 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 the team averaging 5.2 ppg in the final 10 minutes of games, while Vaughn is averaging 4.2 ppg during that stretch.

 

SPREADING THE WEALTH

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn is seventh in overall games and eighth in conference-only games with 4.74 and 4.9 assists per game, respectively.

·         With his 10 assists at Marquette on Jan. 4, Vaughn surpassed 300 assists for his career. He has 359 assists in his career and needs 48 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.

·         He posted eight against Louisville (Feb. 21) last Saturday, his second highest total of the year.

·         In the seven games this season in which Vaughn has not scored in double figures, he has contributed in another way, averaging 5.71 assists per game.

 

BATTLING BACK

·         One thing that UC has improved on this season is knowing how to battle from behind when trailing at halftime, owning a record of 5-10 when trailing at the break. Last year, Cincinnati was 3-15 when behind at the half.

·         Down by five at halftime and as many as 12 in the second half at Georgetown (Feb. 11), the Bearcats rallied to beat the Hoyas, 64-62 for their fifth win of the season when trailing at intermission. UC rallied back by holding Georgetown to one field goal in the final 7:19 of regulation and overtime. In the extra period, GU went 0-for-8 from the field.

·         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. 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.

·         On Jan. 14 vs. Rutgers, Cincinnati fought back from a half-time deficit for the third time this season and knocked off the Scarlet Knights, 71-59.

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

·         Trailing Eastern Kentucky, 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.

·         Vaughn has been held under 10 points in his career 23 times, including UC’s last two games vs. Pittsburgh (Feb. 14) and Louisville (Feb. 21). It marks the first time this year, Vaughn has been held under 10 points in consecutive games.

·         For his career, Vaughn is averaging 16.6 ppg in 22 games following single-digit point performances.

·         During his freshman and sophomore season’s, Vaughn averaged 15.1 ppg and 15.8 ppg, respectively, in games following single-digit scoring performances.

·         This season, Vaughn is averaging 19.8 ppg in games following single-digit scoring contests.

·         10 times in his career Vaughn has followed up a single-digit point performance with a 20-plus point performance, including three 30-plus point performances.

·         He is averaging 16.9 ppg since being shutout, including five 20-plus point performances.

 

GATES LEADING THE WAY

·         Freshman Yancy Gates has begun to step up his game and provide UC a presence on the blocks.

·         Gates is second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.4 points per game, and first in rebounding with 5.9 boards per contest.

·         He also is second on the team with a 49.4 shooting percentage (121-of-245).

·         Gates had arguably one of his finest performances of the season against St. John’s (Feb. 11) scoring a season-high 21 points on 8-of-11 shooting, while adding six rebounds.

·         Against Notre Dame (Feb. 4), Gates put together a strong performance vs. Luke Harangody with 15 points and eight rebounds in 21 minutes of action.

·         In two match-ups vs. Georgetown freshman phenom Greg Monroe, Gates averaged 10.0 points, pulled in 5.5 rebounds, and swatted away 2.5 shots. His four blocks in the first match-up are a career-high.

·         After scoring just two points against Xavier on Dec. 13, Gates has turned in 12 double-digit scoring nights in the past 19 games, including one 20-plus point performance.

·         The Cincinnati native has 16 double-figure scoring games this season and Cincinnati is 12-4 when he scores in double-figures.

·         His lone double-double of the season came in the season opener vs. South Dakota (Nov. 16).

 

FIFTH THIRD ADVANTAGE

·         UC is 12-4 at home this season, including 4-3 in BIG EAST games, including a win vs. Notre Dame at U.S. Bank Arena on Feb. 4.

·         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 265-54 (.833) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 32-19 at home (.627).

 

TALE OF THE TAPE

·         In Cincinnati’s 17 wins this season, UC is averaging 8.1 3-pointers per game and 15.9 assists per game compared to 13.5 turnovers per game.

·         However, in UC’s 10 losses, the Bearcats are averaging just 6.1 made 3-pointers per game, while averaging 12.9 assists per game compared to 15.0 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 +9.0 in wins compared to -3.5 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 (Dec. 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 (Dec. 22) thanks to three 3-pointers from Vaughn.

·         From the 12:10 to the 8:38 mark of the first half vs. DePaul (Jan. 17), Vaughn scored 10 of his game-high 18 points, which included a four-point play.

·         Vaughn scored 20 of his game-high 23 points in the second-half, including a 10-0 run by himself to put Cincinnati ahead for good at St. John’s (Jan. 22).

·         From the tip against Notre Dame (Feb. 4), Vaughn could not be stopped as he scored a season-high 34 points, the fifth 30-point game of his career. Vaughn scored 18 of his 34 points in the second half.

 

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 227-of-656 (.346) 3-point field goal attempts in 89 career games, while Flint was 177-of-593 (.298) over his four-year career.

·         Vaughn is 31 treys behind Steve Logan (1998-2002) for fourth place.

·         With two treys vs. Rutgers on Jan. 14, Vaughn became just the fifth player in school history to record 200 3-point baskets.

·         Darnell Burton is the all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 306.

 

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 9.9 points and 5.7 rebounds in 27.9 minutes of work.

·         At Providence on Jan. 19, Williams scored a career-high 21 points and pulled down seven rebounds. He shot 10-of-16 from the floor, including his first career 3-pointer.

·         His 78.9 percent (71-of-90) free throw percentage ranks second on the team. He has been clutch at the line in the last three minutes of close contests (10 points or less), knocking down 21-of-27 free throws (.778).

 

BEARCATS JOIN FIELD FOR 2009 MAUI INVITATIONAL

·         The EA Sports Maui Invitational announced 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.

 

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 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 eligible 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 OSU.

 

FAST-PACED RACE

·         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.

·         Vaughn and Robertson have one other thing in common. They are also the only two players in program history to lead the team in scoring and assists in back-to-back seasons. Vaughn could make it a three-peat this year.

·         Following is a list of the 10 fastest players to 1,000 career points in UC history.

 

Rk. Player     Seasons Gms to 1000

1.  Oscar Robertson (3) 1958-60 29

2.  Lloyd Batts (3) 1972-74     52

3.  Ron Bohnam (3) 1962-64   58

4.  Danny Fortson (3) 1995-97 59

     Derrek Dickey (3) 1971-73 59

5.  Herb Jones (2) 1991-92     61

6.  Jim Ard (3) 1968-70         63

       Deonta Vaughn (2) 2007- 63

8.  Jack Twyman (4) 1952-55 66

9.  Rick Roberson (3) 1967-69 66

10. Paul Hogue (3) 1960-62     68

     Jim Holstein (3) 1950-52    68

 

RETURN TO POSTSEASON

·         Cincinnati played in the postseason for the first time in two years as it took on Bradley University of the Missouri Valley Conference in the inaugural, 16-team College Basketball Invitational (CBI) last spring.

·         UC’s last postseason appearance before the CBI came during the 2005-06 season when the Bearcats played in the National Invitational Tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals.

·         It was the Bearcats 34th postseason tournament appearance. UC has made 24 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and nine in the NIT.

 

A “BIG” EAST IMPROVEMENT

·         Last season, the Bearcats made a six-win improvement in conference wins, going from two victories in 2006-07 to eight in 2007-08.

·         The eight wins equal UC’s inaugural BIG EAST season when it went 8-8 in the old 16-game format.

·         The Bearcats’ six-win improvement tied for the ninth-largest single-season turnaround in BIG EAST history with six other teams.

 


 

 

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