Men's Basketball Takes on Orange in Carrier Dome
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Feb. 28, 2009

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GAME 29: Cincinnati At SYRACUSE

Sunday, March 1 l 2 p.m. EST l Carrier Dome (33,633) l Syracuse, New York l BIG EAST Network

 

THE MATCH-UP

The Cincinnati Bearcats (18-10, 8-7 BIG EAST) play their second game in the three days when they travel to the Carrier Dome to play Syracuse (20-8; 8-7 BIG EAST) in a key BIG EAST Conference match-up on Sunday, March 1 at 2 p.m. UC looks for its ninth conference win of the year against Syracuse after improving to 8-7 in conference action with a 65-61 win over West Virginia on Wednesday. The Bearcats are currently tied for seventh in the confernece with West Virginia and Syracuse. Syracuse has won two of its last three contests and the Orange are 14-3 when playing at the Carrier Dome this season. Sunday's game will be televised on the BIG EAST Network and will be carried locally on Fox Sports Ohio with Bob Picozzi handling the play-by-play duties and John Celestand providing analysis.

 

THE SERIES

Sunday's game will be the sixth meeting between Cincinnati and Syracuse.  Syracuse holds a 3-2 lead in the series, which began in the 2005-06 season, when UC joined the BIG EAST.  Last year, UC picked up an eight-point victory over the Orange, 74-66, giving the Bearcats their first victory over Syracuse in Fifth Third Arena. UC owns a record of 1-1 when playing at the Carrier Dome, which was a 17-point victory (82-65) on Feb. 15, 2006.

 

 

SCOUTING SYRACUSE

·         Syracuse owns a record of 20-8 overall and is tied for seventh in the BIG EAST Conference with a mark of 8-7.

·         The Orange are receiving votes in both the Associated Press Poll and the ESPN/USA Today Coaches' Poll.

·         Syracuse has won two of its last three games, with its loss coming at No. 10/12 Villanova.

·         The Orange play extremely well in the Carrier Dome, evidenced by a 14-3 home mark.

·         Syracuse averages 80.0 points per game and allows 71.9, ranking second and 12th in the BIG EAST, respectively.

·         The Orange rank 14th in the nation in field goal percentage (.490) and are 12th nationally in 3-point field goal defense, allowing opponents to shoot 30.1 percent from behind the arc.

·         Jonny Flynn leads the Syracuse offensive attack averaging 17.4 ppg. He is one of five Orange players to average in double figures as he is joined by Eric Devendorf (15.9 ppg), Paul Harris (12.7 ppg), Arinze Onuaku (10.9 ppg), and Andy Rautins (10.2 ppg). Flynn's 17.4 ppg ranks ninth in the BIG EAST.

·         Harris also leads the team in rebounding, averaging 8.0 rpg. Onuaku is also a force on the glass, averaging 7.5 rpg.

·         Andy Rautins is one of the top deep threats for Syracuse as he averages 2.70 made 3-pointers per contest.

·         The Orange rank 22nd nationally in blocks per game. Rick Jackson and Onuaku average 1.57 bpg and 1.46 blocks per game, respectively.

·         Syracuse is 10th in the nation in assists per game with Flynn (6.2 apg), Devendorf (3.0), and Rautins (3.0) each averaging over three assists.

 

WEST VIRGINIA NOTES - FEB. 26

·         With the 65-61 win over West Virginia, UC pushed its win streak vs. WVU to two, improved to 10-6 all-time, 6-1 at home, and 3-1 against the Mountaineers under head coach Mick Cronin.

·         With the win, Cincinnati improved to 8-7 in the BIG EAST, which equals the most conference wins since joining the BIG EAST in 2005-06. The Bearcats won eight BIG EAST games in 2005-06 and 2007-08.

·         The Bearcats forced the Mountaineers to shoot 19 percent from the 3-point line, up 14.5 percent from West Virginia's 4.5 three-point field goal percentage against Cincinnati last season.

·         UC is now 6-10 when trailing at the half and improved to 3-0 on the year when recording the same number of rebounds as its opponent.

·         Cincinnati had its highest rebounding performance (37) since its 93-83 victory over Notre Dame on Feb. 4. The Bearcats pulled down 37 rebounds against the Irish.

·         UC outscored WVU, 31-16, in bench points.

·         Trailing by four points, 42-38, with 14:49 remaining, the Bearcats went on a 13-0 run over the next 4:54 to take a 51-42 lead with 9:28 to play.

·         West Virginia took a 33-32 lead into the half as the Mountaineers shot 41.9 percent (13-of-31) from the field. Cincinnati shot 48.3 percent (14-of-29) from the field.

·         From the 16:13 mark to the 12:46 mark of the first half, UC went on a 13-2 run to take a 17-12 lead. Freshman Yancy Gates scored seven points during the run.

·         Gates scored 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting in the first half and also grabbed six rebounds. He finished with a career-high 22 points and matched his career-high with 11 rebounds, recording his second double-double of the season and his first since the season-opener vs. South Dakota on Nov. 16.

·         Gates shot 9-11 from the floor for the game and pulled down a career-high nine defensive rebounds.

·         Junior Deonta Vaughn scored 13 points and dished out three assists.

·         Sophomore Rashad Bishop scored nine points for the Bearcats, his highest point total since scoring 15 points at St. John's on Jan. 22.

·         Sophomore Larry Davis finished with a career-high six rebounds. His previous career-best was five rebounds vs. Western Illinois on Nov. 22, 2008.

·         Gates scored 11 of Cincinnati's first 17 points as the Bearcats took a 17-12 lead with 12:46 to play in the first half.

·         Sophomore Alvin Mitchell earned his third start of the season vs. West Virginia.

 

GATEWAY TO THE POST

·         Freshman Yancy Gates scored a career-high 22 points and tied a career-high with 11 rebounds vs. West Virginia on Feb. 26.

·         The double-double was Gates' second of the season and his first since having 16 points and 11 rebounds in UC's season-opener vs. South Dakota on Nov. 16.

·         The Bearcats are 2-0 on the season when Gates records a double-double.

·         Against the Mountaineers, Gates went 9-for-11 from the field and grabbed nine defensive rebounds, marking season-bests for field goals made and defensive rebounds.

·         Gates is averaging a team-high 13.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg, and is shooting .574 (27-of-47) percent from the floor over the last five contests.

 

MATCHING TOTALS

·         With UC's win over West Virginia on Thursday, Feb. 26, the Bearcats improved to 18-10 overall and 8-7 in BIG EAST play.

·         The eight conference wins matched the most BIG EAST wins for the Bearcats since joining the conference during the 2005-06 season.

·         UC went 8-8 in the BIG EAST in 2005-06 and 8-10 in 2007-08.

·         The Bearcats are also one win away from their first 20-win season since the 2005-06 season and Mick Cronin's first as UC head coach.

 

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 eight games, Cincinnati has gone 5-3 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 eight contests, UC has held Notre Dame, Villanova, Georgetown (2), Pittsburgh, St. John's, Louisville, and West Virginia to a combined 37-of-125 from behind the arc (.296).

·         Notre Dame, Villanova, and Louisville 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.

·         Against the Mountaineers, the Bearcats held WVU to  4-of-21 (19.3 percent) shooting from three, marking the fifth time this season a Bearcat opponent has shot below 20 percent from behind the arc.

 

REVERSAL OF FORTUNE

·         After starting out 0-3 in conference action, UC has won eight of its last 12 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 12 games, Vaughn is averaging 16.2 ppg and is shooting 35.7 percent from three.

·         Freshman Yancy Gates has established himself in the post over the last 12 games as his scoring average went from 10.0 ppg over the first three league games to 11.5 over the last 12. Gates is also averaging 1.0 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 (18.2).

 

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 - 15.8 ppg; Gates - 13.8 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 six games, Dixon and Davis are averaging 23.0 and 24.3 minutes per game, respectively. In that amount of work, the duo is combining to score  18.6 ppg, grab 4.1 rpg, and dish out 3.3 apg.

·         Dixon and Davis also have combined to shoot 53.8 percent from the floor and 45.9 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 three remaining teams on UC's schedule all but one own a winning record (USF - 8-18) and they have a combined mark of 42-38 (.525).

·         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.

 

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 six outings, Davis has scored 65 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.