Men's Basketball Heads to DC for Regular-Season Finale
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March 5, 2010

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Game 30: Cincinnati at No. 19/20 Georgetown

Saturday, March 6 | Noon | Verizon Center (20,600) | Washington, D.C. | TV: ESPN360 | Radio: 700 WLW

 

THE MATCH-UP

The Cincinnati Bearcats (16-13, 7-10 BIG EAST) head to the nation’s capital on Saturday, March 6 to take on No. 19/20 Georgetown (19-9, 9-8 BIG EAST) at Noon in their final game of BIG EAST Conference regular-season play. At 7-10 in BIG EAST play, the Bearcats are tied for 11th place with the University of Connecticut and are just one game behind USF and Seton Hall, who are tied for ninth at 8-9. UC and Georgetown are both 1-4 in their last five games and have each dropped their last two in a row. Cincinnati dropped its last two games, losing at No. 8/7 West Virginia, 74-68, and vs. No. 9/9 Villanova, 77-73. Saturday’s game will be telecast on ESPN360.com with John Castleberry (play-by-play) and John Celestand (analyst) handling the call. Dan Hoard (play-by-play) and Chuck Machock (analyst) will call the game on 700 WLW.

 

THE SERIES

Cincinnati and Georgetown are meeting for the seventh time since the series began when UC joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2005-06. The Hoyas won the first four meetings, but the Bearcats swept Georgetown last season, winning in Cincinnati, 65-57, and rallying for a 64-62 overtime victory in Washington. UC is 1-3 vs. the Hoyas at the Verizon Center. Senior guard Deonta Vaughn is the Bearcats career leading scorer vs. Georgetown, averaging 17.2 points per game in five career starts.

 

SCOUTING THE HOYAS

·         Georgetown is ranked No. 19 in the Associated Press poll and No. 20 in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches poll heading into this week and owns a record of 19-9 overall and 9-8 in the BIG EAST Conference.

·         The Hoyas are tied for seventh in the conference with Notre Dame, one game behind sixth place Louisville.

·         GU is 1-4 in its last five games and has lost it last two to Notre Dame, 78-64, on Feb. 27 and at West Virginia, 81-68, on Monday (March 1).

·         Georgetown is 11-4 at home this season in the Verizon Center, but are just 5-3 in BIG EAST play.

·         The Hoyas are ranked ninth in the BIG EAST in scoring offense, averaging 73.0 points per game. They are led by the BIG EAST’s 10th-leading scorer Austin Freeman (17.0 ppg).

·         Freeman missed the Hoyas last game vs. West Virginia on Monday and saw limited action in Georgetown’s loss at Notre Dame. Freeman was diagnosed with diabetes this week.

·         Freeman is one of four players averaging 10 or more points a game for GU (Greg Monroe - 15.9 ppg; Chris Wright -14.1 ppg; Jason Clark - 10.3 ppg).

·         Monroe (9.4 rpg) is the team’s top rebounder and ranks fourth in the BIG EAST.

·         Georgetown is the BIG EAST’s second-best shooting team, knocking down 49.9 percent of its shots from the field, trailing only Syracuse (.518).

·         The Hoyas are also extremely accurate from behind the 3-point line, converting 39.4 percent. Freeman and Clark are among the Top 5 3-point shooters in the league at 47.3 and 43.4 percent, respectively.

·         Georgetown ranks ninth in the BIG EAST in rebounding margin at +2.1, 4.6 rebounds off Cincinnati who ranks second in the conference in rebounding margin.

·         GU leads the BIG EAST in rebounding defense allowing opponents just 31.0 boards a game.

 

CURRENT BEARCATS VS. GEORGETOWN

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn and sophomore forward Yancy Gates are the only current Bearcats to average in double figures vs. Georgetowna. Vaughn is averaging 17.2 ppg in five career games vs. GU, while Gates has posted 10.0 ppg in two appearances.

·         In last year’s 64-62 overtime win at the Verizon Center, Vaughn led the team in points (16), rebounds (9), and assists (6) as UC overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half.

 

MARCH 2 — VILLANOVA GAME NOTES

·         Villanova hit 5-of-7 free throws in the final minute to hold on for a 77-73 victory over Cincinnati.

·         UC fell to 3-4 vs. teams ranked in the Top 25 in the Associated Press poll this season.

·         The Bearcats outscored the Wildcats 34-16 in points in the paint and 17-11 in points off turnovers.

·         VU had seven second-chance points in the first 5:35 of the contest, but Cincinnati outscored Villanova 15-0 for the remainder of the game in second-chance points.

·         The Wildcats shot 47.6 percent (10-of-21) from 3-point range and 71.4 percent (25-of-35) from the free throw line, compared to 23.3 percent (7-of-30) from behind-the-arc and 66.7 percent (14-of-21) from the charity stripe for the Bearcats.

·         A 14-0 Cincinnati run from the 5:42 mark to the 2:48 mark of the second half closed a 15-point Villanova lead to one point, 66-65, with 2:48 to play.

·         Cincinnati went scoreless from the field in the first 6:07 of the second half and the Wildcats went on a 12-1 run to take a 43-32 lead with 13:53 to play.

·         Senior Deonta Vaughn scored UC’s final six points of the first half and the Bearcats held Villanova to one made field goal over the final eight minutes to erase a 10-point deficit and tie the game at 31 entering the intermission

·         An 11-2 run by Villanova from the 10:53 mark to the 8:20 mark helped the Wildcats open a 26-16 lead with 8:20 remaining in the first half.

·         Vaughn scored 14 points in the first half on 5-of-7 shooting from the floor. The 14 points in a half ties for the most points scored in a half by a UC player this season. Vaughn finished with 18 points in his final regular-season game in Fifth Third Arena.

·         Vaughn became the fourth player in UC history to score over 1,800 points in a career with his 18 points against Villanova, joining Oscar Robertson (2,973 points), Steve Logan (1,985 points), and Danny Fortson (1,881 points). Vaughn also moved into a tie for third on UC’s career steals list, tying Eddie Lee with 163 career thefts.

·         Junior Rashad Bishop hit 8-of-14 field goals and posted a team-high 19 points off the bench for UC.

·         Sophomore Yancy Gates scored 13 points and went a perfect 7-of-7 from the free throw line. The seven free throw attempts and makes are both season highs.

·         Freshman Lance Stephenson scored 12 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds for Cincinnati. It is the third straight game that Stephenson has led the team or tied for a team-high in rebounds.

·         Villanova’s Scottie Reynolds scored all 17 of his points in the second half.

·         Vaughn and senior Steve Toyloy combined to score 10 of Cincinnati’s first 12 points over the opening 7:44 of the game.

 

BATTLES AT THE TOP

·         To improve in the BIG EAST standings, teams will face some of the nation’s toughest competition and many of the top team’s in the polls.

·         This season, Cincinnati has battled throughout the season, looking to climb up the standings and into the national rankings, but has suffered several close set-backs along the way.

·         Of the Bearcats 13 losses, 10 have been decided by eight points or less.

·         Despite a record of 0-5 vs. the Top 5 team’s in the BIG EAST, UC lost four of the games (Villanova - 4; West Virginia - 6; Pittsburgh - 3; Marquette - 3) by a combined 16 points.

·         UC also held second-half leads in four of the games, including a six-point lead over Syracuse.

 

GETTING DOWN TO THE END

·         Over the final three weeks of the season, UC has faced three of the nation’s top 20 teams (No. 10/8 West Virginia, No. 9/9 Villanova, and No. 19/20 Georgetown).

·         UC’s final three opponents own a combined record of 66-20 (.786).

·         The Bearcats faced No. 8/7 West Virginia in Morgantown last Saturday and fell to the Mountaineers, 74-68.

·         In the regular-season home finale, Cincinnati battled back from down double digits in the second half, but came up short vs. Villanova, 77-73.

 

RESUME BUILDING — UC VS. RANKED OPPONENTS

·         The Bearcats are ranked No. 65 in the RPI (as of March 3) thanks to having the nation’s 14th toughest schedule, which includes 12 teams in the RPI Top 50.

·         UC is 3-4 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 losses were to No. 23 Pittsburgh, 74-71, on Jan. 4 (Cincinnati’s first loss at home this season), to No. 3 Syracuse, 71-54, on Feb. 7, No. 8 West Virginia, 74-68, on Feb. 27, and No. 9 Villanova, 77-73, on March 2.

·         Cincinnati is 114-172 (.399) all-time vs. opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including a 23-23 (.500) 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 6-20 vs. ranked opponents under Cronin.

 

TOUGH TIMES ON THE ROAD

·         The Bearcats are 2-8 in away games this season and have a record of 9-35 (.205) in road games under Mick Cronin.

·         Both of Cincinnati’s road wins have come in conference play. The first road win of the season came at Rutgers on Jan. 2, 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.

·         The second road win of the season came against Connecticut on Feb. 13, when UC defeated UConn, 60-48 in Hartford.

·         UC has shot 40.1 percent and averaged 62.7 points per game on the road this season compared to 48.0 percent shooting and 75.8 points in Fifth Third Arena.

·         Cincinnati’s 3-point shooting struggles the most on the road as the Bearcats are converting just 50-of-191 (.262) treys away from home, compared to 34.0 percent at home (86-of-253).

·         Taking care of the ball is also a weakness on the road as UC is giving up 14.4 turnovers per game, compared to its season average of 13.6.