Men's Basketball Heads to BIG EAST Championship

Alvin Mitchell
Men's Basketball |

March 8, 2009


Tuesday, March 10 l Noon EST l Madison Square Garden (19,763) l New York, N.Y. l





The Cincinnati Bearcats (18-13, 8-10 BIG EAST) open postseason play vs. DePaul (8-23, 0-18 BIG EAST), the No. 16 seed in the BIG EAST Championship, on Tuesday, March 10 at Noon EST. UC, the No. 9 seed in the tournament, is looking to put a difficult end to the regular season behind it and start fresh. The Bearcats come into the BIG EAST Championship losing five of its last six games, including their last three in a row. Cincinnati dropped its regular-season finale Saturday at home to Seton Hall, 67-63, despite a 18-point, six-rebound performance by junior Deonta Vaughn. DePaul comes into the BIG EAST Championship looking for its first win against a conference opponent this season. The conference's official website,, will have live video streaming of Tuesday's game with UC's Manager of New Media Tom Gelehrter handling the play-by-play duties and Dalen Cuff providing analysis. The game can also be heard live on the radio on 700 WLW.



·         DePaul owns a record of 8-23 overall and finished 16th in the BIG EAST Conference at 0-18.

·         DePaul is 2-13 away from the Prudential Center this season in away and neutral site games, including a mark of 0-9 in the BIG EAST. The two road wins came at UIC (67-63, Nov. 22) and vs. Saint Louis (65-61, Dec. 22) in the Las Vegas Classic.

·         The Blue Demons rank 14th in the league in overall scoring at 63.9 ppg, while it allows its opponents 72.6 ppg, also 14th in the conference.

·         DePaul has three players averaging 10 or more points per game, led by sophomore Dar Tucker's 18.2 ppg. Tucker ranks seventh overall in the BIG EAST in points.

·         Joining Hazel in double figures on the team are Will Walker (14.0 ppg) and Mac Koshwal (12.6 ppg).

·         Koshwal leads the team in rebounding with 9.8 rebounds per contest and fifth overall in the BIG EAST.

·         Walker is the Blue Demon's top 3-point threat, knocking down 36.7 percent of his attempts. His 65 made 3-points are 11 more than Tucker (54).

·         Jeremiah Kelly is the team's top assist man averaging 2.2 helpers per game.



·         Tuesday's game will be the 35th meeting between Cincinnati and DePaul and the seventh since UC joined the BIG EAST. 

·         The Bearcats hold a 30-14 lead in the series, which began in 1949-50. 

·         The Bearcats took this year's regular-season match-up between the two schools, 59-55, in Chicago on Jan. 17. The Bearcats led by as many as 15, 54-39, with 7:07 to play and held on for their second BIG EAST Conference win of the year. Deonta Vaughn scored a game-high 18 points in the win.

·         Deonta Vaughn is the Bearcats active career leading scorer vs. the Blue Demons, averaging 11.3 ppg. He also posts 3.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game vs. DePaul.



·         UC is are 18-15 overall in Madison Square Garden.

                     14-9 at the Garden that stood at Eighth Ave. between 49th and 50th and was in use between 1925 and 1968.

                     4-6 at the current facility located on Seventh Ave. between 31st and 33rd.

·         UC played its first game in Madison Square Garden on February 23, 1950 and defeated No. 10-ranked Long Island University, 83-65.

·         On Jan. 9, 1958, Oscar Robertson scored 56 of Cincinnati's 118 points against Seton Hall in Madison Square Garden as a sophomore, single-handedly outscoring the Pirates (54 points).­ Robertson recorded another 50-point game against Iowa as a senior at MSG. 

·         As a team, the Bearcats won the Holiday Festival Tournament in the Garden in 1959 and 1961 and captured third-place in the 1955 NIT.

·         During one of UC's games at the Garden in 1952, the play of the Bearcats caught the eye of a high school athlete from Brooklyn named Sandy Koufax.  Koufax ended up attending UC on a basketball scholarship where he played freshmen basketball and then baseball.  He was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers while attending UC in 1953-54 and went on to have a Hall of Fame career as one of baseball's all-time great pitchers.


·         Playing in just its fourth season in the BIG EAST Conference, Cincinnati returns to Madison Square Garden for the third time to play in the BIG EAST Championship.

·         The Bearcats are 0-2 in the BIG EAST Championship, losing to Syracuse, 74-73, in 2006 and to Pittsburgh, the eventual tournament champion, 70-64, last year.

·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn finished with 30 points in his Madison Square Garden debut last season vs. Pittsburgh, and at one point scored 20 straight for UC over a more than 10-minute stretch in the second half.

·         Despite being three years removed from its first visit to the BIG EAST Championship, no player or coach on this season's UC roster participated in the Bearcats' 74-73 loss to Syracuse in 2006.

·         UC head coach Mick Cronin has plenty of postseason experience as he coached in three straight Ohio Valley Conference Tournaments, winning titles in 2004 and 2006 and advancing to the NCAA Tournament. His all-time record is 6-2 in conference tournaments.



·         Seton Hall stormed back for a 67-63 overtime win, tying the series at 5-5 and improving its win streak to two over Cincinnati.

·         With the score tied at seven at the 14:45 mark of the first half, UC went on a 13-1 run and pushed out to a 20-8 lead with 8:35 left in the half. Mike Williams scored six of UC's 13 points in that run.

·         Seton Hall went on a 12-6 run over the final 5:42 of the first half to pull within eight, 30-22. Cincinnati has now lost two consecutive games with a halftime lead and is 11-2 this season when leading at the half.

·         The Bearcats scored eight points off of turnovers in the first stanza and were led by Williams and Deonta Vaughn, who each scored eight points. Williams, who has missed the last three games with an injury, matched his highest scoring performance since the Louisville game on Feb. 21 in the first half against Seton Hall.

·         Seton Hall used a 10-3 run over 2:35 to pull within three, 35-32, with 15:48 remaining in the game.

·         With the score 43-42, Cincinnati went on an 8-0 run to take its largest second half lead (nine) with 7:26 to go, 51-42.

·         Seton Hall responded with a 10-0 run over the next 2:14 to take a 52-51 lead with 4:22 remaining.

·         A Vaughn three-pointer tied the game at 55 with 1:52 to go. The Bearcats stopped Seton Hall's final attempt sending the game into overtime; only the third time UC has played in overtime this season.

·         UC is now 2-1 when playing in overtime this season and 6-2 in Mick Cronin's three years at Cincinnati.

·         In overtime, the Pirates connected on their first four free throws and pushed out to a 61-57 lead with 2:04 left, a lead they would not relinquish.

·         Cincinnati outscored Seton Hall's bench, 17-0, and  held a 30-24 advantage with points in the paint.

·         UC out-rebounded Seton Hall, 48-36. The 48 rebounds for Cincinnati are the most since grabbing 49 boards against Charleston Southern in non-conference play on Dec. 15. It is the highest rebounding advantage UC has held in a game since out-rebounding DePaul by 12 on Jan. 17.

·         Senior Branden Miller made his first career start for the Bearcats. The Cincinnati native was honored, along with teammate Mike Williams, prior to the game for Senior Day. Miller finished the game with two rebounds and an assist.

·         Freshman Yancy Gates finished the game with a team-high tying nine rebounds and added six points. The nine rebounds for Gates are the most he has pulled down since 11 rebounds against West Virginia on Feb. 26.

·         Sophomore Rashad Bishop matched his career-high with a team-high tying nine rebounds.

·         Senior Mike Williams scored 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. 

·         Junior Deonta Vaughn scored 18 points, his best scoring performance since notching 16 points at Georgetown on Feb. 7. 

·         Sophomore Larry Davis scored 11 points, dished out a career-high six assists, and had a career-high four steals.



·         One of the Bearcats strengths this season has been its ability to score from 3-point range, but in UC's last two games it has become its achilles heel.

·         Before the game at Syracuse on March 1, the Bearcats were shooting 34.6 percent from behind the arc and were averaging 7.3 3-pointers per game.

·         In the last three games, UC has shot just 26.1 percent (23-of-88) as a team from behind the line. If you remove Vaughn's 35.7 percent shooting (10-of-28) during the stretch, UC is 13 of its last 60 (.216) from behind the line.

·         UC's 88 3-point attempts in the last three games account for 47 percent (88-of-187) of its shots.

·         If you remove the 3-point attempts from the last three games, the Bearcats are shooting 46.5 percent (46-of-99) from inside the arc.




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