Cincinnati to Play Syracuse in Semifinals on Friday
Senior forward Yancy Gates

Senior forward Yancy Gates

March 9, 2012

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The fourth-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats (23-9) battle top-seed and second-ranked Syracuse (31-1) in a semifinal matchup in the 2012 BIG EAST Championship in Madison Square Garden on Friday at 7 p.m. ET. The contest will be televised by ESPN and can be heard on 700 WLW-AM.

UC is coming off a 72-70 double-overtime win over fifth-seed Georgetown. Yancy Gates scored a season-high 23 points to go with eight rebounds and three steals. Cashmere Wright totaled 10 to go with five steals and four assists and scored the game-winning layup with six seconds left. The win is the Bearcats sixth it their last seven games and advances UC to its first appearance in a BIG EAST Championship semifinal.

Syracuse advanced to the semifinal round following a 58-55 win over ninth-seed Connecticut. Dion Waiters led all scorers with 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting.

Syracuse has won the last four meetings with Cincinnati, including a 60-53 decision at Fifth Third Arena on Jan. 23. The Orange lead the series 7-2 and is 1-0 against the Bearcats at neutral sites. Syracuse handed UC a 74-73 setback in the first round of the 2006 BIG EAST Championship.

UC's History at the BIG EAST Championship:
Sixth tournament appearance; UC is 4-5 all-time at the BIG EAST Championship advancing to the quarterfinal round each of the past two seasons. UC is 1-2 all-time in the quarterfinal round.
Last Year: Cincinnati received a first-round bye as the No. 7 seed; defeated No. 15 USF 87-61 in the second round; and
lost to No. 2 seed Notre Dame 89-51 in the quarterfinals.
Mick Cronin is in his sixth season at Cincinnati (110-86); ninth season overall (179-110).
Cronin is 4-4 at the BIG EAST Championship and 1-5 vs. Syracuse.
Ranking: Cincinnati was not ranked in the Associated Press or the USA Today/ESPN Coaches poll for March 5.
Radio: 700 WLW; Dan Hoard provides play-by-play alongside color analyst Chuck Machock. Paul Shrager engineers.
TV: ESPN and ESPN 3D; Announcers include: Sean McDonough, Jay Bilas and Bill Raftery.
UC Twitter Page: @GoBEARCATS

The Bearcats are making the school's first appearance in the semifinal round of the BIG EAST Championship.

-Cincinnati set the school record for BIG EAST Conference wins, posting a 12-6 league mark.

-The Bearcats No. 4 seed in the BIG EAST Championship is their highest in six tournament appearances. UC earned its first double bye at the BIG EAST Championship.

-The Bearcats recorded six wins over ranked teams during the regular season while finishing 5-4 against the RPI Top 50 and 7-6 against the RPI 100 (as of March 4).

-UC's seven road wins this season (all games) ranked second in the BIG EAST to Syracuse (9). The Bearcats finished first in the league last season with eight road wins (all games).

-UC has played in a BIG EAST-high 14 games decided by five or less points or in overtime this season. Its nine wins in such games also lead the conference. Five of UC's nine losses this season have been decided by a margin of two points or in overtime.

-Sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick was named Second Team All-BIG EAST Conference on March 4. He ranked 15th in the league in scoring (14.6 ppg) and tied for first in three-pointers per game ( 2.45).

-Senior forward Yancy Gates is the sixth player in school history to amass at least 1,400 points and 875 rebounds.

-Cashmere Wright has 12 steals over the last two games and his 66 steals this season are tied for the most in single-season school history (Brian Williams, 1976-77; David Kennedy, 1978-79).  He has 96 assists and 37 turnovers over his last 22 games (2.6-to-1 assists-to-turnovers ratio).

-Cincinnati is 6-3 against ranked opponents this season, having won its last three games.