BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP: Second Round vs. Louisville


Men's Basketball |

March 10, 2010

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Game 32: BIG EAST CHAMPIONSHIP – Cincinnati vs. Louisville

Wednesday, March 10 | 9 p.m. | Madison Square Garden (19,763) | New York, N.Y. | TV: ESPN  Radio: 700 WLW



The Cincinnati Bearcats (17-14, 7-11 BIG EAST), the No. 11-seed in the BIG EAST Championship, knocked off Rutgers in the first round of the tournament, 69-68, with a free throw by Lance Stephenson with 1.8 seconds remaining in the game and will face No. 6 seed Louisville in the second round on Wednesday, March 10 at 9 p.m. EST at Madison Square Gardens. The win snapped the Bearcats three-game losing streak and gave them their first win away from Fifth Third Arena since beating Connecticut, 60-48, on Feb. 13. The Cardinals are 2-2 in their last four games, but closed Freedom Hall in their regular-season finale with a 78-68 win over then-No. 1 Syracuse on March 6. The game will be broadcast on ESPN with Sean McDonough (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst) and Bill Raftery (analyst) on the call. Dan Hoard (pxp) and Chuck Machock (analyst) will call the game on 700 WLW.



For the first time since Cincinnati and Louisville both joined the BIG EAST Conference in 2005-06, the two schools will meet in the BIG EAST Conference Championship. However, this will not be the first time the two long-time foes have met in a conference tournament. Over the history of the 79-year rivalry, the two schools has met six times in conference tournaments. The Cardinals were 3-0 vs. UC as a member of the Metro Conference, but the Bearcats were a perfect 3-0 vs. Louisville in Conference USA. The two last met in the postseason in the first round of the Conference USA Tournament in 2003-04 with Cincinnati winning, 64-62.



·         Freshman Lance Stephenson made a free throw with 1.8 seconds on the clock in regulation as Cincinnati defeated Rutgers, 69-68, in the first round of the BIG EAST Conference Tournament.

·         The win was Cincinnati’s first win in the BIG EAST Championships and UC improved to 1-3 all-time in the BIG EAST Tournament.

·         The win upped the Bearcats all-time record to 19-16 in Madison Square Garden.

·         UC now leads the all-time series 11-3 over Rutgers and has won four consecutive games over the Scarlet Knights.

·         Cincinnati outrebounded Rutgers, 49-31, which included a season-high tying 23 offensive rebounds. UC is 8-1 on the season when grabbing 45-plus rebounds in a game.

·         The Bearcats outscored the Scarlet Knights 20-5 on second-chance points and 20-11 in bench points.

·         Trailing 48-43 with 11:42 to play, Stephenson scored 10 of Cincinnati’s next 14 points to help the Bearcats take a 57-52 lead with 7:18 remaining.

·         After hitting 2-of-14 from shots from the floor over the first 8:16, Cincinnati shot 45.8 percent (11-of-24) for the remainder of the first half, but entered halftime trailing 32-31.

·         Stephenson scored a team-high tying 13 points and fell one rebound shy of his second career double-double. The double-figure scoring effort was his 19th of the season and his fifth in a row. Stephenson also added a team-high five assists.

·         Stephenson has now hit a game-winning free throw in the final two seconds twice this season, with the other game-winning free throw coming at home against Connecticut on Dec. 30, 2009.

·         Freshman Jaquon Parker found out 10 minutes before the game that he was getting the start and the freshman scored a team-high tying 13 points and hit a season-high tying three 3-pointers. It is Parker’s third double-figure scoring effort of the season and his first since scoring a career-high 15 points against USF on Jan. 20.

·         Junior Ibrahima Thomas posted a game and career high for rebounds with 13.

·         Sophomore Yancy Gates was the third UC player to score in double figures with 10 points, his 20th double-figure scoring effort of the season.

·         Junior Darnell Wilks came off the bench and hit 4-of-5 shots to score a team-high nine points in the opening 20 minutes.



·         Two days after being selected as one of two unanimous selections to the BIG EAST Conference All-Rookie Team, University of Cincinnati freshman guard Lance Stephenson (Brooklyn, N.Y./Lincoln) was named the league’s Rookie of the Year.

·         Stephenson is the first UC men’s basketball player to earn the distinction since the Bearcats joined the BIG EAST in 2005-06. He joins DerMarr Johnson (1999-00 – Conference USA), Danny Fortson (1994-95 – Great Midwest Conference), and Dontonio Wingfield (1993-94 – Great Midwest Conference) as the only players in program history to earn freshman/rookie/newcomer of the year honors.

·         The preseason BIG EAST Rookie of the Year, Stephenson led all BIG EAST freshmen in scoring in overall (12.0 ppg) and conference-only games (12.1 ppg). He also finished in the Top 5 overall among league freshmen in rebounds (5.3 rpg/4th), steals (1.0 spg/5th), and assists (2.4 apg/4th).

·         Four times this season, the 6-foot-5 guard from Brooklyn, N.Y., was named BIG EAST Rookie of the Week, the most by any incoming player.

·         Stephenson won the weekly award the last two weeks of the regular season after averaging 16.8 points and 8.3 rebounds per game over UC’s last four contests. He also added 11 assists and five steals during the stretch.



·         Junior transfer Ibrahima Thomas has played 24 games for the Bearcats after sitting out the first seven games of the year due to NCAA transfer rules.

·         The Dakar, Senegal native has started to emerge as a post threat for the Bearcats over the last nine games, scoring 6.3 points per game and is the team’s top rebounder (7.6 rpg) during that stretch.

·         Thomas broke his career-high for rebounds vs. Rutgers grabbing 13 boards, his third double-figure rebounding performance in his last eight games. UC is 3-0 in those contests.

·         He collected the first double-double of his UC career with 10 points and 11 rebounds against UConn on Feb. 13.

·         Thomas has also seen increased minutes over the last 12 contests averaging 22.1 mpg after averaging just 12.8 mpg over his first 12 games.



·         Freshman point guard Jaquon Parker earned the unexpected start vs. Rutgers in the first round of the BIG EAST Championship, starting in place of Rashad Bishop.

·         The start was his fourth of the season and third vs. a BIG EAST opponent.

·         Parker scored a team-high tying 13 points and knocked down a season-high tying three 3-pointers vs. the Scarlet Knights, while grabbing five rebounds.

·         Over his last three starts vs. USF (Jan. 20), Louisville (Jan. 24), and Rutgers (March 9), Parker is averaging 10.3 ppg while shooting 55.0 percent from the field (11-of-20) and 45.4 percent from 3-point range (5-of-11). He is also averaging 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game during the stretch.

·         In his 86 minutes of his three starts, Parker has turned the ball over three times.



·         Junior forward Darnell Wilks has provided an offensive punch off the bench for the Bearcats in UC’s last two games in the BIG EAST Championship.

·         Last season, Wilks scored eight points, six in the first half, grabbed four rebounds and handed out three assists in UC’s 67-57 loss to DePaul.

·         Against Rutgers last night, Wilks added another nine points, all coming in the first 20 minutes of the game. He also pulled down three rebounds and dished out one assist.




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