UC Basketball Rolls to 87-70 Win over Six-Time Canadian National Champs Carleton|
Sept. 4, 2010
By Zach Wells for GoBEARCATS.com
OTTAWA -- When Carleton University looks back on the past, all the Ravens have to do is look at one of the walls in their home gym in Ottawa. Stitched and hung for all to see are Canadian National Championship banners from six of the past eight seasons. When the Cincinnati Bearcats look back on the past six months, the feeling is a lot more about hunger than satisfaction.
"Our guys were definitely upset with how we finished up last year," UC Coach Mick Cronin said. "They're learning that the little things like chemistry and passing can be the difference between the NIT and the NCAA Tournament."
The Bearcats met up with the Ravens on Saturday night at Scotiabank Place, the home of the NHL's Ottawa Senators. For the second straight night, UC showed signs of a new-found personality offensively. It involved sharing the ball, cutting, and finding the open man. All 11 Bearcats that played ended up in the scoring column in an 87-70 victory in the second of three preseason games in Canada.
"It's a hockey town for sure." said Darnell Wilks. "The fans are used to yelling at the players. They were funny and it was a lot of fun being here."
Dion Dixon led the way in scoring for the Bearcats with 21 points. The junior from Chicago did not miss a shot from the floor until the fourth quarter and finished up 8-of-9 from the field, to go with two assists and two steals.
"It felt great," Dixon said. "I just got hot tonight and then I got a lot of extra shots up in pregame warmups that paid off."
"I'm gonna expect that from Dion every night now," said Cashmere Wright with a big smile on his face.
Wright, a sophomore point guard, didn't start for the second straight night, but played considerably longer (22 minutes compared to 13 the night before) as he works his way back from offseason knee surgery.
"The doctors tell me I'm about 70% right now, " Wright said, "and it's more of a process than anything to get back where I want to be."
The Bearcats shot 55 percent from the floor for the game. A Sean Kilpatrick three-point play in transition in the waning seconds of the first half gave UC a 39-28 lead at intermission. The Bearcats opened the third quarter on a 12-0 run thanks to back-to-back three pointers from Dixon to trigger the outburst.
"We're sharing the ball," said Dixon. "It's going to keep everyone playing hard It's good for chemistry."
Cronin said he didn't expect to open such a convincing lead in the second half, leading by as many as 28 points.
"We came in expecting a dogfight and a 40-minute game and to win it if we had to." Cronin said.
For Carleton, Philip Scrubb led the Ravens in scoring with 15 points.
The Bearcats wrap up their exhibition tour in Ottawa on Sunday afternoon with a 2 p.m. tipoff against the University of Ottawa.
One thing Coach Cronin wants the fans back home to know, "They play physical up here in Canada."
The referees called 38 combined fouls on both teams.