Men's Basketball Faces Western Illinois for First Time Since 1983


Men's Basketball |

Nov. 21, 2008

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GAME 3: Western Illinois AT CINCINNATI

Saturday, Nov. 22 u Noon EST u Fifth Third Arena (13,176) u Cincinnati, Ohio


·         The University of Cincinnati Bearcats (2-0, 0-0 BIG EAST) welcome Western Illinois University (1-2, 0-0 Summit) to Fifth Third Arena on Nov. 22 for a Saturday matinee. The game, which tips at Noon, is UC’s first of four games as part of the Global Sports Classic. After taking on the Leathernecks, the Bearcats face Coastal Carolina on Monday, Nov. 24 in Fifth Third Arena before heading to Las Vegas on Nov. 28-29 to play the final two rounds of the tournament. The Red and Black take on Florida State in the third round and then the winner of the UNLV-Cal game in the final round.

·         The Bearcats, who shot 41.8 percent from the floor in 2007-08 have come out of the gates strong this season, knocking down 49.2 percent from the field in their first two games. UC shot 50.0 percent (31-of-62) against Texas Southern in its last game, its first 50.0 percent shooting performance since Feb. 6, 2006 vs. Providence.

·         The Bearcats’ 31-point wins to open the year are the first back-to-back 30-plus point victories for UC since the 2001-02 season when the Red and Black defeated Louisiana-Monroe by 36 points (102-66) on Dec. 20, 2001, and Mississippi State by 34 points (90-56) on Dec. 21, 2001.



·         Western Illinois enters Saturday’s game with a record of 1-2 after picking up its first win of the season under new head coach John Molinari on Wednesday night, 75-57, over Eureka College.

·         Molinari took over the program last spring after spending last season as an assistant coach at Ball State University. Molinari owns a combined record of 223-186 as a head coach, including stints at Minnesota (Interim - 2006-07), Bradley (1991-2002), and Northern Illinois (1989-91).

·         Senior guard David DuBois and junior guard Quenton Kirby are the Leathernecks top two scorers, averaging 20.3 and 10.3 points per game, respectively.

·         After posting a 12-18 record overall and a 7-11 mark in the conference in 2007-08, WIU was picked to finish ninth in the Summit League this season.

·         On offense, the Leathernecks are averaging 64.0 points per game on .442 shooting this season, while their defense is giving up an average of 69.0 points on .503 shooting.



·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn has been named one of 35 Division I nominees for the Bob Cousy Award presented by The Hartford.

·         The award is given annually to the top collegiate male point guard spanning across all divisions within the game by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. 

·         The selection criteria emphasize leadership, team work, success, and fundamentals as being critical parts for the game of basketball as a point guard. 

·         Nominations are solicited from across the country from head coaches and the winner is selected by a Blue Ribbon Selection Committee.

·         Vaughn joins fellow BIG EAST Conference nominees: Edgar Sosa (Louisville), Jonny Flynn (Syracuse), Levance Fields (Pittsburgh), Malik Boothe (St. John’s), and Scottie Reynolds (Villanova).



·         In 2007-08, the Cincinnati Bearcats relied on its starting five to generate 72.4 percent of its offense (46.8 points per game).

·         Through the first two games of this season, the tide has swung a bit as UC’s bench is scoring  37.0 points per game or 46.5 percent of the points.

·         The Bearcats have five players averaging over six points off the bench, led by Steve Toyloy (9.5 ppg) and Alvin Mitchell (9.0 ppg).



·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn put himself in elite company last season as he joined college basketball’s Player of the Century Oscar Robertson (1957-60) as one of only two players in Cincinnati history to lead the team in scoring and assists in back-to-back seasons.

·         Vaughn led UC with 14.5 points and 3.5 assists per game as a freshman in 2006-07 and then again as a sophomore with averages of 17.3 ppg and 4.2 apg.

·         Robertson led the Bearcats in scoring all three years he played at Cincinnati, posting 35.1 (1957-58), 32.6 (1958-59) and 33.7 (1959-60) points per contest. Even though the NCAA did not track assists per game as an official stat during his career and UC only kept it for his final two seasons, Robertson led the team with 6.9 assists in 1958-59 and 7.3 in 1959-60.



·         Senior forward Mike Williams has battled and persevered during his basketball career since first stepping foot on a college campus at the University of Texas in 2004-05.

·         A highly-recruited McDonald’s All-American, Williams spent two seasons at Texas (2004-06) where he played in 58 games and averaged 2.7 points and 3.4 rebounds a game. He helped the Longhorns to an NCAA Tournament berth in 2005-06.

·         After his sophomore season at Texas, Williams decided to transfer to the University of Cincinnati to join Mick Cronin who had just taken over as head coach at his alma mater.

·         After sitting out the 2006-07 season due to NCAA transfer rules, Williams was set to join the Bearcats for the 2007-08 season, but was lost for the year during preseason workouts when he ruptured an Achilles tendon.

·         After missing last year, Williams made his Bearcats debut during UC’s exhibition games and on Nov. 16, 2008 vs. South Dakota  — a span of 973 days — played in his first regular-season game at Cincinnati. Williams scored eight points and pulled down nine rebounds vs. the Coyotes.



·         The Bearcats’ 31-point wins over South Dakota (Nov. 16) and Texas Southern (Nov. 18) to open the year are the first back-to-back 30-plus point victories for UC since the 2001-02 season when the Red and Black defeated Louisiana-Monroe by 36 points (102-66) on Dec. 20, 2001, and Mississippi State by 34 points (90-56) on Dec. 21, 2001.

·         The 31-point wins also equal the largest margin of victory under head coach Mick Cronin. Cronin won his Cincinnati debut at Fifth Third Arena on Nov.10, 2006 with a 70-39 victory over Howard.



·         UC shot 50 percent from the field for the game (31-of-62) against Texas Southern (Nov. 18), marking he first time Cincinnati shot 50 percent or better from the field since Feb. 6, 2006 when it shot 50 percent versus Providence — a span of 40 games.

·         UC’s best shooting performance last season was .483 (29-of-60) vs. Connecticut at home on Jan. 23, 2008.

·         Last year as a team, the Bearcats shot .418.



·         The Bearcats open the season with just three road games in their first 14 contests before starting BIG EAST Conference play on Jan. 4 at Marquette.

·         Two of the three road games are part of the Global Sports Classic. After playing home games vs. Western Illinois (Nov. 22) and Coastal Carolina (Nov. 24), the Bearcats travel to Las Vegas for the final two rounds at the Thomas & Mack Center where they face Florida State (Nov. 28) and the winner of the UNLV-Cal game (Nov. 29).

·         The other lone road game is to NCAA national runner-up Memphis on Dec. 29.

·         UC is 256-50 (.837) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 21-16 at home (.568).



·         For the second year in a row, the University of Cincinnati Bearcats will go the season minus one of its top players as highly-touted freshman point guard Cashmere Wright suffered a torn ACL in his left knee in practice during preseason practices.

·         Wright underwent surgery to repair his ACL and will miss the season as he goes through rehabilitation over the next 6-8 months.

·         Wright, a 6-0, 175-pound native of Savannah, Ga., was a highly-regarded high school prospect who was listed as one of the nation’s Top 100 players by many of the national recruiting services and was listed as the No. 12 recruited point guard in 2007-08 by



·         Sean Kilpatrick, a native of White Plains, N.Y., signed a national letter of intent during the first week of the early signing period to play for the UC next year.

·         Kilpatrick, a 6-foot-5 guard/forward was a three-time  all-league and all-section selection at White Plains Senior High School and was the school’s second-leading scorer. He averaged 25.6 ppg as a senior.

·         He is is playing for Notre Dame Prep in Fitchburg, Mass., this season and is averaged 23.0 ppg in his first five games.



·         Cincinnati scored over 70 points in consecutive games for the first time since the 2006-07 season, when it scored 76 points versus Syracuse and 96 points versus West Virginia.

·         10 players scored for the Bearcats in the win, including four double-figure scorers.

·         UC outscored Texas Southern 20-0 in points off turnovers in the first half.

·         The Bearcats shot 60.6 percent from the field in the first half (20-of-33), while the Tigers shot 29.0 percent (9-of-31).

·         Cincinnati scored 51 first-half points and led 51-24 at the intermission. It was the first time UC scored 50 points in a half since posting 50 in the second half vs. North Carolina State on Dec. 23, 2006. The 51 points in a half are the most points in a half since Dec. 30, 2005, when the Bearcats scored 53 points in the second half against North Carolina A&T.

·         From the 10:01 mark on the clock to the 5:36 mark of the opening half, UC went on a 16-2 run to widen its lead to 37-11.

·         UC went on a 15-0 run from the 17:03 mark of the first half to the 13:20 mark, opening up a 17-2 lead.

·         Sophomore guard Alvin Mitchell hit a career-high four 3-pointers en route to a career-high 15 points. It is the second time in Mitchell’s career he has scored in double figures after scoring 12 points versus Villanova on Jan. 12, 2008.

·         Junior forward Steve Toyloy scored in double-figures for the first time as a Bearcat, scoring 11 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the floor and 1-of-2 shooting from the free throw line.

·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn scored 12 points for the second game in a row and has now scored in double figures in four straight games, dating back to last year’s BIG EAST Championship vs. Pittsburgh and the Collegiate Basketball Invitational at Bradley. Vaughn also added five rebounds and six assists.

·         Sophomore guard Larry Davis added 11 points in the win, his sixth double-figure scoring game of his career and his first of the season.

·         Sophomore forward Darnell Wilks scored a career-high seven points on a perfect 3-of-3 shooting night.

·         Freshman guard Dion Dixon grabbed a season-high 10 rebounds, his first double-digit rebounding game of his career.



·         The Cincinnati Bearcats improved to 88-20 in season openers after knocking off South Dakota, 77-46.

·         Freshman forward Yancy Gates, a native of Cincinnati, made quite an impression in his collegiate debut, scoring 16 points and pulling down 11 rebounds.

·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn scored 12 points in the game to give him 1,000 for his career. He is the 45th player in UC history to post 1,000 career points and the sixth-fastest doing it in 63 games. Vaughn scored 10 of his 12 points in the second half.

·         Senior forward Mike Williams, making his first start as a Bearcat after two years, posted eight points, nine rebounds and a pair of assists.

·         Despite playing just nine minutes, UC big man Anthony McClain tossed in eight points and made four rebounds.

·         The Bearcats 31-point margin of victory ties for the largest in Mick Cronin’s tenure at UC, equaling a 70-39 win over Howard in his coaching debut on Nov. 10, 2005.

·         UC out rebounded the Coyotes 48-29, posting their most rebounds since gathering 52 at Rutgers on Feb. 9 of last season in a 72-68 overtime win.

·         The six UC turnovers were their fewest since committing just six vs. USF on Feb. 20 of last year.



·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn became the 45th player in UC basketball history to reach 1,000 points for his career when he scored 12 points in the season opener vs. South Dakota on Nov. 16.

·         Vaughn equaled Jim Ard (1968-70) as the sixth-fastest player to reach the 1000-point plateau, doing it in 63 games.

·         As remarkable as it would be, Bearcat great Oscar Robertson scored his first 1,000 points in his first 29 games (first game of second season), averaging over 30 points a night.

·         Following is a list of the 10 fastest players to 1,000 career points in UC history.


Rk.  Player       Seasons Gms to 1000

1.   Oscar Robertson (3) 1958-60 29

2.   Lloyd Batts (3) 1972-74         52

3.   Ron Bohnam (3) 1962-64       58

4.   Danny Fortson (3) 1995-97    59

       Derrek Dickey (3) 1971-73     59

5.   Herb Jones (2) 1991-92         61

6.   Jim Ard (3) 1968-70              63

       Deonta Vaughn (2) 2007-pres. 63

8.   Jack Twyman (4) 1952-55      66

9.   Rick Roberson (3) 1967-69    66

10.  Paul Hogue (3) 1960-62         68

       Jim Holstein (3) 1950-52        68



·         Sophomore forward/guard Rashad Bishop quickly became one of the Bearcats’ top all-around newcomers in 2007-08 and he did not disappoint in his 2008-09 debut. The New Jersey native scored six points, pulled down four rebounds and dished out a game-high five assists vs. South Dakota.

·         With the loss of freshman Cashmere Wright for the season, Bishop will need to continue to flash his all-around skills as he will be looked upon to help bring the ball up the floor in the Bearcats running style of play.

·         Last year, Bishop appeared in all 32 games and started 20 times. He scored in double digits six times, including an 11-point outburst in the Bearcats’ upset of nationally ranked Pittsburgh.

·         He added 11 points and five rebounds in his first BIG EAST Championship at Madison Square Garden, playing 39 minutes.



·         One of the welcome additions to the Bearcats’ bench this season has been the improved production of sophomore forward Darnell Wilks.

·         After scoring just 16 points in 17 games last year, the native of Nashville, Tenn., has been one of UC’s top contributors off the bench this season averaging 6.0 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists in 11 minutes a game, leaving him five points short of his 2007-08 season points total.



·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn finished last season with 554 points and was the 32nd player in Cincinnati history to record 500 points or more in a season.

·         He was the first Bearcats basketball player to do so since James White and Eric Hicks each topped the mark in 2005-06.

·         The top three single seasons in the program’s history belong to College Basketball’s Player of the Century, Oscar Robertson, who scored over 900 points in three straight seasons (1957-60).



·         Cincinnati played in the postseason for the first time in two years as it took on Bradley University of the Missouri Valley Conference in the inaugural, 16-team College Basketball Invitational (CBI) last spring.

·         UC’s last postseason appearance before the CBI came during the 2005-06 season when the Bearcats played in the National Invitational Tournament, advancing to the quarterfinals.

·         It was the Bearcats 34th postseason tournament appearance. UC has made 24 appearances in the NCAA Tournament and nine in the NIT.



·         Last season, the Bearcats made a six-win improvement in conference wins, going from two victories in 2006-07 to eight in 2007-08.

·         The eight wins equal UC’s inaugural BIG EAST season when it went 8-8 in the old 16-game format.

·         The Bearcats’ six-win improvement is tied for the ninth-largest single-season turnaround in BIG EAST history with six other teams.



·         UC basketball has built its success over the last 20 years on two core values ... defense and rebounding. Head coach Mick Cronin learned it as an assistant at UC and those same values hold true.

·         In Cronin’s two-plus seasons at Cincinnati, the Bearcats own a record of 16-5 when holding opponents to 60 points or less last season and 21-16 when winning the rebounding margin.





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