Fairfield Travels to Cincinnati for Men's Basketball Matinee|
Nov. 23, 2007
The Cincinnati Bearcats (2-2, 0-0 BIG EAST) welcome Fairfield University (2-2, 0-0 MAAC) Saturday, Nov. 24 for the first meeting between the two schools. The Stags and Bearcats are both coming off wins, as Fairfield beat Sacred Heart, 84-75, and UC downed Coastal Carolina, 74-59. Tip off for the game is 1 p.m. and can be seen on FOX19 in Cincinnati.
STEPPING UP: Sophomore point guard Deonta Vaughn has stepped up his game this season for UC taking over the point and more scoring responsibility. Through UC's first four games, his point production is up almost four points a game to 19.3 from 14.5, while his assists have gone from 3.5 to 4.75 assists per game.
FOLLOWING THE TREND: Cincinnati is hoping to build on its improving defense. Since giving up 85 points in the season opener vs. Belmont, the Bearcats have allowed 64, 69, and 59 points.
SCOUTING THE STAGS: Four games into the season, Fairfield stands at 2-2, the same record as the Bearcats. After losses vs. Wake Forest (85-60) and Holy Cross (67-54) to open the season, the Stags have posted back-to-back wins vs. American University (60-62) and Sacred Heart (84-75). Sophomore forward Greg Nero leads Fairfield in scoring, averaging 12 points a game, but it is junior guard Jonathan Han that has keyed the Stags last two wins, posting 15 points vs. American and 22 vs. Sacred Heart. Han also leads Fairfield in assists with 25 (6.25 per game). The Stags top rebounder is Anthony Johnson with 6.3 boards per game.
CINCINNATI VS. MAAC: This will be Cincinnati's first meeting vs. Fairfield University from the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). The Bearcats are 3-2 vs. the MAAC all-time, including records of 0-1 vs. Canisius, 1-1 vs. Manhattan, 1-0 vs. Niagara, and 1-0 vs. Siena. The last time UC faced a team from the MAAC was Canisius in 1994-95, dropping a 72-69 decision in the Shoemaker Center in the first game of the Delta Airlines Classic.
FIRST-TIMERS: Fairfield is the second of three teams the University of Cincinnati is facing for the first time this season. The Bearcats opened the year with its first game vs. Belmont, dropping the decision, 86-75. After Fairfield, UC faces South Carolina Upstate, formerly South Carolina Spartanburg, for the first time.
30-MINUTE MAN ... : Through Cincinnati's first four games, senior point guard Deonta Vaughn has been the iron-man of UC basketball, logging an average of 36.5 minutes per game. In the season opener vs. Belmont, Vaughn played 39 minutes for the Bearcats, three short of his career high of 42 in a 70-67 overtime victory over Seton Hall on Feb. 28 of last season. The next closest players to Vaughn are senior Adam Hrycaniuk (28.8 minutes per game) and Marvin Gentry (28.5).
30-POINT MAN: Sophomore point guard Deonta Vaughn, the team's leading scorer last year, had a night to remember vs. Coastal Carolina (Nov. 16). Vaughn established a new career high for points in a game with 36 and equaled his career high with nine 3-point baskets. His 36 points were the most scored by a Bearcat since Steve Logan posted 41 vs. Southern Mississippi on Feb. 15, 2002.
GETTING MORE HELP: Last season, Deonta Vaughn and John Williamson were the only two Bearcats to average 10 points or more, posting 14.5 and 13.5 points per game, respectively. This year, four players, including Vaughn (19.3 ppg) and Williamson (10.3 ppg), are posting double-digit averages. Adam Hrycaniuk (10.8 ppg) and Marvin Gentry (10.0 ppg) round out the quartet. Vaughn has jumped his scoring average the most on the team, putting in 4.5 points per game more this season, followed by Gentry who has increased his scoring average by 2.6 points per game.
BLOCK PARTY: Even though he is averaging just eight minutes per game, 6-foot-11 center Anthony McClain has already made a difference in one statistical category for the Bearcats ... blocked shots. Last season, UC ranked last in the BIG EAST, knocking down just 1.93 shots per game. Through four games, Cincinnati is averaging 2.5 per game thanks mostly to McClain's team-best four blocked shots in just 24 minutes of action.
WINDOW CLEANERS: Despite a 2-2 record, the Bearcats are unbeaten on the glass this year, out rebounding their opponents in all four games and by a total of 149-125 - an average of 5.9 rebounds per game. Senior forward John Williamson, who led the team in rebounding last season, and senior center Adam Hrycaniuk are first and second on the team in rebounding, averaging 7.3 and 5.8, respectively.
SHAKING THE RUST OFF: After committing a season high 19 turnovers in the season opener vs. Belmont, Cincinnati has been working hard to eliminate unforced errors and it has been working. Since, UC has committed fewer and fewer vs. Western Carolina (15), Bowling Green (12), and Coastal Carolina (10). In the Bearcats last three games, they are averaging 12.3 turnovers per game, the same average they totaled all of last season.
GETTING TO THE LINE: With a bigger front line and more players taking the ball to the net, UC is getting to the free-throw line 24 times a game this season. Last year, the Bearcats only averaged 17.2 shots per game from the charity stripe. Cincinnati has also improved its shooting from the line as well, netting 68.8 percent (66-of-96) this year compared to 66.1 percent (341-of-516) in 2006-07. Senior center Adam Hrycaniuk leads the way on the team converting 18-of-22 free throws (.818).
BEARCATS TOUGH TO BEAT IN FIFTH THIRD ARENA: Despite a 2-2 start to its home schedule, Cincinnati owns a record of 247-45 (.846 winning percentage) in its 19 seasons in Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center. The Bearcats are over halfway through a season-long six-game home stand that included the Peggy Cronin Classic (Nov. 9-11) and Coastal Carolina and upcoming games vs. Fairfield (Nov. 24) and South Carolina Upstate (Nov. 26). UC is 82-22 in Fifth Third over the last six seasons.
PLEASE INTRODUCE YOURSELF: Head coach Mick Cronin, in just his second year at Cincinnati, has done the work of a coach in this fourth year on the job, having had to sign 15 players in the last 18+ months. This season's six-person freshman class is considered by the recruiting services as one of the top 20 groups of players in the nation and the stats from the first four games attest to that. Larry Davis and Rashad Bishop have combined for three double-digit scoring nights and center Anthony McClain scored 14 points, pulled down 11 rebounds (10 offensive) and blocked four shots in just 24 minutes of action. Bishop had the best performance of any player in the finale of the Cronin Classic vs. Bowling Green, registering 12 points, eight rebounds, three assists and a steal.
MR. CONSISTENT: Senior forward John Williamson has picked up right where he left off at the end of last year. The 6-6 senior, who scored in double digits in 23 of the team's 30 games last season, has reached the double-digit mark in three game of UC's first four games this season, scoring 10 vs. Belmont, 11 vs. Western Carolina and a season-best 14 against Bowling Green. He also added in a team season-high 13 rebounds vs. Belmont.
REPEAT PERFORMANCE: As a freshman last season, Deonta Vaughn had heavy expectations placed on him coming into a team with so many new faces and being the only freshman on the squad. Vaughn did not let the team down once he was inserted into the starting line-up in UC's fourth game of the year vs. Wofford. In his debut as a starter, Vaughn tallied a UC freshman single-game scoring record of 33 points vs. Wofford, connecting on nine 3-pointers, the second most by any Bearcat in UC history. Vaughn, who was among the BIG EAST's top freshman scorers last year, leads UC in scoring again this year dropping in 19.3 points a game. As the team's point guard, Vaughn has also increased his assist output from 3.5 assists per game in 2006-07 to 4.8 through UC's first four games.
WARREN OUT FOR THREE WEEKS: Senior guard Jamual Warren is out three weeks after suffering a left hand injury on Nov. 11 in an automobile accident. Warren, who was expected to provide relief for Deonta Vaughn at the point position, is a key two-way player for Cincinnati, providing offense as well as being one of the Bearcats defenders. Last year, Warren tied for the team lead with 55 steals.
WILLIAMS TO MISS SEASON WITH RUPTURED ACHILLES: Junior forward Mike Williams, who was preparing for his first season on the court for the University of Cincinnati, will miss the 2007-08 season after rupturing his Achilles tendon in preseason workouts. Williams, a 6-7, 230-pound native of Camden, Ala., sat out last season at UC after transferring from the University of Texas and was expected to start this season for Cincinnati. As a Longhorn, Williams played in 58 games over two years, averaging 2.7 points and 3.4 rebounds.
SUCCESS IN OVERTIME: Cincinnati posted a 2-0 mark in overtime games during the 2006-07 campaign. On Jan. 20, UC and West Virginia were deadlocked at 75-75 before the Bearcats went on a 21-8 run in the extra frame to claim a 96-83 win. Eleven games later, UC out scored Seton Hall, 11-8, after being tied at 59 a piece en route to a 70-67 triumph.
THE INK IS DRY: The University of Cincinnati men's basketball team signed two players to national letters of intent for the 2008-09 season, head coach Mick Cronin announced on the first day of the early signing period. Joining the Bearcats are forward Yancy Gates (Cincinnati, OH/Withrow) and guard Cashmere Wright (Savannah, GA/Urban Christian High School).
Gates, a 6-foot-9, 255-pound forward, is one of the nation's top 50 players according to several recruiting sites. As a junior at Withrow High School playing for Walt McBride, Gates averaged 19.4 points, 8.3 rebounds and 4.1 blocks per game in 2006-07. He helped the Tigers to a 17-6 record and missed the state semifinals by one game. A second-team Ohio all-state selection, Gates is the first freshman player in Cronin's first three recruiting classes to come from the talent-rich Cincinnati area.
Wright, another highly-regarded recruit, who is ranked among many of the recruiting services top 100 players, comes to Cincinnati from the Urban Christian Academy in Savannah, Ga., where he averaged 36.2 points, 10.0 assists, 4.0 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game in 2006-07. In his first two games this season, Wright has posted 43 and 35 points, respectively, and is a McDonald's All-America candidate.
IT'S ACADEMIC: Last year, senior Marcus Sikes and junior Branden Miller qualified for the Dean's List academic honors after Fall quarter for having grade point averages of 3.5 or above. Two others, John Williamson and Mike Williams, posted GPAs of 3.0 or above. The team's GPA for the quarter was 2.875, a shade lower than the 2.965 of the UC general student body.
BEARCATS ON TV: This season all 30 of Cincinnati's regular-season contests can be seen on television via either its local package with FOX19 (WXIX-TV) or through the conference package with the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ESPN Classic, ESPN 360, or ESPN Regional). The BIG EAST's ESPN Regional package, which includes the BIG EAST Game of the Week, can be seen in Cincinnati on CinCW, the digital sister station of WKRC-TV (Channel 12). CinCW is available on most local cable systems as well as via satellite providers.
FOX 19 SUPPLIES TV COVERAGE: FOX19 (WXIX-TV) has been the local television home of Bearcats basketball for 23 of the past 26 years and will originate 10 games and air two others from the BIG EAST Game of the Week syndicated package with ESPN Regional. Jeff Piecoro (play-by-play) and Anthony Buford (color analyst) will be the primary talent for the package, while Jim Barbar will handle play-by-play on three broadcasts.
LOOKING AHEAD: Following Fairfield, the Bearcats get one day to prepare for South Carolina Upstate to close out is six-game season home stand on Monday, Nov. 26 at 8 p.m. After that the Bearcats play three straight on the road at UAB (Dec. 1), Illinois State (Dec. 8) and Xavier (Dec. 12). The game at Xavier on Dec. 12 will be the 75th time UC and Xavier have met in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout.