Men's Basketball Hosts USC Upstate in Homestand Finale

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Men's Basketball |

Nov. 25, 2007

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The Cincinnati Bearcats (3-2, 0-0 BIG EAST), winners of their last two games, hosts the University of South Carolina Upstate (0-5, 0-0 Atlantic Sun) in the first meeting of the two schools Monday, Nov. 25 at 8 p.m. at Fifth Third Arena. The Bearcats are coming off a 69-64 win vs. Fairfield on Saturday, while USC Upstate lost to UNC-Greensboro, 93-76.

 

BALANCED ATTACK: On Saturday vs. Fairfield, Bearcats used a balanced scoring attack to knock off the Stags, 69-64. Seven different players scored six or more points for UC, lead by freshman Rashad Bishop, who equaled his season-high of 12 points, going 5-for-8 from the field. Sophomore Deonta Vaughn and senior John Williamson each poured in 11 points apiece to round out Cincinnati's double-digit scorers.

 

LEAVING FIFTH THIRD ARENA: The game vs. South Carolina Upstate closes out a season-long six-game home stand that started with the Peggy Cronin Classic (Nov. 9-11). The Bearcats hit the road this weekend for a Dec. 1 match up at former Conference USA opponent UAB. The Bearcats are 13-10 under head coach Mick Cronin in Fifth Third Arena.

 

 

South Carolina Upstate at Cincinnati

 

SCOUTING THE SPARTANS: The 2007-08 season marks the University of South Carolina Upstate's debut in the NCAA's Division I and as a member of the Atlantic Sun Conference. South Carolina Upstate has dropped each of its first five games by an average of 20 points per game. Three of the five losses came at the Top of the World Classic (Nov. 16-18) in Fairbanks, Alaska, losing to Akron (64-60), IUPUI (80-54), and Oregon State (65-45). In their last outing on Saturday (Nov. 24), they lost at UNC-Greensboro, 93-76. The Spartans are averaging 57.6 points per game offensively and are shooting 37.2 percent as a squad. They are led in scoring by senior guard Luke Payne and his 14.0 ppg.  Payne also leads USC Upstate in assists with 11. On the boards, Upstate is getting a team-best 7.4 rebounds per game from junior forward Bobby Davis. Defensively, senior guard Jeremy Byrd has 12 steals in 88 minutes of action or one steal every 7.3 minutes.

 

CINCINNATI VS. ATLANTIC SUN: This is Cincinnati's first game vs. USC Upstate who is from the Atlantic Sun Conference. The Bearcats are 0-1 against teams from the Atlantic Sun this season, losing to Belmont, 86-75, in the season opener. Overall the Bearcats are 4-3 all-time vs. the Atlantic Sun.

 

FIRST-TIMERS: South Carolina Upstate, formerly South Carolina Spartanburg, is the third team this year Cincinnati is meeting for the first time in the program's 107 seasons. Belmont and Fairfield were the other two. The Bearcats are 1-1 vs. the two opponents.

 

EUROPEAN IMPACT: Senior center Adam Hrycaniuk (pronounced hu-RITZ-a-nyuk), a native of Poland, has made an immediate impact on the Bearcats. After having to sit out last year due to NCAA clearance issues, Hrycaniuk has jumped into the line-up for UC and become an offensive threat, scoring 10.4 points per game and joining sophomore Deonta Vaughn as the only two double-digit scorers on the team. The 6-foot-10 post player is also Cincinnati's second-leading rebounder with 5.6 rebounds per game.

 

BISHOP TAKES QUEEN (CITY): Freshman forward/guard Rashad Bishop has quickly become one of the Bearcats' top all-around newcomers. Starting UC's last three games, Bishop has scored in double digits twice, including two games with a season-high 12 points (Bowling Green and Fairfield), and is averaging a shade less than 10 points (9.7 ppg) in those games. Not only has his 8.2 points per game overall provided offensive punch, he has also added 4.0 rebounds and is second on the team with 2.4 assists per game.

 

30-MINUTE MAN ...: Through Cincinnati's first five games, senior point guard Deonta Vaughn has been the iron-man of UC basketball, logging an average of 36.6 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 in terms of minutes are seniors Marvin Gentry (29.2 minutes per game) and Adam Hrycaniuk (28.2).

 

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 best with nine 3-point baskets. His 36 points were the most by a Bearcat since Steve Logan posted 41 vs. Southern Mississippi on Feb. 15, 2002. Through five games, Vaughn leads Cincinnati in scoring with 17.6 points per game.

 

PHYSICALLY FIT: Over the last 15 years, UC basketball has the reputation of being one the most physically fit teams in the country and developing players for the next level. That comes from the players' hard work in the weight room and conditioning. This season, Adam Hrycaniuk, John Williamson and Branden Miller each can bench press over 300 pounds, led by Hrycaniuk at 315 pounds. Even the guards have impressive stats with Deonta Vaughn squatting 500 pounds and Marvin Gentry, who weighs 180 pounds, bench pressing a max out of 260 pounds. Freshman forward Darnell Wilks and senior guard Jamual Warren are the team's high flyers with 40- and 36.5-inch vertical jumps, respectively.

 

BLOCK PARTY: Even though he is averaging just 8.5 minutes per game, 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 five games, Cincinnati is averaging 2.8 per game thanks mostly to McClain's team-best seven blocked shots in just 34 minutes of action (1 every 4 minutes, 51 seconds on the floor). Besides standing 6-11, McClain has the advantage of a 7-foot-3 wing span.

 

WINDOW CLEANERS: Before being out rebounded by Fairfield, 40-28, in the last game, Cincinnati out rebounded each previous opponent, winning the margin by an average of +5.9 boards. 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 7.0 and 5.6 boards, respectively.

 

SHAKING THE RUST OFF: After committing a season-high 19 turnovers in the opener vs. Belmont, Cincinnati has been working to eliminate unforced errors. Since, UC has committed fewer turnovers vs. Western Carolina (15), Bowling Green (12), and Coastal Carolina (10). In the Bearcats last four games, they are averaging 12.5 turnovers per game, slightly less than last season (12.7 turnovers per game). 

 

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 averaged 17.2 shots per game from the charity stripe. Cincinnati has also improved its shooting from the line, netting 68.3 percent (82-of-120) this year compared to 66.1 percent (341-of-516) in 2006-07. Senior center Adam Hrycaniuk leads the team in free throw shooting, converting 23-of-27 free throws (.852).

 

WHEN YOU NEED IT MOST: Senior center Adam Hrycaniuk has been clutch for the Bearcats late in games, converting 7-of-8 free throws (.875) in the last three minutes of games determined by 10 points or less.

 

BEARCATS TOUGH TO BEAT IN FIFTH THIRD ARENA: Despite a 3-2 start to its home schedule, Cincinnati owns a record of 248-45 (.846 winning percentage) in its 19 seasons in Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center.  The game versus South Carolina Upstate closes out a season-long six-game home stand that also included the Peggy Cronin Classic, Coastal Carolina and Fairfield. UC is 83-22 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 signed 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 in the nation and the stats from the first five games attest to that. Larry Davis and Rashad Bishop have combined for four double-digit scoring nights and center Anthony McClain has scored 16 points, pulled down 13 rebounds (10 offensive) and blocked seven shots in just 34 minutes of action. Bishop has had the best offensive performances of any player, registering two 12 points games.

 

MR. CONSISTENT: Senior forward John Williamson has picked up right where he left off at the end of last year. The 6-foot-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 of UC's first five 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-best 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 17.6 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 5.0 this year.

 

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.

 

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 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 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 satellite providers.

 

FOX 19 SUPPLIES TV COVERAGE:  FOX19 (WXIX-TV) has been the local television home of Bearcats basketball for 26 of the past 28 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) are the primary talent for the package.

 

LOOKING AHEAD:  The Bearcats hit the road for the first time in 2007-08 on Saturday, Dec. 1 to take on former Conference USA foe, UAB at the Barstow Arena in Birmingham, Ala. Tip-off for the game is 5 p.m. Central/6 p.m. Eastern. The game will be televised nationally on CSTV. Cincinnati is 14-8 all-time vs. the Blazers and has won 9 of the last 11 contests. UAB won last year's tilt in Birmingham, coming from behind with eight points in the last 31 seconds for a 59-57 victory.

 

 


 

 

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