Men's Basketball Takes on Old C-USA Foe UAB

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Men's Basketball |

Dec. 5, 2008

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·      GAME 7: UAB AT CINCINNATI

·         Saturday, Dec. 6 få Noon EST få Fifth Third Arena (13,176) få Cincinnati, Ohio

 

THE MATCH-UP

·         The Cincinnati Bearcats (5-1, 0-0 BIG EAST) return home this Saturday, Dec. 6 at Noon to take on former Conference USA rival UAB (5-2, 0-0 C-USA). UC returns to Fifth Third Arena after splitting a pair of games last weekend at the Global Sports Classic in Las Vegas where it lost to Florida State, 58-47, and came from behind to knock off host UNLV, 67-65. Saturday's game against UAB starts a string of six straight home games for Cincinnati, including the BIG EAST/SEC Invitational on Dec. 18 vs. Mississippi State at U.S. Bank Arena. The Blazers come into Cincinnati after winning their home opener Wednesday night vs. USF, 78-77. UAB opened the 2008-09 season with six road games, including a 72-71 victory at Arizona as part of the Preseason NIT. UAB made it to the semifinals of the tournament before losing to Oklahoma, 77-67, and then to Boston College, 83-77, in the consolation game. This will be the 24th meeting between UC and UAB with the Bearcats holding a 14-9 advantage in the series. The Blazers have won the last two meetings since head coach Mike Davis took the job in 2006-07.

 

SCOUTING UAB

·         UAB stopped a two-game skid on Wednesday (Dec. 3)with a 78-77 victory vs. USF in its home opener. The Blazers started the year with a six-game road string.

·         UAB's top three scorers, Robert Vaden (19.0 ppg), Paul Delaney III (18.0), and Lawrence Kinnard (17.4), account for 73 percent of the Blazer's scoring (54.5 of 74.6 ppg). Vaden and Delaney both are among the Top 100 scorers in the country.

·         One of the nation's Top 25 3-point shooters, Vaden is averaging 3.7 of UAB's 8.3 triples a game. The Blazers rank 28th in the country in 3-pointers made per game.

·         Lawrence Kinnard (8.6 rpg) and Robert Vaden (7.1) are also the team's top two rebounders.

·         As a team, UAB is an excellent free-throw shooting team, knocking down 72.5 percent from the line, led by Howard Crawford at 87.5 percent (14-of-16).

·         Point guard Aaron Johnson leads UAB with 26 assists.

 

No. 5 MOVING INTO No. 5 Slot

·         Junior point guard Deonta Vaughn needs three 3-pointers to move into a fifth-place tie with former UC standout Damon Flint (1993-97) on the career 3-pointer list.

·         Vaughn has sank 174-of-504 (.345) 3-point field goal attempts in his first 68 career games, while Flint was 177-of-593 (.298) over his four-year career.

·         Vaughn is 84 treys behind Steve Logan (1998-2002) for fourth place.

·         Darnell Burton is the all-time leader in 3-pointers made with 306.

 

Rk.          Player   Seasons 3-pointers

1. Darnell Burton    1993-97     306

2.  Field Williams    2000-04     262

3. LaZelle Durden   1992-95     260

4.    Steve Logan    1998-02     258

5.    Damon Flint    1993-97     177

 

-- Deonta Vaughn 2006-pres.    174

 

CRONIN MILESTONE

·         In his sixth year as a Division I head coach, Mick Cronin is two wins shy of reaching his 100th career victory.

·         Cronin has compiled a 98-63 (.609) record over this stints at Murray State (2003-06) and Cincinnati (2006-pres.).

·         Following is a list of Cronin's milestone wins to date:

 

Win Opponent (School) Score Date

1 vs. Wagner (MSU)     92-68 Nov. 22, 2003

25 vs. Eastern Illinois (MSU) 81-51 Feb. 28, 2004

50 at Jacksonville State (MSU) 91-72 Dec. 19, 2005

75 vs. Temple (UC)      80-71 Dec. 9, 2006

 

KNOCKING IT DOWN

·         One of the most noticeable differences for Cincinnati this season is its ability to shoot the ball. This year, UC is shooting 47.2 percent from the field, an improvement of 5.4 percent from last year (41.8).

·         UC shot 53.2 percent (33-62) from the floor in its last home game vs. Coastal Carolina, its highest field-goal percentage since knocking down 34-of-63 shots (54.0 percent) in a 91-90 loss to Wofford during the 2006-07 season.

·         The Bearcats lowest shooting percentage this season was 33.3 percent against Florida State (Nov. 29) last weekend in the Global Sports Classic.

·         The individual players that has made the most dramatic improvements are sophomore guard Alvin Mitchell and sophomore center Anthony McClain. Mitchell, who shot 26.3 percent last season, is the Bearcats third-leading scorer, shooting 53.3 percent from the field, while sophomore center Anthony McClain leads all players  in shooting percentage at 72.2 percent (13-18), up 27.6 percent from last year.

 

PLAY DEFENSE AND REBOUND

·         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 still hold true.

·         This season UC has shown marked improvement in each category through the first six games, holding its opponents to 53.7 points per game and 35.0 percent shooting, while averaging 44.2 rebounds per game and a +12.5 rebounding margin. Last year, UC allowed opponents 63.8 points per contest on .410 shooting.

·         The Bearcats were out rebounded on average last year, 36.8 to 36.5.

·         Cincinnati is nationally ranked among the Top 25 in rebounding margin (+12.5/5th), scoring defense (53.7/13th), field goal percentage defense (.350/16th), and scoring margin (+17.8/24th).

 

FINDING MORE DEPTH

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

·         Through the first six games of this season, the tide has swung as UC's bench is scoring 31.0 points per game or 43.4 percent of the points.

·         The Bearcats have three players averaging over five points or more off the bench, led by the team's third-leading scorer Alvin Mitchell (9.8 ppg).

·         Steve Toyloy, the team's third-leading rebounder is averaging 4.5 points and 5.0 rebounds in 16.3 minutes a game.

·         So far this season, Cincinnati has nine players averaging 10 or more minutes per game. Out of those nine, eight are averaging 15 minutes or more

 

MAKING THE BEST OF HIS MINUTES

·         In the first six games, the Cincinnati Bearcats have faced teams with smaller, quicker post players limiting  sophomore center Anthony McClain's minutes to 10.7 per contest.

·         The 7-foot-0 native of Trenton, N.J., has taken full advantage of his minutes, averaging 5.7 points and 4.2 rebounds. Pro-rated out, McClain would average 15.9 points and 11.8 rebounds over 30 minutes.

·         Against Western Illinois (Nov. 22), McClain provided a spark off the bench for the Bearcats, scoring a career-high 11 points, swatting a career-high four blocked shots, pulling down seven rebounds (matching a season high), while playing 14 minutes.

·         Part of the increase in production from his 2.7 ppg and 3.0 rpg last season is his health. Last season, McClain battled through a foot injury limited his minutes and required off-season surgery.

 

GETTING RIGHT TO BUSINESS

·         With the departure of five veteran players from last year's squad that accounted for 33.6 points per game, Cronin needed to find scoring in the off-season and his Class of 2008-09 has not disappointed.

·         Despite the loss of highly-touted point guard Cashmere Wright for the season, the four new faces, which includes freshmen Dion Dixon, and Yancy Gates, senior transfer Mike Williams, and junior college transfer Steve Toyloy, are averaging 28.3 points a game.

·         More impressively, the group is averaging 20.4 rebounds per game -- almost half of the team's nightly average (46.2 percent).

 

MITCHELL MAKES ADJUSTMENTS

·         After scoring 33 points per game as a senior at Cardinal Gibbons High School in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., sophomore guard Alvin Mitchell found the transition to college basketball difficult last season as he averaged 2.8 points and shot 26.3 percent from the floor.

·         After spending a lot of time in the gym during the offseason, Mitchell has found his shooting touch once again and is third on the team in scoring with 9.8 points per game in 20-plus minutes per game off the bench.

·         Against Texas Southern (Nov. 18) and Western Illinois (Nov. 24), Mitchell led the team in scoring each night, improving on his career-high for points with 15 vs. TSU and 19 vs. WIU. In each game, Mitchell knocked down a career-high four 3-pointers.

·         Only six of his 19 baskets this season are not  3-pointers and he is shooting 52.0 percent (13-of-25) from behind the arc.

·         Mitchell's 3-point shooting played a big part in the Bearcats' win last weekend at UNLV. With the Bearcats trailing by two, 59-57, and 3:13 left in the game, Mitchell hit back-to-back 3-pointers to put UC up by four, a lead it would not relinquish. 

 

A LONG ROAD BACK

·         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.

·         Williams has made a dramatic impact on the team in his first six games, averaging 8.7 points and 5.7 rebounds in 25.2 minutes of work. He scored a career-high 12 points vs. Western Illinois (Nov. 22) and registered his first double-double at UC last weekend vs. Florida State with 11 points and 11 boards.

 

BLOCK PARTY

·         Part of the improvement in the Bearcats defense this season has been the added dimension of a shot blocker. In 2006-07 and 2007-08, UC was ranked last in the 16-team BIG EAST in blocked shots, averaging 1.93 and 2.28, respectively.

·         This season, Cincinnati has climbed to eighth in the league, swatting away 4.67 shots per game.

·         Sophomore center Anthony McClain leads UC with 10 blocks this year, including a career-high four against Coastal Carolina.

·         Freshman Yancy Gates is second on the team with eight.

 

30/30's

·         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.

 

BEARCATS JOIN FIELD FOR 2009 MAUI INVITATIONAL

·         The EA Sports Maui Invitational announced last week that the University of Cincinnati will replace Louisville in the 2009 tournament field.

·         The Bearcats join former national champions Arizona, Maryland, and Wisconsin along with Colorado, Gonzaga, Vanderbilt and host Chaminade University of Honolulu.

·         The invitational, which turns 26-years old next season, will take place Thanksgiving Week 2009 in the Lahaina Civic Center.

·         It will be Cincinnati's first appearance in the Maui Invitational.

 

VAUGHN A COUSY AWARD NOMINEE

·         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).

 

HOME SWEET HOME

·         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 were part of the Global Sports Classic. After playing home games vs. Western Illinois (Nov. 22) and Coastal Carolina (Nov. 24), the Bearcats traveled to Las Vegas for the final two rounds at the Thomas & Mack Center where they faced Florida State (Nov. 28) and UNLV (Nov. 29).

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

·         UC is 258-50 (.838) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 24-15 at home (.615).

 

WRIGHT OUT FOR SEASON

·         For the second year in a row, the University of Cincinnati 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 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 point guard in 2007-08 by Rivals.com.

 

BEARCATS INK ONE IN EARLY SIGNING PERIOD

·         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 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 averaged 23.0 ppg in his first five games.

 

FAST-PACED RACE

·         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.

 

500-POINT MAN

·         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).

 

RETURN TO POSTSEASON

·         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.

 

A "BIG" EAST IMPROVEMENT

·         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.

 

UNLV NOTES - NOV. 29

·         The Bearcats defeated UNLV, 67-65; UC leads the all-time series 5-0.

·         UC hit 10-of-28 3-pointers, marking the second game this season that the Bearcats have hit 10-plus 3-pointers.

·         After scoring just nine bench points vs. Florida State (Nov. 28), UC's bench scored 39 points versus the Runnin' Rebels, accounting for 58.2 percent of its points.

·         The Bearcats outrebounded UNLV, 43-36, and all 10 Bearcat players that played grabbed two or more rebounds.

·         Cincinnati held UNLV to 38.6 percent shooting from the floor. UC has held all opponents under 40 percent shooting from the floor this season.

·         Nine Cincinnati players played 15-plus minutes in the win.

·         After opening up 1-of-5 from the free throw line, Cincinnati finished the game a perfect 6-of-6 from the charity stripe.

·         Two free throws by senior Mike Williams with six seconds to play sealed a 67-65 win for Cincinnati over UNLV. Williams scored all four of his points in the final two minutes of action.

·         Behind 59-57 with 4:35 to play, two 3-pointers by sophomore Alvin Mitchell followed by a Williams lay-up pushed the Bearcats on top, 65-59, with 1:56 remaining.

·         Trailing by one point, 46-45, a 7-0 Bearcat run over a 1:37 stretch put Cincinnati in front, 52-46, with 7:42 to play.

·         A freshman Dion Dixon jumper with 12:24 on the clock in the second half pushed UC on top, 42-41, giving the Bearcats their first lead of the second half.

·         UNLV entered halftime with a 31-27 lead. In the first half, UNLV outscored UC 22-10 in points in the point.

·         A senior Deonta Vaughn 3-pointer with 11:35 to play in the first half gave UC a 13-11 lead, its first lead of the game.

·         Cincinnati opened the game 0-for-9 from the floor before a freshman Yancy Gates tip-in at the 15:33 mark snapped a 7-0 UNLV run.

·         Gates scored a season-high tying 16 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field. It is Gates' third double-figure scoring game of the season.

·         Dixon scored a season-high 13 points, including a season-best three 3-pointers, to record his first double-figure scoring game of the season.

·         Vaughn scored 16 points, joining Gates as high scorers for UC, which is the third straight game Vaughn has led Cincinnati in scoring. Vaughn connected on 4-of-13 treys.

·         Sophomore Larry Davis registered two steals vs. UNLV, giving him two steals in three consecutive games.

·         Sophomore Anthony McClain earned the first start of his career.


 

 

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