Men's Basketball Continues Home Stretch Against Eastern Kentucky

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM Senior Mike Williams
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Senior Mike Williams
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Men's Basketball |

Dec. 19, 2008

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THE MATCH-UP

The Cincinnati Bearcats (8-2, 0-0 BIG EAST) play its fourth game in a week when it welcomes Eastern Kentucky (7-3; 1-1 OVC) to Fifth Third Arena for a 6:30 p.m. tip on Saturday, Dec. 20. UC is coming off of a win over Mississippi State, 75-63, in the BIG EAST/SEC Invitational on Thursday, Dec. 18. Against the Bulldogs, the Bearcats hit a season-high 12 3-pointers and four players scored in double-figures, led by junior guard Deonta Vaughn's 16 points. The Red and Black enter Saturday's contest with a 6-1 home record and look to improve to 7-1 at home for the first time since the 2004-05 season, when Cincinnati started 8-0 at home. Eastern Kentucky comes to Fifth Third Arena with a 7-3 record overall and a 1-1 record in the Ohio Valley Conference. The Colonels are led by senior Mike Rose's 18.8 ppg. Rose is also one of the top 3-point shooters in the country. He has connected on 32-of-62 3-pointers this season, resulting in a .516 shooting percentage from behind the arc. Rose's 3-point shooting percentage ranks 11th nationally helping him average 3.2 3-point field goals per contest. As a team, the Colonels average 11.4 turnovers per game, which ranks 10th fewest nationally, while dishing out an average of 16.0 assists per game. The Colonels 1.4 assist-to-turnover ratio ranks 11th in the nation.

 

SCOUTING EASTERN KENTUCKY

·         Eastern Kentucky enters Saturday's match-up with Cincinnati with a 7-3 overall record and a 1-1 mark in the Ohio Valley Conference.

·         The Colonels have won three consecutive games, including a 71-58 win at Ball State in their last outing on Dec. 13.

·         Eastern Kentucky ranks in the Top 50 in the country in 10 statistical categories, including ranking eighth nationally in 3-point field goals made per game (10.3).

·         Senior Mike Rose leads the team in scoring, averaging 18.8 points per game. Rose also leads the team in steals (20) and 3-point field goal percentage (.516), while ranking second on the team in rebounding (6.5) and assists (23).

·         Rose ranks in the Top 100 nationally in scoring (66th, 18.8 ppg), 3-point field goal percentage (11th, .516), 3-point field goals per game (42nd, 3.2), and steals (87th, 2.0).

·         Junior Papa Oppong ranks second on the team in scoring, averaging 12.2 ppg, while ranking first on the squad in rebounds with 6.9.

·         EKU, much like Cincinnati, has a deep bench that has 10 players seeing more than 10 minutes a game, including six over 15 minutes per contest.

·         Dayvon Ellis runs the show for the Colonels at the point guard position and has recorded 46 assists compared to just 17 turnovers this season. Ellis' assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.71 ranks 33rd in the country.

 

CINCINNATI VS. THE OVC

·         The Bearcats own a 34-3 all-time record against teams currently in the Ohio Valley Conference, including a 9-0 all-time mark vs. Eastern Kentucky. Head coach Mick Cronin is 1-0 against OVC teams while at the helm of the UC program.

·         Head coach Mick Cronin coached for three years at Murray State and helped the Racers to two OVC regular-season and tournament championships.

·         Cincinnati has won 21 consecutive regular-season games over OVC teams, with its last loss coming on Feb. 14, 1987 by a score of 67-56 against Tennessee State.

 

FIFTH THIRD ADVANTAGE

·         The Bearcats own a 6-1 record at Fifth Third Arena this season, with its only loss coming to then No. 10/9 Xavier.

·         UC is off to its best home start (6-1) since the 2004-05 team started its home campaign with an 8-0 record.

MR. DOWNTOWN

·         In front by three points, 32-29, with 4:06 to play in the first half vs. Mississippi State, Cincinnati went on a 15-0 run over that stretch to enter the intermission with a 47-29 lead.

·         Junior Deonta Vaughn scored 14 of his team-high 16 points during that run, including 11 straight points.

·         Four of Vaughn's five field goals during that stretch came from behind the arc.

·         Vaughn also finished with a career-high seven rebounds, and six assists vs. Mississippi State.

 

UC SHOOTS PAST BULLDOGS

·         Cincinnati hit nine first-half 3-pointers vs. Mississippi State to jump out to a 47-29 halftime advantage over the Bulldogs.

·         UC finished the game 12-of-27 from behind the arc (.444), its most made 3-pointers in a game this season.

·         Sophomore Larry Davis tied a career-high with four three's, while Vaughn also hit four treys. Freshman Dion Dixon and sophomore Alvin Mitchell each buried two triples apiece.

 

70-PLUS

·         With Cincinnati's 75-63 win over Mississippi State on Dec. 18, Cincinnati has surpassed the 70-point plateau in seven games this season.

·         Last season, the Bearcats surpassed 70 points seven times in 32 contests.

 

OUT OF THE GATES

·         After scoring just three points against Xavier on Dec. 13, freshman Yancy Gates has gotten off to good starts in each in Cincinnati's last two games.

·         Gates finished one rebound shy of his second double-double of the season with 12 points and nine rebounds vs. Mississippi State.

·         Gates scored six of UC's first seven points and grabbed three early rebounds to take control of the game vs. the Bulldogs.

·         Coming off the bench, Gates scored a season-high 18 points on 8-of-10 shooting from the field in a 74-55 win over Charleston Southern (12/15/08).

·         Gates scored 10 of his game-high 18 points in the first 12 minutes of the game vs. the Buccaneers and added seven rebounds.

·         The Cincinnati native has had six double-figure scoring games this season and Cincinnati is 6-0 when Gates scores in double-figures.

 

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).

·         This season the tide has swung as UC's bench is scoring 33.0 points per game or 45.1 percent of the points. The Xavier game marked the first time this season UC lost when its bench outscored its opponent.

·         UC's bench scoring average of 33.0 ppg is 15.2 ppg more than last season and it is the first time since the 2003-04 season that the Bearcats bench has averaged above 30.0 ppg. During the 2003-04 season, Cincinnati's bench averaged 31.1 ppg over 32 games.

·         Against Charleston Southern on Dec. 15, Cincinnati's bench scored 55 points to equal the Buccaneer scoring total in the game.

·         The last time Cincinnati's bench scored 50-plus points in a game was on Dec. 30, 2003 in a 102-63 win over Elon, posting 50 points.

·         The Bearcats bench has combined to score 20 or more points in nine of 10 games this season.

·         The Bearcats have four players averaging four points or more off the bench, led by the team's third-leading scorer Alvin Mitchell (9.0 ppg).

·         Steve Toyloy, the team's second-leading rebounder is averaging 4.6 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.8 minutes a game. He played a season-high 23 minutes vs. Xavier off the bench and equaled his career-high with 11 points on 5-of-7 shooting.

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

 

CRONIN MILESTONE

·         In his sixth year as a Division I head coach, Mick Cronin reached his 100th career victory with a 74-55 victory over Charleston Southern on Dec. 15.

·         Cronin has compiled a 101-64 (.612) record over stints at Murray State (2003-06) and Cincinnati (2006-pres.).

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

 

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

100 vs. Charleston Southern (UC) 74-55 Dec. 15, 2008

 

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 10 games, holding its opponents to 59.6 points per game and 36.7 percent shooting, while averaging 43.3 rebounds per game and a +11.5 rebounding margin. Last year, UC allowed opponents 67.8 points per contest on .430 shooting.

·         UC's +11.5 rebounding margin ranks first in the BIG EAST.

·         In the most recent NCAA statistics, Cincinnati was ranked nationally among the Top 25 in rebounding margin (+9.9/14th), and field goal percentage defense (.360/14th).

·         With the addition to Mike Williams and Yancy Gates down in the blocks this year, UC has jumped from 11th in the BIG EAST in offensive rebounds per game last year (12.7) to second this season (16.6). The only BIG EAST team UC trails is West Virginia.

·         The 16.5 offensive rebounds per game also ranks 11th nationally.

·         Seven players are averaging over 3.5 rebounds per game this season.

 

MITCHELL HAS CAREER NIGHT VS. CSU

·         Sophomore forward Alvin Mitchell put together an impressive all-around effort in UC's 19-point win over Charleston Southern on Dec. 15.

·         Mitchell recorded his third double-figure scoring game of the season with 16 points, knocking down a career-high tying four 3-pointers.

·         Mitchell also grabbed a career-high nine rebounds and dished out a career-high six assists in the win.

 

DOUBLE-TIME

·         Coming off the bench for the first time this season, senior forward Mike Williams finished with 10 points and a career-high tying 11 rebounds vs. Charleston Southern (12/15).

·         It was the second double-double of the season for Williams and the third time this season a UC player has recorded a double-double (Williams 2; Gates 1).

 

NOT TOYLOY-ING AROUND

·         After scoring two points in Cincinnati's four games prior to the Crosstown Shootout, Steve Toyloy reasserted himself as a scoring threat vs. the Musketeers, hitting on 5-of-7 shots and equalling his season-high with 11 points.

·         Toyloy is one of the Bearcats top guys off the bench, posting 4.6 points and 4.7 rebounds a game.

·         His 60.6 shooting percentage (20-of-33) is third on the team.

·         Toyloy posted five or more rebounds in five of UC's 10 games.

 

NO. 5 SLIDES INTO NO. 5 SLOT

·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn made five 3-pointers vs. Xavier on Dec. 13 in the Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout and moved into fifth-place on the career 3-pointer list ahead of former UC standout Damon Flint (1993-97).

·         Vaughn has sank 186-of-534 (.348) 3-point field goal attempts in 72 career games, while Flint was 177-of-593 (.298) over his four-year career.

·         Vaughn is 72 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.  Deonta Vaughn 2006-pres. 186

 

FINDING HIS GROOVE

·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn was the BIG EAST's sixth-leading scorer last season, averaging 17.3 points per game. As Vaughn adjusted to the new faces on the team this season and the transition to running more of the offense as the point guard, his scoring was down over the first three games, averaging 10.3 points a night.

·         Since scoring 17 vs. Coastal Carolina (Nov. 24), Vaughn has picked up where he left off in 2007-08, scoring 16.6 points per game over the last six.

·         Against Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout, Vaughn scored a season-high 27 points, hitting on 5-of-11 treys and 8-of-9 free throws.

·         Vaughn scored 14 points in the final 4:06 of the first half vs. Mississippi State, including hitting four 3-pointers.

·         He has made 16 of his last 43 3-pointers (.372).

 

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 44.8 percent from the field, an improvement of 3.6 percent from last year (41.2).

·         UC shot 53.2 percent (33-62) from the floor vs. Coastal Carolina (Nov. 24), 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) in the Global Sports Classic.

·         The individual players that have 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 (9.0 ppg), hitting on 42.3 percent from the field, while McClain leads all players  in shooting percentage at 73.9 percent (17-23), up 29.7 percent from last year (.442).

 

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 9.0 points per game in 20.6 minutes per game off the bench.

·         Against Charleston Southern, Mitchell put his all-around game on display with 16 points, a career-high nine rebounds and a career-best six assists.

·         It took Mitchell just seven games this season to eclipse his 2007-08 season points total (62), and he has scored 90 points this season.

·         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.

·         Twenty of his 30 baskets this season are 3-pointers and he is shooting 41.7 percent (20-of-48) from behind the arc.

·         Mitchell's 3-point shooting played a big part in the Bearcats win 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 did not relinquish. 

 

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 29.8 points a game.

·         More impressively, the group is averaging 19.7 rebounds per game -- almost half of the team's nightly average (45.5 percent).

 

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 this season, averaging 8.6 points and 5.3 rebounds in 24.2 minutes of work.

·         With 10 points and 11 rebounds, Williams notched his second double-double of the season against Charleston Southern.

·         He netted a career-high 17 points vs. UAB, knocking down 11-of-14 free throws.

·         His 80.0 percent (28-of-35) free throw percentage ranks first on the team.

·         He registered his first double-double at UC vs. Florida State (Nov. 28) with 11 points and 11 boards.

 

BEARCATS JOIN FIELD FOR 2009 MAUI INVITATIONAL

·         The EA Sports Maui Invitational announced last month 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 2008  NCAA national runner-up Memphis on Dec. 29.

·         UC is 260-51 (.836) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 26-16 at home (.619).

 

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 was, 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

      

 

 

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