Bearcats Close Homestand vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff
gobearcats.COM Yancy Gates
gobearcats.COM
Yancy Gates
gobearcats.COM

Dec. 22, 2008

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GAME 12: Arkansas-Pine Bluff AT CINCINNATI

Monday, Dec. 22 u 7:30 p.m. EST u Fifth Third Arena (13,176) u Cincinnati, Ohio u FS Ohio

 

THE MATCH-UP

Eleven games into the 2008-09 season, the Cincinnati Bearcats (9-2, 0-0 BIG EAST) are off to their best start since the 2005-06 season following an 85-77 come-from-behind victory over Eastern Kentucky last Saturday. UC, which has won three in a row and five of its last six, hosts the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (0-8, 0-0 SWAC) Monday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena. The Lions are playing their ninth straight road game since the start of the season and are coming off an 87-58 loss at Nevada on Dec. 17.

 

THE SERIES

This will be the first meeting between the University of Cincinnati and Arkansas-Pine Bluff. The Bearcats are 7-0 all-time against teams from the Southwestern Athletic Conference, including a 82-51 victory over Texas Southern in the second game of this season.

 

ONE THING YOU NEED TO KNOW

The Cincinnati Bearcats are fifth in the nation in offensive rebounds and first among BCS conference schools, averaging 16.9 per game. Since 1996, it is the highest average by a Bearcats’ squad, eclipsing the team’s average of 15.8 in 1997-98.

 

SCOUTING ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF

·         Arkansas-Pine Bluff is playing its 10th straight road game to start the season vs. Cincinnati and is looking to pick up its second win in three games.

·         The Lions knocked off SMU, 64-62, on a buzzer-beater on Dec. 15 before losing their last game on Dec. 17 at Nevada, 87-58

·         UAPB is allowing 78.8 ppg and giving up 50.9 ppg for a -27.9 margin.

·         Junior guard Terrance Calvin is the team’s top scorer, posting 10.3 points per night on 33.8 shooting (26-of-77). Calvin is also second on the squad in rebounds (6.1 rpg).

·         Junior forward Lebaron Weathers, the team’s third-leading scorer (8.7 ppg), has totaled 61 boards and averages a team-high 6.8 rebounds a night.

·         The Lions are shooting 34.6 percent from the field as a team and 24.8 percent from behind the 3-point line.

 

CINCINNATI VS. THE SWAC

·         The Bearcats own a 7-0 all-time record against teams currently in the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).

·         This will be the first time UC and Arkansas-Pine Bluff have faced each other.

·         Head coach Mick Cronin is 6-0 against SWAC teams in his career, including 5-0 vs. Jacksonville State. He earned his first win against a SWAC school while at UC earlier this year, beating Texas Southern 82-51 on Nov. 18.

 

EASTERN KENTUCKY GAME NOTES - DEC. 20

·         It was the 10th meeting between Eastern Kentucky and Cincinnati. UC leads the all-time series, 10-0.

·         Cincinnati went on a 9-2 run over the first 2:01 of overtime to open up an 82-75 lead. The spurt was capped off by a 3-pointer from the left baseline from freshman Dion Dixon. UC went on to defeat EKU 85-77.

·         UC committed a season-low 10 turnovers and grabbed 47 rebounds, the eighth time this season UC has pulled down 40-plus rebounds in a game.

·         The Bearcats dished out a season-high 21 assists.

·         UC won its first overtime game since defeating Rutgers in overtime, 72-68, on Feb. 9, 2008.

·         Trailing 73-71, an alley-oop dunk by Yancy Gates from Deonta Vaughn tied the game at 73, sending UC to its first overtime game this season and its first overtime game since March 2, 2008.

·         A three-point play by sophomore Larry Davis, followed by a transition 3-pointer by Davis put Cincinnati ahead, 70-69, with 1:50 to play in the game. The lead was UC’s first since the Bearcats led 8-6 with 16:05 to play in the first half.

·         Cincinnati closed out the first half on a 17-6 run over the final 5:59 to close within four points, 36-32, after trailing in the half by as many as 15 points. Junior Deonta Vaughn scored all eight of his first-half points during that stretch.

·         Eastern Kentucky shot 54.5 (6-of-11) percent from behind the arc in the first half compared to UC’s 29.4 (5-of-17) 3-point shooting percentage.

·         The Bearcats defense held EKU 0-for-5 from 3-point range in the overtime period.

·         Senior Mike Williams scored four points and grabbed nine rebounds in the first half. Williams finished with 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, his third double-double of the season.

·         Williams became the first UC player to finish with 15-plus rebounds in a game since John Williamson grabbed 16 rebounds vs. Ohio State on Dec. 16, 2006.

·         A 3-pointer by junior Deonta Vaughn with 5:59 to play in the opening stanza was his first three points of the game. He finished the game with 20 points, the second time he has scored 20-plus points this season. Vaughn dished out a season-high seven assists.

 

FIFTH THIRD ADVANTAGE

·         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.

·         The Bearcats have a 8-1 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 (8-1) since the 2004-05 team started its home campaign with an 8-0 record.

·         UC is 261-51 (.837) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 27-16 at home (.628).

 

MR. DOWNTOWN

·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn has begun to earn a reputation for scoring his points in bunches during a game, starting at last year’s BIG EAST Conference Championship in New York, when he single-handedly brought UC back against Pittsburgh with 23 of his 30 points in the second half.

·         In front by three points, 32-29, with 4:06 to play in the first half vs. Mississippi State (12/18), 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.

·         Cincinnati closed out the first half vs. Eastern Kentucky (12/20) on a 17-6 run over the final 5:59 to close within four points, 36-32, after trailing in the half by as many as 15 points. Junior Deonta Vaughn scored all eight of his first-half points during that stretch.

 

BATTLING BACK

·         Cincinnati trailed Eastern Kentucky, 30-15, at 7:19 of the first half on Dec. 20 before mounting the second-largest comeback under head coach Mick Cronin.

·         Trailing 73-71, an alley-oop dunk by Yancy Gates from Deonta Vaughn with 0.1 second left in regulation tied the game at 73, sending UC to its first overtime game this season and its first overtime game since March 2, 2008.

·         The Bearcats went on a 12-4 run in overtime, including nine free throws, to pull out the dramatic victory.

·         The largest comeback under Cronin was vs. West Virginia in 2006-07. Down by as many as 17 points with 10:49 left in the first half, UC, led by 32 points by Marvin Gentry, fought all the way back and downed the Mountaineers, 96-83, in overtime.

·         Cronin is now 4-1 at UC in overtime games.

 

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, holding its opponents to 61.2 points per game and 37.3 percent shooting, while averaging 43.6 rebounds per game and a +12.0 rebounding margin. Last year, UC allowed opponents 67.8 points per contest on .430 shooting.

·         UC’s +12.0 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 (+12.0/4th), and field goal percentage defense (.373/23rd).

·         Six players are averaging over 4.0 rebounds per game this season.

·         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 first this season (16.9).

·         The 16.9 offensive rebounds per game also ranks fifth nationally and is the highest by a BCS program.

 

SHARING DURING THE HOLIDAY SEASON

·         In its last three games, Cincinnati has averaged 20.0 assists per game, posting 19 vs. Charleston Southern (Dec. 15), 20 vs. Mississippi State (Dec. 18), and a season-best 21 vs. Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 20).

·         UC is posting 16.3 assists per game over the season, its highest average since 16.2 in 2003-04.

·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn has become more comfortable with his new role as the team’s point guard and has 18 assists in the last three games (6.0 apg).

·         Vaughn needs seven assists to reach 300 for his career, leaving him 107 behind Damon Flint (407) on the all-time list.

 

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.

 

THE GROOVY 70’S

·         With Cincinnati’s 85-77 win over Eastern Kentucky on Dec. 20, Cincinnati has surpassed the 70-point plateau in three straight games and for the eighth time this season. UC is 8-0 in those contests.

·         UC is 16-8 in head coach Mick Cronin’s two-plus seasons behind the bench when scoring 70 or more points.

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

 

OUT OF THE GATES

·         After scoring just two points against Xavier on Dec. 13, freshman Yancy Gates has turned in three straight double-digit scoring nights vs. Charleston Southern (18), Mississippi State (12) and Eastern Kentucky (17) and has gone for 10 or more points in  five of his last six outings. His 15.7 points per game during the stretch is tops on the squad.

·         For the season, Gates is the team’s second-leading scorer, averaging 10.5 points per game.

·         Gates finished one rebound shy of his second double-double of the season with 12 points and nine rebounds vs. Mississippi State (Dec. 18).

·         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 (Dec. 15).

·         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 seven double-figure scoring games this season and Cincinnati is 7-0 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 31.9 points per game or 43.0 percent of the points. The Eastern Kentucky game marked the second time this season UC’s bench was outscored. The Bearcats are 1-1 in those games.

·         UC’s bench scoring average of 31.9 ppg is 14.1 ppg more than last season (17.8 ppg) and marks the first time since the 2003-04 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 10 of 11 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 (8.6 ppg).

·         Steve Toyloy, the team’s third-leading rebounder is averaging 4.4 points and 4.3 rebounds in 15.2 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 102-64 (.614) record over stints at Murray State (2003-06) and Cincinnati (2006-pres.).

 

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.

 

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 4.4 points and 4.3 rebounds a game.

·         His .600 shooting percentage (21-of-35) is third on the team.

·         Toyloy posted five or more rebounds in five of UC’s 11 games.

 

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 17.0 points per game over the last seven.

·         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 26 of his last 72 3-pointers (.361).

 

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 189-of-545 (.347) 3-point field goal attempts in 73 career games, while Flint was 177-of-593 (.298) over his four-year career.

·         Vaughn is 69 treys behind Steve Logan (1998-2002) for fourth place.

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

 

KNOCKING IT DOWN

·         One of the most differences in UC this season is its ability to shoot the ball. This year, UC is shooting 44.1 percent from the field, an improvement of 2.9 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 (8.6 ppg), hitting on 42.7 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.

·         21 of his 32 baskets this season are 3-pointers and he is shooting 41.2 percent (21-of-51) 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. 

·         Mitchell missed most the Eastern Kentucky game on Dec. 20 suffering from a stomach ailment.

 

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 30.7 points a game.

·         More impressively, the group is averaging 20.9 rebounds per game — almost half of the team’s nightly average (47.9 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 13 points and a career-high 16 rebounds, Williams notched his third double-double of the season against Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 20).

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

·         His 79.5 percent (35-of-44) free throw percentage ranks second on the team. He has been Mr. Clutch at the line in the last three minutes of close contests (10 points or less), knocking down 14-of-18 free throws (.778).

 

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).

 

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.

 

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.