Men's Basketball Faces Winthrop on Dec. 22

Dec. 22, 2009

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Game 11: Winthrop at Cincinnati

Tuesday, Dec. 22 u 7:30 p.m. u Fifth Third Arena (13,176) u Cincinnati, Ohio u TV: BIG EAST Network/FOX Sports Ohio u Radio: 700 WLW 


The Cincinnati Bearcats (7-3, 0-0 BIG EAST) snapped a two-game losing streak on Saturday vs. Lipscomb with an 80-52 victory and head into their last non-conference game of 2009 vs. Winthrop University (5-5, 1-1 Big South) on Tuesday, Dec. 22 at 7:30 p.m. in Fifth Third Arena. Tuesday’s game vs. Winthrop will be broadcast on FOX Sports Ohio and the BIG EAST Network (check local listings) with Michael Reghi (pxp) and former UC basketball standout Anthony Buford (analyst) handling the call. Dan Hoard (pxp) and Chuck Machock (analyst) will call the game on 700 WLW.



Cincinnati and Winthrop have met once before with the Bearcats picking up a 79-36 victory on Dec. 30, 1997. Melvin Levett led the Bearcats in scoring vs. the Eagles, posting 34 points on 13-of-21 shooting. Bobby Brannen added 14 points and 15 rebounds in the game. The Bearcats swarming defense forced 24 turnovers and held Winthrop to 28.0 percent shooting (14-of-50). The win was UC’s third in a 10-game winning streak that season. UC is 6-1 vs. teams from the Big South Conference.



·         Winthrop is 5-5 overall with three wins coming its last five games, including an 82-68 victory in conference play vs. High Point on Dec. 5.

·         The Eagles average 59.4 points a game with six players averaging five points or more a game.

·         Andre Jones leads all scorers with 9.6 points per game.

·         Winthrop has struggled from the field through the early stages of the season, shooting 36.1 percent from the field, but the Eagles have stayed in games because of their defense.

·         Winthrop ranks 105th nationally in blocks per game with 4.0. Matt Morgan leads the team with 1.0 bpg.

·         The Eagles rank 10th nationally in steals per game (10.5). Four players have recorded 10-plus steals on the season led by Reggie Middleton (22) and Mantoris Robinson (20).



·         The Bearcats are 271-55 (.831) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 35-21 in Fifth Third (.625).

·         UC is 5-0 at home and 4-0 in Fifth Third Arena this season.

·         The Bearcats are averaging 83.8 points per game in Fifth Third Arena led by Rashad Bishop’s 13.8 points per game.

·         Bishop’s 13.8 ppg at home is 8.9 points higher than his road average of 4.9 ppg.



·         Since Mick Cronin took over the program in 2006-07, Cincinnati is 31-18 (.633) vs. non-conference opponents, including a record of 26-6 (.813) at home.

·         UC has won 13 of its last 15 non-conference games at home with the losses coming vs. Xavier and Memphis the last two seasons. During the stretch, the Bearcats have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 19.0 points per game in the 13 wins.



·         One of the major reasons for Cincinnati’s success in the early part of the season has been its defense, which has held its opponents to 62.1 points per game.

·         Eight of UC’s 10 opponents this season have scored 64 points or less. Despite giving up 83 points to Xavier, Cincinnati limited XU to 61 points in regulation.

·         Opponents are shooting 37.4 percent (215-of-575) vs. UC.

·         Even in UC’s three losses, UC’s defense has been solid holding its opponents to 41.1 percent shooting overall and 27.8 percent from 3-point range.

·         The Bearcats come into the week ranked 21st in field-goal percentage defense and 66th in the nation in scoring defense.



·         Besides defense, the other main characteristic of UC basketball over the last 20 years has been rebounding.

·         The Bearcats are ranked 18th in the nation in rebounding margin at +8.6 per game.

·         Cincinnati is pulling down 43.1 boards per game, while limiting opponents to 34.5 rebounds.

·         Five times this season UC has posted 45 or more rebounds in a game (Prairie View A&M - 47, Vanderbilt - 53, Maryland - 47, Texas Southern - 47, Xavier - 52).

·         On the offensive glass, UC is tied for 25th in the nation posting 14.7 offensive rebounds per game.

·         Sophomore Yancy Gates has posted double-digit rebounds three times this season and UC is undefeated in those games (Prairie View A&M, Vanderbilt, Maryland).

·         Dion Dixon and Lance Stephenson have Cincinnati’s other two double-figure rebounding performances.

·         Stephenson has seen his rebound average climb from 4.4 to 5.1 rebounds per game thanks to 29 boards in the last five games.



·         Cincinnati defeated Lipscomb 80-52 after outscoring the Bisons, 45-28, in the second half on 62.1 (18-of-29) percent shooting from the field and 53.8 (7-of-13) shooting from behind-the arc. The match-up was the first game between the two schools.

·         Lipscomb, who averaged 83.8 points per game entering the contest, was held to 52 points, its lowest scoring output of the season. Lipscomb’s previous low was 64 points on Nov. 24 at No. 17/18 Ohio State.

·         After shooting a combined 10-of-57 from three the last three games, Cincinnati hit 10-of-26 (.385) three-point tries against the Bisons.

·         Cincinnati shot 54.4 (31-of-57) percent from the field compared to just 29.0 (20-of-69) percent for Lipscomb. The 54.4 percent marks the third time this season the Bearcats have shot over 50 percent from the field.

·         The Bearcats had five players score in double figures. The last time UC had exactly five players score in double figures was on Jan. 20, 2007 at West Virginia.

·         UC finished with a season-high eight blocks, the second most blocks for the Bearcats under head coach Mick Cronin. Junior Anthony McClain led the team with three blocks, while senior Steve Toyloy and junior Ibrahima Thomas had two blocks apiece.

·         The Cincinnati bench outscored the Lipscomb bench 34-15, with sophomore Dion Dixon (15) and junior Rashad Bishop (13) combining for 28 of the 34 points.

·         The Bearcats opened the second half on a 7-0 run to take a 42-24 advantage with 18:15 to play.

·         UC took a 35-24 lead heading into halftime, UC’s largest halftime lead since leading by 22 against Texas Southern on Dec. 1.

·         Lipscomb started out 7-of-15 from the field over the first 12 minutes, but hit just 2-of-16 shots in the final eight minutes of the first half and finished the first half shooting 9-of-31 (.290) from the floor. The Bearcats shot 13-of-28 (.464) from the field in the opening half.

·         A 16-2 run by Cincinnati over a 6:27 stretch extended UC’s lead to 33-21 with 2:29 to play in the opening half.

·         After starting the game 0-of-6 from the field, Cincinnati hit eight of its next 13 shots to take a 21-19 lead with 7:32 to play in the opening half.

·         Cincinnati went the first 6:23 of the game without a field goal before sophomore Dion Dixon hit a three-pointer with 13:36 to play in the first half to cut the UC deficit to three points, 8-5.

·         Freshman Lance Stephenson led the Bearcats in scoring with 19 points, his sixth double-figure scoring game of the season.

·         A Deonta Vaughn assist to Ibrahima Thomas with 18:15 remaining in the second half gave Vaughn 426 career assists, moving him past Oscar Robertson into third place on UC’s all-time assists list. Vaughn finished with seven assists and currently owns 430 career assists.

·         In his first start of the season, junior Larry Davis scored 10 points, his first double-figure scoring effort of the season. All 10 of Davis’ points were scored in the second half.

·         Thomas made his first career start as a Bearcat and collected his first double-figure scoring game with 10 points. He also grabbed six rebounds.

·         Junior Rashad Bishop went a perfect 5-for-5 from the field, including three 3-pointers, to finish with 13 points. Bishop now has three double-figure scoring games this season after registering three double-figure scoring efforts during the 2008-09 season.

·         Stephenson and Dixon combined to score 26 of Cincinnati’s 35 first-half points, while connecting on 10-of-15 (.667) shots from the floor. The rest of the Bearcats combined to score nine points in the first half and shoot 3-of-13 (.231) from the field.

·         Dixon scored seven of UC’s first 11 points.



·         UC’s game vs. Xavier at the Cintas Center was its first “official” road game of the season.

·         The Bearcats’ three games in Maui were considered neutral site contests, while the Miami (OH) game at U.S. Bank Arena is considered a “home” game since Cincinnati moved a home contest to an arena within the city limits.

·         Following Wednesday’s loss at UAB, 64-47, the Bearcats are 0-2 in away games this season and have a record of 7-29 (.194) in road games under Mick Cronin.

·         UC has shot 35.2 percent on the road this season vs. Xavier and UAB and is averaging 63.0 points.

·         Cincinnati’s last road win was a 64-62 overtime victory at Georgetown last season on Feb. 7.



·         Over the last two games against Lipscomb and UAB, the Bearcats have gotten off to slow starts offensively and UC has trailed at the mid-way point of the opening half.

·         During the first 10 minutes of the opening half the last two games, sophomore Dion Dixon has single-handidly kept UC in the game during its struggles. In that time frame, Dixon has gone 5-of-7 from the field and combined to score 13 points.

·         While Dixon has thrived, the rest of the Bearcats have combined to shoot 2-of-17 from the floor scoring four points.



·         Coming into the season, junior Rashad Bishop had a career three-point shooting percentage of 27.9 percent.

·         While UC has struggled from behind-the-arc to start the season (27.6 percent), Bishop has thrived from long range this season.

·         Bishop has made a 3-pointer in seven of 10 games this season and is shooting 40.9 percent (9-of-22) from three, ranking second on the team.

·         Against Lipscomb on Dec. 19, Bishop went 5-for-5 from the field, including a career-best 3-of-3 from 3-point range.



·         After providing UC with a key cog off the bench the first five games of the season, sophomore Dion Dixon earned his first start of the year and the sixth of his career vs. Texas Southern. It was his first start since Dec. 29, 2008 against Memphis. Dixon finished with a season-high 13 points.

·         As the Bearcats “sixth man,” Dixon averages 8.4 points, 3.2 rebounds and 1.2 assist per contest.

·         He posted his first double-double of the year coming off the bench vs. No. 24/24 Vanderbilt in the opening round of the Maui Invitational with 12 points, 10 rebounds, and an assist as Cincinnati knocked off the Commodores, 67-58.

·         Dixon notched his third double-figure scoring performance at UAB with 13 points. He was the only Bearcat in double-figures vs. the Blazers.

·         Dixon followed the UAB game with a 15-point scoring effort against Lipscomb and 13 of those points came in the first half.

·         Now in his fourth year, Coach Cronin has developed a bench that has nine players averaging 10 minutes or more a game.

·         UC is outscoring its opponents bench 29.2-12.8 per night (292-128).



·         After transferring to UC following the first quarter last year and sitting out the first seven games this season, junior forward Ibrahima (ib-bruh-HEE-muh) Thomas made his debut in a Bearcats uniform at Xavier in the Crosstown Shootout.

·         Thomas scored two points, grabbed two rebounds, and blocked a shot in seven minutes of action vs. the Musketeers.

·         Thomas made his first start as a Bearcat against Lipscomb on Dec. 19 and recorded his first double-digit scoring effort with 10 points and added six boards.

·         Thomas transferred to Cincinnati from Oklahoma State last season at the end of the fall quarter after starting seven games for the Cowboys and averaging 8.3 points and 3.9 rebounds. He also blocked eight shots.

·         Thomas is a native of Dakar, Senegal.



·         Senior guard Deonta Vaughn has started all four years at Cincinnati for head coach Mick Cronin where he has twice been named all-BIG EAST Conference (1st team in 2007-08; 3rd team in 2008-09) and led the team in points and assists all three years.

·         In UC’s game vs. Toledo he became the 12th player in school history to score 1,500 points in his career and the fifth to post 400 or more career assists. Only Oscar Robertson, Steve Logan, and now Deonta Vaughn have scored 1,500 points and dished out 400 assists in their career in Clifton.

·         Currently Vaughn is climbing several career lists at UC and needs:

                     One 3-pointer to tie Steve Logan (1998-02) for fourth on the career 3-point field goals made list.

                     11 points to tie Darnell Burton (1994-97) for 10th on the career scoring list with 1,584 points.

                     26 assists to tie Steve Logan (1998-02) for third on the career assists list with 430.

                     Five starts to tie Steve Collier for fourth all-time in career starts with 104.

                     Six steals to tie Tarrance Gibson (1989-93) for fifth on the career steals list.

                     67 minutes to tie Jason Maxiell (2001-05) for fifth in career minutes played with 3,563.



·         Cincinnati is 113-168 (.402) all-time vs. opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including a 22-20 (.524) record in Fifth Third Arena.

·         UC is 2-0 vs. teams ranked in both the AP and ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll this season after knocking off No. 24/24 Vanderbilt and No. 21/22 Maryland in the first and second rounds of the 2009 EA Sports Maui Invitational, respectively.

·         The wins vs. Vanderbilt and Maryland marked the first time since the 1999-00 season that Cincinnati defeated ranked opponents in consecutive games. That year, UC defeated No. 25 Gonzaga 75-68 on Dec. 4, 1999, before defeating No. 7 North Carolina 77-68 on Dec. 8, 1999.

·         UC is 5-16 vs. ranked opponents under Cronin.



·         After opening up with Prairie View A&M (Nov. 16) and Toledo (Nov. 18), the Bearcats made their first appearance in the EA Sports Maui Invitational hosted by Chaminade University on Nov. 23-25 at the Lahaina Civic Center.

·         In the first two rounds, the Bearcats knocked off nationally-ranked opponents No. 24/24 Vanderbilt, 67-58, and No. 21/22 Maryland, 69-57, marking the first time since the 1999-00 season UC has beaten ranked opponents in back-to-back games.

·         The wins propelled UC into the championship game of the Maui Invitational vs. Gonzaga. With UC leading by as many as 10 points midway through the second half, Gonzaga rallied and forced UC into overtime for the first time this season where the Bulldogs came away with a 61-59 victory.

·         Sophomore forward Yancy Gates and senior guard Deonta Vaughn were named to the all-tournament team. Gates was the Bearcats top scorer and rebounder in the tournament, averaging 14.7 points and 10 rebounds per game. Vaughn averaged 10.7 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.3 assists.

·         The Maui Invitational was Cincinnati’s fifth trip to the Hawaiian Islands for an early-season tournament. They played in the 1975-76, 1989-90 and 1994-95 Rainbow Classics hosted by the University of Hawaii and won the 1999-00 Big Island Invitational tournament.

·         UC now owns a record of 9-6 in the islands.



·         The maturation of junior forward Rashad Bishop and his move to the four spot on the floor has given Coach Cronin many options, offensively and defensively.

·         After averaging 5.4 points per game as both a freshman and sophomore, Bishop has become a solid scoring option for UC, posting 8.4 points per game.

·         He scored a career-high 20 points vs. Toledo on Nov. 18 and has a combined 39 points in UC’s last five games.

·         With 13 points on a perfect 5-of-5 shooting from the floor against Lipscomb on Dec. 19, Bishop picked up his third double-figure scoring effort of the season, matching his double-figure scoring performances from 2008-09.

·         Bishop has a keen sense for shot selection and is the Bearcats best shooter, converting 55.7 percent of his shots (34-of-61).

·         Bishop is also second on the team in rebounds (5.3) and is fourth in assists (1.9 apg).

·         On defense, Bishop is considered the Bearcats top defender and typically draws the opponent’s toughest assignment.



·         Freshman Lance Stephenson, a 6-foot-5, 210-pound guard who was named the 2009 BIG EAST Conference Preseason Rookie of the Year, committed to the Bearcats on June 30 after a highly-decorated prep career at Lincoln High School (Brooklyn, N.Y.), where he averaged 28.9 points, 10.2 rebounds, and 3.9 assists to earn Class AA New York State Sports Writers Association (NYSSWA) Player of the Year honors his senior year.

·         He graduated high school as the all-time leading scorer in the history of the state of New York with 2,946 points, passing fellow Lincoln High grad Sebastian Telfair, who was the 13th overall pick in the 2004 NBA Draft and now plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves.

·         Stephenson made his college debut starting the season opener vs. Prairie View A&M. He scored seven points, pulling down four rebounds and dishing out two assists vs. the Panthers.

·         Stephenson earned BIG EAST Rookie of the Week honors for the second time this season after leading the Bearcats in scoring against local foes Miami (OH) and Xavier. He scored 11 points in a 63-59 win over the RedHawks. In an 83-79 double-overtime loss at Xavier, Stephenson scored a collegiate-high 22 points and grabbed six boards.



·         The University of Cincinnati men’s basketball program has signed Justin Jackson (Jacksonville, Fla./Arlington Country Day) and Kelvin Gaines (Ocala, Fla. /Arlington Country Day) to a National Letters of intent for the 2010-2011 season during the early signing period.

·         Jackson is ranked No. 92 among the top ESPN 100 recruits and was the first player to sign during the early period with the Bearcats.

·         Jackson, a 6-foot-8, 210-pound power forward with strong defensive and rebounding skills, starred last season for Montverde Academy and head coach Kevin Sutton where he posted 15.0 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 3.1 blocked shots per game as a junior. He was named to the Florida Association of Basketball Coaches (FABC) and Florida Sports Writer’s Association (FSWA) State All-Independent team (for players not participating in district competition).

·         Gaines, a 6-foot-10, 225 pound center, averaged 10.1 points, 9.9 rebounds and 6.2 blocks in 2008-09 playing for Jason Niblett at Heat Academy in Martinsville, Va. The Heat finished the season with a record of 50-8 and was ranked as high as No. 12 in the national prep school polls.

·         This season, Gaines transferred to Arlington Country Day in Jacksonville, Fla., where he will team with fellow Bearcat signee Justin Jackson. The Indians were ranked No. 31 in country in ESPN’s Preseason poll.



·         In his pregame radio interview prior to the season opener vs. Prairie View A&M, head coach Mick Cronin announced that he is planning to redshirt 6-foot-4, 215 pound, freshman guard Sean Kilpatrick (White Plains, N.Y./Notre Dame Prep).

·         Kilpatrick averaged 28.4 points, 7.0 rebounds, and 6.0 assists over his four-year high school career at White Plains High School and finished as the school’s all-time leading scorer.

·         Three times he earned all-state, all-section, all-league and all-county honors.

·         He played one season of prep ball at Notre Dame Prep for Ryan Hurd.



Cincinnati will have an eight-day break before opening BIG EAST Conference play against No. 11/11 Connecticut (7-2, 0-0 BIG EAST) on Wednesday, Dec. 30 at 7 p.m, in Fifth Third Arena. The game will be televised nationally on ESPN2.