Bearcats Travel to ACC's North Carolina State

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Men's Basketball |

Dec. 23, 2007

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After a pair of games vs. two Top 25 teams, the Cincinnati Bearcats (4-6, 0-0 BIG EAST) head into the heart of Atlantic Coast Conference country for a nationally-televised Fox Sports Net ACC Sunday Night Hoops Game of the Week at North Carolina State (6-3, 0-0 ACC) on Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m. from the RBC Center in Raleigh, N.C. The Bearcats are looking to stop a four-game losing skid, while the Wolfpack has won its last two games at home, knocking off South Carolina State and Davidson. UC's 80-71 win last year in Cincinnati was the Bearcats' first win in six tries vs. NCSU in a series that dates back to 1948. This is Cincinnati's first trip to Raleigh since 1953.

 

VERSUS THE ACC: The Bearcats own a record of 52-64 (.448) versus teams currently in the ACC. The Bearcats have won seven of their last 10 clashes with ACC teams, dating back to the 1998-99 season.

 

Cincinnati at North Carolina State

 

SCOUTING THE WOLFPACK: North Carolina State has won its last two games heading into Sunday's match-up with Cincinnati and is 2-2 in its last four contests. The Wolfpack escaped its game Friday night vs. Davidson with a 66-65 win as senior Gavin Grant hit game-winning free throws with 3.9 seconds remaining to give the Wolfpack a non-conference victory. North Carolina State is led by a trio of double-digit scorers that includes freshman standout J.J. Hickson (17.1 ppg), Grant (13.8), and sophomore Brandon Costner (10.1). Hickson, a 6-9 forward/center leads the Pack on the glass with an 8.1 rebounding average followed by Costner at 6.3 rpg. Hickson also is ranked fifth in the nation in shooting percentage (.708) and is averaging 2.3 blocks per game. Sophomore Farnold Degand is North Carolina State's top 3-point threat, shooting .467 (7-of-15) from behind the arc. The Wolfpack is shooting .454 from the field but .294 from 3-point range.

 

VERSUS THE ACC: The Bearcats own a record of 52-64 (.448) versus teams currently in the ACC. The Bearcats have won seven of their last 10 clashes with ACC teams, dating back to the 1998-99 season. Head coach Mick Cronin is 1-1 vs. the ACC in his coaching tenure, including last year's 80-71 win over NC State. The loss was to the University of North Carolina, 69-65, in the opening round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament, a game that was decided late by two UNC free throws with 16.5 seconds left.

 

THE WAYBACK MACHINE: It has been since 1953 since the University of Cincinnati has made a trip to Raleigh, predating Mr. Peabody and Sherman's first trip in the "Wayback Machine" on the Rocky and Bullwinkle Show.

 

That year ...

                President Dwight D. Eisenhower inaugurated as the 34th President of the United States in January and by the end of July, the Korean War ended with an armistice;

    The then-Minneapolis Lakers won the NBA title, 4-1 over the New York Knicks;

    Indiana beat Kansas, 69-68, for the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship; and

    The first successful open-heart surgery was performed in Philadelphia.

    Maryland won the NCAA title in football with a 10-1 record.

 

GETTING SOME HELP: After missing Cincinnati's first six games with a hand injury, senior guard Jamual Warren returned to the court at UAB and has provided immediate help since. After playing just 16 minutes at UAB, Warren has averaged 35 minutes in his last three starts, giving sophomore Deonta Vaughn, who was averaging 36.5 minutes per game before Warren's return, a chance to rest. Possibly more important was Warren's presence on defense, where in just four games, he has taken over the team lead with 10 steals. Offensively, Warren was held to six points vs. Memphis after back-to-back double-digit games, dropping his season average to 6.8 points per game. Warren is also tied for third on the team with 14 assists. His seven assists against Xavier equaled his career single-game high set last season at West Virginia.

 

DEFENSIVE HELP: The return of Jamual Warren to the line up at UAB has paid immediate dividends for UC defensively as he has already tallied 10 steals in four games. Last season, Cincinnati ranked eighth in the BIG EAST in steals per game (7.67) and Warren averaged 1.83 of the total. Before Warren's return, the Bearcats were only making 4.85 steals per game -- last in the BIG EAST -- but the Bearcats have made 28 steals (7.0 per game) since his return - more than half of the team's total for the year (55).

 

HARD TIMES FROM THE FLOOR: Even though Cincinnati is playing solid defense and giving up 66.5 points per game, it is the offense that has been the Bearcats' Achilles heel ... more specifically, their inability to shoot the ball. After opening with a 4-2 record and a .433 shooting percentage through its first six games, the Bearcats have shot just .377 (86-of-228) during its current three-game losing streak. One of the hardest hit during the slump has been the team's leading scorer Deonta Vaughn (15.0 ppg) who had connected on .308 percent of his shots before knocking down 8-of-13 vs. Memphis for 20 points and bringing his shooting percentage up to .410 in the last four games.

 

HARD TIMES FROM THE FLOOR - PART II: The Bearcats are shooting .322 from behind the 3-point line this season, ranking them 13th in the BIG EAST. Sophomore Deonta Vaughn and senior Marvin Gentry are carrying the load for Cincinnati, accounting for 62 percent of UC's 3-pointers (41-of-66) on .440 shooting. The rest of the team is 25-of-112 (.223).

 

BACK TO WORK: Senior guard Marvin Gentry, who was taken off the floor at the Xavier game on Dec. 12 after colliding with teammate Deonta Vaughn and suffering a head injury, rejoined the team for practice over the weekend but has been held out of any drills involving contact. The team's fourth-leading scorer, averaging 7.8 points per game, Gentry took a knee to the head from Vaughn midway through the second half and was taken to University Hospital as a precaution and was released later that evening. Gentry was cleared to just prior to the Memphis game.

 

WILL-I-AM-SON: Senior forward John Williamson, who averaged 13.5 points and 7.3 rebounds per game last season, has broken out of a four-game slump in his last three games vs. Illinois State, Xavier, and Memphis, scoring 33 points and pulling down 20 rebounds. In the four games prior to Illinois State, Williamson recorded 6.0 points per game on 10-of-32 shooting (.313). Williamson was "Mr. Consistent" for UC last season, scoring in double digits in 23 of the team's 30 games. He is currently third on the team scoring with 9.2 points per game.

 

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 11.1 points per game and joining sophomore Deonta Vaughn as the only other player averaging double-digit points on the team. The 6-foot-10 post player is also Cincinnati's second-leading rebounder with 6.0 rebounds per game.

 

BISHOP TAKES QUEEN (CITY): Freshman forward/guard Rashad Bishop has quickly become one of the Bearcats' top all-around newcomers. Starting five games for UC this season, Bishop has scored in double digits three times, including two games with a season-high 12 points (Bowling Green and Fairfield). After breaking out of a slump vs. Memphis with nine points, seven rebounds, three assists and two steals, Bishop is averaging 6.1 points per game, tops among UC freshmen. Not only has he provided offensive punch, he has also added 3.9 rebounds and is second on the team with 19 assists. Recently, ESPN.com named Bishop one of the BIG EAST's top impact freshmen.

 

30-MINUTE MAN ...: Through Cincinnati's first six games, senior point guard Deonta Vaughn was the iron-man of UC basketball, logging an average of 36.5 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. With the return of UC's other veteran point guard, Jamual Warren to the line-up at UAB, Vaughn was able to play a season-low 28 minutes vs. the Blazers and 32 minutes at Illinois State. After Vaughn's 34.0 minutes per game, the next closest player on the team is Warren, who is averaging 30.3 minutes per game in four games.

 

30-POINT MAN: Sophomore point guard Deonta Vaughn, the team's leading scorer last year and this 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, one short of the school record. His 36 points were the most by a Bearcat since Steve Logan posted 41 vs. Southern Mississippi on Feb. 15, 2002. Vaughn leads Cincinnati in scoring this season with 15.0 points per game.

 

LENDING A HELPING HAND: Sophomore point guard Deonta Vaughn is averaging a team-high 4.9 assists per game, ranking him sixth in the BIG EAST. Vaughn could be the first player to dish out 5.0 or more assists per game since Taron Barker (5.0) in 2002-03.

 

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 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.

 

STRONG ON THE GLASS: After being out rebounded three straight games vs. Fairfield (-12 rebounding margin), UAB (-7), and Illinois State (-2), the Bearcats have been strong to the glass vs. Xavier and Memphis, beating the Musketeers in rebounding margin, 43-38, and the Tigers, 33-32. The 43 rebounds at Xavier are second-most this season for UC since pulling down 44 against USC Upstate. Seniors John Williamson and Adam Hrycaniuk lead Cincinnati in rebounding with 7.1 and 6.0 rebounds per game, respectively.

 

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.

 

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 attest to that. Larry Davis and Rashad Bishop have combined for five double-digit scoring nights and center Anthony McClain has scored 26 points, pulled down 27 rebounds (15 offensive) and blocked 11 shots in just 70 minutes of action. Bishop and Davis have had the best offensive seasons to date, averaging 6.1 and 5.7 ppg, respectively.

 

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 broadcast 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:  UC returns home for a neutral site contest at U.S. Bank Arena in Cincinnati on Saturday, Dec. 29 vs. local foe Miami University. The Bearcats knocked off the RedHawks, 60-52, last year with the help of 15 points each from John Williamson and Jamual Warren, and have won the last nine match-ups in the series. UC owns the all-time lead in the series 90-53.

 

 


 

 

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