UC Hoops Tangles with Nationally-Ranked Tigers in Memphis

Dec. 27, 2008

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GAME 13: CINCINNATI at No. RV/24 Memphis

Monday, Dec. 29 u 9 p.m. EST u FedExForum (18,165) u Memphis, Tenn. u ESPN2



With a six-game homestand that included a stretch of five games in 10 days before  Christmas behind them, the Cincinnati Bearcats (10-2, 0-0 BIG EAST) head out on the road for the first time in a month to take on No. rv/24 Memphis (7-3, 0-0 C-USA) at the FedExForum on Monday, Dec. 29 at 9 p.m. The game will be broadcast on ESPN2 with Terry Gannon handling play-by-play and Bill Raftery providing analysis. UC comes into the match-up of former Conference USA rivals winning six of its last seven and four in a row, while Memphis is 3-2 in its last five with losses to nationally-ranked Georgetown and Syracuse.



Cincinnati has won seven of the last 11 meetings vs. Memphis and holds a 36-30 advantage in the all-time series, but trails 18-12 in the Bluff City. The Tigers have won the last three contests in the series, including last year's last trip to UC, 79-69. UC head coach Mick Cronin is 0-2 vs. the Tigers.



The Cincinnati Bearcats are sixth in the nation in offensive rebounds and second among BCS conference schools, averaging 16.7 per game. Since 1996, it is the highest average by a Bearcats' squad, eclipsing the team's average of 15.8 in 1997-98.



·         Memphis is 7-3 this season and is 3-2 in its last five games heading into Monday's nationally televised game vs. Cincinnati.

·         The Tigers host the Bearcats at the FedExForum where they are 5-1 with the only loss coming to Syracuse, 75-65, on Dec. 20.

·         The Tigers won their last outing on Dec. 22, knocking on Drexel, 87-49. Freshman guard Tyree Evans, the team's top scorer (15.4 ppg), tallied a game-high 20 points vs. the Dragons and was one of five Memphis players in double figures.

·         Junior forward Shawn Taggart, senior forward Robert Dozier, and junior guard Doneal Mack all average in double digits in points for Memphis.

·         Taggert leads the team in rebounds, posting just under 10 boards a night (9.6 rpg).

·         Senior guard Antonio Anderson (4.0 apg) and Evans (3.6 apg) are No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, in assists.

·         Memphis is shooting 41.8 percent from the field, .282 from the 3-point line and .663 from the charity stripe.

·         The Tigers are outrebounding their opponents by 5.3 boards a game (42.8-37.5)

·         UM is forcing 9.9 steals a night, leading its opponents to 18.2  turnovers a game.



·         For the second time this year, the Bearcats will take on a former Conference USA opponent, Memphis.

·         On Dec. 6, UC knocked off UAB, 87-80, in Cincinnati, behind senior forward Mike Williams'  season-high 17 points.

·         The Bearcats won eight regular-season or tournament championships as a member of C-USA from 1995-2005.

·         In its 10 years in the conference, Cincinnati made the NCAA Tournament each year and owned an overall record of 260-70 (.788), led by C-USA Players of the Year Danny Fortson (1996, 1997), Kenyon Martin (2000), and Steve Logan (2001, 2002).

·         As a member of C-USA, Cincinnati owned a record of 9-2 (.818) vs. Memphis.



·         Cincinnati is 112-162 all-time vs. opponents ranked in the Associated Press Top 25, including a 56-120 record on the road or on neutral courts.

·         The Bearcats are 22-13 vs. teams ranked between No. 20 and No. 25 in the AP Poll, including 2-2 vs. Memphis.

·         UC is 3-12 vs. the Tigers when one of the two teams are ranked, including a 0-6 record in Memphis.



·         Cincinnati averaged 5.9 steals per game coming into the game and finished the first half with seven steals. UC finished with a season-high 15 steals, the most steals by a UC team since the Bearcats have 17 thefts against Coppin State on Nov. 29, 2003.

·         Cincinnati scored 29 points off Golden Lion turnovers, its most points off turnovers this season. UC also outscored UAPB, 38-6, in points in the paint and, 38-23, in bench points.

·         UC forced 24 Golden Lion turnovers. That is the most turnovers forced by the Bearcats since UC forced N.C. State into 32 turnovers on Dec. 23, 2006.

·         The Bearcats outrebounded the Arkansas-Pine Bluff 41-36, improving to 10-0 when outrebounding its opponents.

·         Cincinnati closed the game on a 15-4 run to defeat Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 79-49. It is the Bearcats' third 30-plus point win of the season.

·         The Bearcats closed out the first half on a 14-3 run over the final 3:43 to take a 43-16 lead into the half. Nine UC players scored in the first half, led by junior Deonta Vaughn's nine points.

·         The 16 first-half points are the fewest points scored by an opponent since West Virginia scored 16 points in the second half on Jan. 30, 2008.

·         Leading 8-7 with 12:06 on the clock in the first half, UC went on a 19-2 run over the next 7:05 to take a 27-9 lead with 5:01 to play in the opening stanza.

·         Junior guard Deonta Vaughn finished with a team-high tying 14 points and a season-high tying three steals.

·         Freshman Yancy Gates finished with 14 points and eight rebounds. It was Gates' fourth consecutive double-figure scoring game and his sixth in the last seven contests.

·         After scoring 10 points in his previous three games, junior Steve Toyloy scored a career-high 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff. It was Toyloy's third double-figure scoring game of the season.

·         After shooting 5-of-25 from the field in his past three games, freshman Dion Dixon went 4-of-8 from the field and scored 11 points vs. the Golden Lions. It is Dixon's fourth double-figure scoring game of the season.

·         Sophomore Darnell Wilks set a career-high with three steals and added three points, two rebounds and a block.



·         Last year, the Cincinnati Bearcats played their 12th game of the season on Dec. 29 vs. Miami University (OH) and knocked off the RedHawks, 56-50, to snap a five-game losing streak and improve their record to 5-7.

·         Through 12 games this season, UC has improved its win total by five and has 10 wins before the start of conference play for the first time since going 11-2 in 2005-06.

·         Defensive play has been the biggest area of improvement for UC as it has limited opponents to 60.2 points per game, down 7.5 points from last year. From the field, opponents are hitting on just 36.7 percent of their shots this year.

·         After defense, the boards have also keyed UC's five-win jump as they are getting 7.4 more rebounds per game this season



·         The Bearcats opened 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 are 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 262-51 (.837) in games at Fifth Third Arena since the building opened in 1989-90.

·         Under Mick Cronin, UC is 28-16 at home (.636).



·         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. 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. Vaughn scored all eight of his first-half points during that stretch.

·         The Bearcats jumped out to an 11-7 lead against Arkansas-Pine Bluff thanks to three 3-pointers from Vaughn.



·         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.



·         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 60.2 points per game and 36.7 percent shooting, while averaging 43.4 rebounds per game and a +11.4 rebounding margin. Last year, UC allowed opponents 67.8 points per contest on .430 shooting.

·         UC's +11.4 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 (+11.4/4th), and field goal percentage defense (.367/22nd).

·         Four 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 second this season (16.7).

·         The 16.7 offensive rebounds per game also ranks sixth nationally and is the second highest by a BCS program.



·         In its last four games, Cincinnati has averaged 18.3 assists per game, posting 19 vs. Charleston Southern (Dec. 15), 20 vs. Mississippi State (Dec. 18), a season-best 21 vs. Eastern Kentucky (Dec. 20) and 13 vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff (Dec. 22).

·         UC is posting 16.0 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 21 assists in the last four games (5.3 apg).

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



·         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.



·         With Cincinnati's 79-49 win over Arkansas-Pine Bluff on Dec. 22, Cincinnati has surpassed the 70-point plateau in four straight games and for the ninth time this season. UC is 9-0 in those contests.

·         UC is 17-8 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.



·         After scoring just two points against Xavier on Dec. 13, freshman Yancy Gates has turned in four straight double-digit scoring nights vs. Charleston Southern (18), Mississippi State (12), Eastern Kentucky (17), and Arkansas-Pine Bluff (14) and has gone for 10 or more points in  six of his last seven outings. His 15.3 points per game during the stretch is tops on the squad.

·         For the season, Gates is the team's second-leading scorer, averaging 10.8 points per game.

·         Gates is also averaging 8.0 rebounds per contest in his last four games.

·         Gates scored six of UC's first seven points and grabbed three early rebounds to take control of the game vs. Mississippi State (Dec. 18.

·         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 eight double-figure scoring games this season and Cincinnati is 8-0 when he scores in double-figures.



·         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 32.4 points per game or 43.4 percent of the points. The bench has been outscored twice this season and the Bearcats are 1-1 in those games.

·         UC's bench scoring average of 32.4 ppg is 14.6 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 11 of 12 games this season.

·         The Bearcats have four players averaging four points or more off the bench, led by the team's fourth-leading scorer Alvin Mitchell (8.1 ppg).

·         Steve Toyloy, the team's third-leading rebounder is averaging 5.2 points and 4.7 rebounds in 15.5 minutes a game. He posted season-highs for points (14) and  rebounds (9) vs. Arkansas-Pine Bluff off the bench.

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



·         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 averaging 7.0 points and 4.4 rebounds in the five games since Xavier.

·         Toyloy is one of the Bearcats top guys off the bench, posting 5.2 points and 4.7 rebounds a game.

·         His .641 shooting percentage (25-of-39) is second on the team.

·         Toyloy posted five or more rebounds in six of UC's 12 games.