(Cincinnati Enquirer/Joseph Fuqua III)
Edited to change UC’s record to their actual record in the Big East. Big time slip up. Apologizes
The Cincinnati Bearcats (12-6, 3-3) knocked off the Notre Dame Fighting Irish (14-4, 3-2) Saturday afternoon by the score in the title. The picture is of Yancy Gates putting back his miss of an alley oop from Deonta Vaughn with 2.4 seconds remaining to win. It was an important win for Cincinnati, and Gates really played well 11 points, 13 rebounds. He also helped do a good job on the Big East’s leading scorer Luke Harangody. Harangody was 5-20 for 14 points. Instead, it was Tim Abromaitis leading ND in scoring with 16. The play the Bearcats ran to win was quite simple, a high screen and roll. Harangody was guarding Gates, and when Gates screened for Vaughn, ND switched. Gates was then guarded by Tory Jackson and was able to get an easy look and the rebound. It’s the second game winning shot attempt for Gates, and this one turned out better than the one against Gonzaga where he couldn’t get the shot to foul, probably because he was fouled then. But that’s neither here nor there. Let’s look back at how UC was able to get the job done.
Due to some lower conference game, everyone on ESPNU joined the game with ND up 7-3. The starters must have been awful because the lineup for UC was Darnell Wilks, Jaquan Parker, My best friend Dion Dixon, Yancy Gates and Rashad Bishop. Wilks ended up playing most of the first half and being quite effective with 8 rebounds. The lead would switch numerous times early. UC would get 5 points from Parker, who got the nod over Cashmere Wright who played 0 minutes. Notre Dame would get scoring Abromaitis and Tory Jackson and have a 22-16 lead with 6 minutes left. The teams missed lots of shots, and UC was able to keep ND off the glass, free throw line and overall inefficient. UC had a 5 point spurt of a Vaughn 3 and a guess what, Wilks dunk to cut it to 3. I swear all Wilks does is dunk. It was his only 2. Lance Stephenson was quiet in this one, but scored 4 points in a row on lay ups, including a lay up off a steal in the backcourt right over Harangody who was called for a block. That made the score 28-25 Irish. Notre Dame would get the lead up after a technical foul on a UC assistant coach. Harangody and Wilks got tied up fighting for a rebound and Gody clearly pulled Wilks down with a handful of jersey. The foul was called on Wilks before that, and when Wilks got heated Gody backed away right into the UC bench. He must have said something because coach on UC said something that got a T called. Abromaitis hit both free throws, and Gody a runner. The score at the half was 32-25. UC held Notre Dame to 2-10 from 3, and ND was 6-9 at the stripe. UC was 3-13 from deep and 3-5 at the line. Tim Abromaitis poured in 10 with 4 rebounds to lead ND, with Gody having 9-7. UC was lead by Vaughn’s 6, and Gates’ 5-7. The Bearcats got 7 offensive rebounds, and that helped their pitiful offense.
Half 2 started off with a Rashad Bishop 3, a Tim Abromaitis 3, and a Deonta Vaughn 3. Bishop would score on and up and under fake, and Vaughn would hit a pull up jumper off the break and just like that, UC tied the score at 35. The Bearcats would take the lead, capping off a 9-0 run with a Bishop lay up off a long pass he was able to corral. Jackson would make a jumper and have a breakaway lay up his own to give the Irish a 39-37 lead with 15 minutes to go. The teams would trade the lead. My best friend Dion Dixon had a traditional 3 point play as part of his 7 points, but Harangody would make a 3 pointer to put ND back on top. Jackson would make another shot to give ND a 46-42 advantage, but 3 Stephenson free throws and a tough lefty hook by Gates gave UC a 47-46 lead with 9:30 on the clock. Ben Hansbrough, 8-5 assists, and Stephenson traded baskets. Born Ready had 5 boards in the game, right on his average for the year. A big play would occur at 6:38 when Vaughn would drive the lane and pick up a block on Gody, his 4th. UC wouldn’t be able to take advantage though. Jonathan Peoples hit a 3 to tie us at 51. Gates and Abromaitis traded jumpers. Abromaitis made 1 of 2 free throws to give ND the lead, but Vaughn would score to put UC back in the lead with 3:30 left. Tim Abromaitis was a 90% free throw shooter. He would miss 2 big ones and only shoot 5-8 at the stripe, with all the misses coming late. Ben Hansbrough scored seemingly all his points late, and made 2 free throws to give ND a 56-55 lead with 2:30 left. But after Jackson stripped Vaughn and Dixon fouled Hansbrough, he would miss 2 free throws, and he is a historically 78% foul shooter. Tyrone Nash was invisible due to foul trouble in this game, and fouled out at the 1:46 mark. The man he fouled was Rashad Bishop, who made both to give UC a 57-56 advantage. Harangody would take the shot on ND’s next trip, but it was a 3 pointer that couldn’t have been the shot Mike Brey wanted. Bishop would once again be fouled, but he only made 1 of 2. With 22.3 seconds left, Ben Hansbrough hit a jumper off the left elbow to tie the score. That would lead to the screen and roll mentioned earlier and the UC win.
This was a big win for UC in a number of ways. It keeps them in the middle of the Big East race. It had a nice, nice crowd fully behind their team. The Bearcats put the clamps on a really good offensive team. Notre Dame was 22-54 40%, 5-17 29% from 3, and a surprising 9-19 at the charity stripe. UC shot poorly as well 21-65 32%, 5-21! 23.8% and 13-18 72%. The Bearcats cleaned the glass, outrebounding the Irish 48-28 and holding the Irish to 2 offensive rebounds while gathering 16 of their own. Getting nearly half of their misses won the game for Cincinnati. That and good Notre Dame foul shooters going ice cold late. The Bearcats only turned the ball over 8 times, but had just 7 assists. The offense really needs to be fixed. It’s crucial.com. The Bearcats have a couple days off before they get back in the grove Wednesday against South Florida and a chance at over .500 in the Big East.