Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Dayton 81 Cincinnati 66

(Enquirer/Gary Landers)
This is a late recap of the final game of the Cincinnati Bearcats season. As so, I will spice up the action with personal stories of my experience at 5/3. It was the first game of the season that I had the pleasure of attending. The night got off to an ominous start. I met up with one of my friends and his parents at Mecklenberg Gardens only to find out that it was a UD alumni gathering. Sure, there was a UC side on the other half of the top level, but I was surrounded by Dayton fans. I did get a towel and basketball necklace, which was nice. Mecklenberg Gardens 2 meat dish should come with a paddles for the heart attack you are going to suffer later by the way. After the nice dinner, we took a bus over to the big fraction. I snapped this photo from section 209.
That was during warm ups obviously. Shout out to section 209. Not only was I there being handsome, but there were a couple of guys behind me who knew their shit, and there was a foxy lady sitting next to me that was also very knowledgeable. I bought a Deonta Vaughn jersey before the game. I think my not wearing it until about 3 minutes left was cause for the loss. Let's see how we got to the loss.

Yancy Gates scored the first basket of the game. It was the only thing Yancy would do positively all night. He got in foul trouble like 3 minutes in, and vanished the rest of the night. Kurt Huelsman, not liked by my friend Justin, but apparently loved by 2 kids wearing Huelsman jerseys, got a tip in for UD, before Chris Wright dunk made it 4-2. Jaquan Parker drilled a trey for UC's last lead. Rod Lowery connected for Dayton, starting an 11-2 run. Wright made a jumper, Stephenson a lay up for UC, and Paul Williams and Mickey Perry made 3 pointers. Deonta Vaughn added to his 3 pointers made number by netting one to make it 15-10 as we hit the under 12. The Flyers pushed the lead to 10 on a Williams jumper and a Luke Fabrizius 3 that brought out a Luuuuuuuuuke from the UD fans in attendance. The crowd was roughly a 1/4 UD fans. UC was putting up a ton of three point shots to no success, but Jaquan Parker connected on his second to bring the lead to 7. Huelsman scored inside, inciting a "That's his career high," from my UD friend Justin. Vaughn answered with free throws to make the score 22-15. That's when the Dayton 3 point party started. Lowery hit one, Stephenson drew a foul making both for the Cats, Perry made another, Lowery another, and Paul Williams another. From my recollection, they were all wide open. Dayton went up 34-17. The lead stayed at 15 to the under 3 timeout, with a Wilks jam, 2 Cashmere Wright free throws, a Marcus Johnson tip, a Thomas dunk, and a Wright jumper for UD. I should point out that Lance Stephenson got banged up and went down for a few minutes. Then, Jaquan Parker got hurt at the 7:30 mark or so, and didn't return. With the score 38-23, Cincinnati made a run. Larry Davis hit a pair of free throws after the break, and then Deonta Vaughn took over. Vaughn hit back to back 3s to cut the lead to 7, before Chris Johnson hit a 3 to push it back to 9. With 1 minute to go, Lance Stephenson was intentionally fouled by London Warren. Vaughn filled in, iced both foul shots, and on the subsequent UC possession, hit a jumper to make the score 41-36. That stayed the score though halftime.

The second half started with Stephenson getting to the basket, drawing a foul, making a free throw and cutting the lead to 2 a minute in. It was a very loud crowd for 6,300 or so. We can thank Dayton being our opponent, and their traveling fans for that. Anyway, UD got their first point on a Wright free throw, but UC cut the lead to 1 on a Thomas dunk from Stephenson. Chris Wright got it back for Dayton on a wide open dunk off an inbound play. The Bearcats cut the lead to 1 once again, when Cash got a steal, and passed to Stephenson for an emphatic dunk. Stephenson had a shot blocked by Wright for the lead, that turned into a Lowery lay up to push it back to 3, and started a 6-0 UD run. Matt Kavanaugh scored on a lay up, as did London Warren. All 3 lay ups were after UC missed 3 pointers. The Cats kept it close after a 3 minute draught with another Thomas dunk. Marcus Johnson answered that with a jumper, but UC got a 5 point spurt on a Cash lay up and a Vaughn 3 to make it 52-50. Paul Williams hit a 3 off an offensive rebound for the Flyers. Yancy Gates was stripped by Wright, which lead to a missed 3 by Marcus Johnson, but a rebound by Paul Williams, who found Devin Searcy, who in turn, dunked on Ibrahima Thomas' face. It was pretty impressive. Deonta drew a foul while shooting a triple, made all 3, cutting the lead back to 4. Cincinnati would go another 3 minutes without scoring, setting up a 6-0 UD run. Marcus Johnson hit a pair of 2 point jumpers, and Luuuuuuuuuuuke Fabrizius one for himself, causing a UC timeout with 6:24 left. There was no scoring until the 5 minute mark, when Stephenson scored a lay up. Off another UD offensive rebound, Chris Johnson scored a lay up. Ibby Thomas fought hard in the post, the only UC player who did, got 2 offensive boards and a bucket to cut the lead to single digits for the last time. Wright hit 2 free throws, got a steal, made another free throw to make it an 11 point game. After a Cash miss, Marcus Johnson made 1. Vaughn drew a foul and made both. London Warren made 1 of 2, Cash missed a lay up attempt, Warren ended up with the ball and made 1 of 2 again. It was all free throws late, Marcus Johnson 2, Wilks 1 for UC, Marcus 2 more, Vaughn 2, and Chris Johnson 1. The free throws stopped when Stephenson scored a lay up, Vaughn got a steal and a lay up, and UD a Marcus Johnson lay up, but continued when Marcus Johnson made 1, and Lowery 2. Before Lowery's second, Deonta Vaughn checked out of the game for the last time in his Cincinnati career to a standing ovation. It was not the way he, and all UC fans, wanted him to go out, but at least he got a big reception. The Lowery free throws were the last points, making it 81-66 Flyers for their biggest win over UC in 15 years.

Dayton was 28-58 48%, 10-29 from deep, 15-24 at the stripe with 39 rebounds, 11 offensive. Marcus Johnson had 16-7-4 assists, Lowery 13, Wright 11-5-3 steals, Williams 11, Chris Johnson 7-7, Perry 6, Luuuuuuke Fabrizius 5, Huelsman 4-5, Warren 4-8, Searcy 2, and Kavanaugh 2. Cincinnati shot 20-60 33%, 6-31 from 3, 20-23 at the stripe, with 31 boards, 9 offensive. Vaughn lead the way with 28 points, 4 assists, 4 steals. He got 12-13 at the stripe, while shooting 6-18, 4-15 deep. But, Deonta Vaughn moved into third place all time in points in Cincinnati history, passing Danny Fortson. Congratulations on your achievement 5, and thank you for the great career. Stephenson had 13-6-4 assists, Thomas 8-9, Parker 6, Cash 4, Wilks 3, Gates 2.

A couple of bullet point thoughts to close this out.

  • Thanks for nothing Yancy Gates. I know you were in foul trouble, but c'mon son. UC should have dominated inside, but got nothing from everyone not named Ibrahima Thomas. 
  • Hey Darnell Wilks, stop shooting the 3.
  • Hey Larry Davis, I like you a whole lot, more than section 209 did, but please work on that jump shot this summer. I don't think anyone, you included, had any faith in any of your shots falling. You d up hard, but you need to score.
  • Lance Stephenson said after the game that UC took Dayton lightly. I don't understand how this team, who was favored to lose on the projections I saw, could take anyone lightly. That's on the players, and on the coaching staff. This is a rival who had a better record. UC shouldn't take Arkansas Pine Bluff lightly, let alone a 21 win team. 
  • It's performances like that, that make it hard to be one of the people not disappointed that Mick Cronin isn't getting fired. 
  • I was kinda surprised how many Dayton fans were there. I know there are a lot of transplants in the area, but they represented very well. It was a nice atmosphere. 
  • This was one game where UC could have used Rashad Bishop. I was wrong on that one. 
  • The bus taking us back to Mecklenberg Gardens smelled like shit. Plus, it was crowded and I had to stand. There was one point where the bus driver seemed to just gun it, and I stared at a car coming directly at me. Luckily, it stopped short instead of ramming into us. I had visions of that State Farm or whatever commercial where the car does crash. 
  • Where do we go from here? Good question. I'm going to break down the season, the players, memorable games, and all that jazz starting in the next week. There will be an NCAA Sweet 16 breakdown tomorrow, and Friday, and Saturday and Sunday. There will be a Final 4 preview the following Friday, and a National title preview that Monday. 
  • Also, there will be spring football news as it comes.
Since this is the last recap of the season, I want to thank you for reading. This season wasn't the best, wasn't the worst. It was fun at times, nerf basketball wall throwing times as well. It had memorable games, all nearly memorable losses though. More importantly, it had me and you. I hope that you enjoyed the basketball coverage. I enjoyed writing it. Thank you.

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