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December 29, 2008The Cincinnati Bearcats (10-3, 0-0 Big East) fell to the Memphis Tigers (8-3, 0-0 C-USA) on Monday night by a final score of 60-45.
The Bearcats struggled from the get go, especially on the offensive end. Despite halftime adjustments by Head Coach Mick Cronin, the Bearcats were unable to improve on anything in the second half, finishing nearly 30 points below their season average.
The Bearcats shot just 26 percent from the field, including an abysmal 18 percent from behind the arc, but the stat of the game was without a doubt the awful turnover to assist ratio the Bearcats finished with - - 20 turnovers, 5 assists.
Coach Cronin said after the game that it has become very clear this team has a long way to go before they can compete at a high level.
"We are just not a good enough team," said Cronin. "It's very evident. You hold a team like Memphis to 60 points you should have a chance to win the game. Right now we are asking Deonta Vaughn to be superman and you can't do that."
Throughout the game, the Bearcats consistently played right into the hands of Memphis, allowing the game to become the fast paced game the Tigers wanted to from the start. While the scoreboard may not show it, the Tigers were able to do what they do best and that is force turnovers and put games away with flurries of scoring.
The Bearcats played stout defense early on, but as Coach Cronin will tell you, they did not capitalize on any opportunities.
"We should have has a 6-8 point lead early in this game," said Cronin. "Memphis has 3 points 8 minutes into the game. We had some good shots and we didn't handle it well."
The Bearcats were lead in scoring by Deonta Vaughn, who finished with 17 points in 38 minutes of action, and no other Bearcats reached double figures. Alvin Mitchell finished second in scoring for UC with just 7 points in 26 minutes.
Yancy Gates crashed the boards early on in the game, but he was unable to score consistently and led the team in turnovers with 7 turnovers on his own.
Mick Cronin expressed his displeasure with his big men after the game.
"Between Yancy Gates, Darnell Wilks, Steve Toyloy, and Mike Williams we got three field goals and five defensive rebounds in 80 minutes of play," said Cronin. "You just aren't going to win when that happens."
He continued on about the effort on the glass, "We aren't going to get the ball with any intensity and any ferocity at all, and you pay the price."
He continued, "There were times when Memphis has 3 trips," said Cronin. "My assistants say we just need to get a stop, and I say we just got 4 stops but we can't get the rebound. That kind of stuff wears you down."
Tyreke Evans continued the Memphis tradition of freshman putting up big numbers against the Bearcats. While he struggled at times, Evans finished with a very well distributed stat line of 14 points, 10 rebounds, 8 assists, 3 steals, and 2 blocks.