Mick Cronin might have said it best when he said "Someone forgot to tell Prairie View A&M they weren't suppose to try to win.....We were overconfident without reason." Cincinnati did not show up in the first half on Monday Night and Prairie View took advantage of it taking a 15 point lead with 5:11 left in the first half.
The Bearcats were able to bounce back using a 25-9 second half run for the comeback win against the Panthers 69-62. The Bearcats held the Panthers without a field goal for 10 consecutive possessions during their second half, after trailing 46-36 before the run.
In the first half the Bearcats had problems containing the 3 point shooting (46.7%) of the Prairie View A&M Panthers and the Panthers top player Darnell Hugee. Hugee scored 13 points in the first half, but finished the game with only 16 points after fouling out for the eleventh time in the last two seasons.
Cincinnati shot the ball very poorly in the first half, settling for the jump shot too early in the possession against the Panthers 2-3 zone, going 3-18 from three point range in first half.
In the second half the Bearcats would hold the Panthers to just 32% from the field and out rebounded A&M 23-11.
Deonta Vaughn led all Bearcats with 15 points; he also added five rebounds and 3 assists. Vaughn scored all 15 of his points in the second half, responding after he did not start the second half. It was Mick Cronin sending a message to the All-Big East senior guard, who was 0-6 from the field and 0-4 from three point range in the first half. Vaughn said "It worked, I got more focused, early on I was just nonchalant about it, in the first half I wasn't really focused."
Larry Davis also stepped up scoring 13 points in 20 minutes off the bench, going 5-8 (2-5 3pt). Davis who started the second half in place of Vaughn, "I went with the guys who played the best.... Larry Davis in the first half played better." Rashad Bishop also had a really solid night, not doing anything special but played great defense in key minutes in the second half and finished with 8 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, and 0 turnovers. "Rashad Bishop is so important to our team because he knows how to be solid, said Cronin about his junior forward"
The freshmen however, were hit or miss in there first night as Bearcats, in regular season action. Cashmere Wright had a nice night, scoring 12 points and grabbing five rebounds. He also did a nice job running the show and added two steals.
Lance Stephenson however had a much rougher night in his first game as a Bearcat going 2-10 from the field, scoring 7 points and grabbing four rebounds, he also left the game for about five minutes in the first half after tweaking his left ankle but later returned. "He was a nervous wreck" said Cronin about his highly touted freshman.
Wednesday Night the Bearcats (1-0) will take on the Toledo Rockets at Fifth Third Arena. Toledo is coming off a 7-25 season in 2008-2009 and lost their opener against Eastern Illinois 72-62 on Saturday Night. The Rockets lead the all-time series against UC 14-8, but UC won the last match up back in 2001 68-55.