The Bearcats defense and rebounding were the key to the win as Cincinnati dominated the boards outrebounded Vanderbilt 53-32, this is the third consecutive game Cincinnati has out rebounded there opponent, all three wins. Defensively Cincinnati really stepped up holding the Vanderbilt offense, which is averaging over 80 ppg and shooting over fifty percent for the season to just 58 points, caused 16 turnovers and held the Commodores to 27.5 percent from the field. Cincinnati's length and athleticism was a big problem for Kevin Stalling’s offense, as they never truly could get comfortable on the offensive end of the floor.
It was a quality win for the Bearcats but there were also some negatives that popped up and must be improved for the Bearcats to achieve there massive goals. Cincinnati had 18 turnovers and just eleven assists, a ratio which much improve. The Bearcats showed great signs of attacking on the offensive end, but also showed some of there inexperience by settling for poor shots against the zone defense that Vanderbilt started to show late in the first half.
The Bearcats also forced the issue a little to much which led to the high number of turnovers. Yancy Gates and Deonta Vaughn were both also limited to just 40 combined minutes due to foul trouble, two guys who the Bearcats will need to make a run in the Big East and against the winner of Chaminade and Maryland on Tuesday.
Leading Cincinnati was sophomore forward Yancy Gates who won his match up against All-SEC player A.J. Ogilvy. Gates scored 16 points and had 10 rebounds, including an impressive five offensive rebounds and held Ogilvy to just 13 points on three of eight shooting and grabbing just six rebounds.
Also stepping up were Rashad Bishop and Dion Dixon, who had real nice nights. Bishop who received his first start of the season after being productive in the previous two games scored 9 points, grabbed 6 rebounds, and also was tied for the team lead in assists with three. Dixon who came off the bench to play 30 minutes, scored 12 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.
As for the freshman, it was another hit or miss night. Jaquon Parker had four points, one rebound and one assist in just eight minutes of action on 2-2 shooting. Lance Stephenson showed his explosiveness which made him one of the most highly recruited players in the country, but also made some freshman mistakes. Stephenson had eight points, 5 rebounds, and added three steals on just 4-10 shooting including 0-4 from three point range. Starting point guard Cashmere Wright had a rough night in the Maui quarterfinal, going just 2-13 from the field and finished with four points and three assists. Wright did however show the explosiveness which makes him one of the quickest point guards in the Big East, and continued to play great on ball defense.
Tuesday the Bearcats (3-0) will take on number 21 ranked Maryland (4-0) who defeated host Chaminade 79-51 in second round play. This will be a huge test for the Bearcats and a chance for Mick Cronin and his staff to post another victory over a ranked opponent in the Maui Invitational.