Cincinnati vs. Holy CrossDate: Friday, Nov. 25, 2005
Time: 8:00 p.m. EST
Site: Fifth Third Arena (13,176)
Cincinnati ................................. 2-0
Holy Cross:................................ 2-1
Radio: WLW-AM 700 (Dan Hoard, Chuck Machock).
Tickets: Available, $22, $15, youth 12-and-under $15, 513-556-CATS or www.UCBearcats.com.
Series: Holy Cross leads, 3-0.
Last Meeting: Dec. 20, 1980 in Cincinnati; Holy Cross 69, UC 58
ANDY KENNEDY (UAB '91)
At Cincinnati: 2-0, 1st year
Overall: 2-0, 1st year
RALPH WILLARD (Holy Cross '67)
At HC: 116-69 (7 years)
Overall: 260-193 (16 years)
CINCINNATI PROBABLE STARTERS 2005-06 Statistics
F 30 Cedric McGowan, 6-6 Jr., Miami, Fla............ 6.5 pts, 6.5 reb, 1.0 ast
F 14 Eric Hicks, 6-6 Sr., Greensboro, N.C.......... 13.0 pts, 10.5 reb, 1.5 blk
F-G 33 Armein Kirkland, 6-8 Sr., Tyler, Texas.......... 7.5 pts, 3.0 reb, 1.0 ast
G 21 James White, 6-7 Sr., Washington, D.C...... 19.5 pts, 5.5 reb, 2.5 ast
G 13 Jihad Muhammad, 5-11 Sr., Plainfield, N.J... 4.0 pts, 1.5 reb, 3.0 ast
HOLY CROSS PROBABLE STARTERS 2005-06 Statistics
F 10 Keith Simmons, 6-4 Jr., Kingston, N.Y....... 17.3 pts, 5.7 reb, 2.0 stl
F 21 Alex Vander Baan, 6-8 Fr., Uxbridge, Mass.. 6.0 pts, 5.0 reb, 1.3 ast
C 41 Kevin Hyland, 6-7 Sr., White Plains, N.Y...... 3.7 pts, 3.7 reb, 1.7 stl
G 14 Kevin Hamilton, 6-4 Sr., Queens, N.Y......... 16.7 pts, 6.7 reb, 3.3 stl
G 1 Torey Thomas, 5-11 Jr., White Plains, N.Y. 15.3 pts, 5.3 reb, 6.3 ast
SETTING THE SCENE: The University of Cincinnati will seek its third win in six days when the Bearcats host Holy Cross on Friday, Nov. 25 at Fifth Third Arena. After opening the season with a 79-75 overtime victory over Murray State last Saturday, UC coasted to a 76-59 win over Illinois State on Tuesday. Holy Cross brings a 2-1 record into Friday's 8 p.m. contest. The Crusaders suffered their first loss of the season, 70-55, to Harvard on Tuesday. They had opened with wins over High Point (85-73) and William and Mary (67-55) last weekend.
STORY LINES: The Bearcats will be seeking their first-ever win over Holy Cross. The Crusaders have won all three previous meetings, the most recent a 69-58 decision in Cincinnati on Dec. 20, 1980.Holy Cross is the first of 18 opponents on Cincinnati's schedule that appeared in postseason play last season. The Crusaders, who compiled a 25-7 record, participated in the NIT, and beat Notre Dame in the first round. Cincinnati will try for its 45th 3-0 start in its 105-season basketball history, and its fifth in the last eight years. Armein Kirkland will try to top the 600-point mark in career scoring. The 6-8 senior enters Friday's game with 595 points. Friday's game is the third of four games that Cincinnati will play in a 10-day period.
NOTES FROM THE ILLINOIS STATE GAME: After not recording a blocked shot in their season opener, ending a streak of 86 games with at least one rejection, the Bearcats responded by blocking seven Illinois State shots in Tuesday's victory. Devan Downey came off the bench to score 21 points. The freshman guard also recorded three assists and four steals in his second college game. Downey's production contributed to 36 points scored by UC's bench. The Bearcats have averaged 27.0 points from their subs this season. Eric Hicks, with 11 rebounds, turned in his second straight double digit rebounding performance.
OTHER NOTES ON THE SEASON: The Bearcats extended their streak of consecutive home season-opening victories to 40 when they defeated Murray State in the Nov. 19 opener. Cincinnati is 85-19 in home openers. Cincinnati has had a 20-point scorer in each of its first two games. James White tallied 21 in the season opener vs. Murray State and Devan Downey reached the same scoring figure in Tuesday's win over Illinois State.
UC has held both of its 2005-06 opponents to sub-.400 field goal shooting. The Bearcats have posted sub-.400 defensive field goal percentages in eight of the past 10 seasons. The Bearcats displayed ample offense in their exhibition game victories over Hillsdale (99-71) and Northern Kentucky (96-60). UC averaged 97.5 points in the two games, shooting .590 from the field and .490 from 3-point range.
CLOSE SHAVES THE NORM FOR COACHING DEBUTS: The overtime victory over Murray State in Andy Kennedy's debut as head coach should not have been a total surprise. Each of Cincinnati's previous two head coaches had similar nerve-racking beginnings. After trailing the entire contest, UC rallied in the final minute and a half to defeat Eastern Kentucky, 68-65, in Tony Yates' first game as the Bearcats' head coach in 1983-84. Bob Huggins' first game at UC, in 1989-90, was turned into a victory when Minnesota turned the ball over with 0.9 seconds remaining and Steve Sanders hit a 3-pointer at the buzzer for a 66-64 victory.
CHANGES IN THE ARENA: Fans attending Cincinnati home games will see some major changes in Fifth Third Arena. The a new scoreboard/videoboard has been hung over center court. The video display area is nearly 50 percent greater than that of the old unit. New video boards have been installed at each end of the arena. There are new courtside tables with video displays. The court has been resurfaced and contains the new UC and BIG EAST logos. Operationally, the game clock will be started and stopped by the officials via the Precision Timing system, and LED lighting behind the backboards will help signal the end of periods.
UC IN THE BIG EAST: Cincinnati makes its debut as a member of the expanded BIG EAST Conference this season after playing the past 10 years in Conference USA. In the preseason polls of both the league's coaches and media, the Bearcats were picked to finish ninth among the 16 teams. Senior Eric Hicks was an honorable mention selection to the BIG EAST preseason all-league team. The Bearcats have compiled a record of 131-96 for a .577 winning percentage against the current BIG EAST membership.
CONFERENCE DEBUTS GOOD FOR UC: The Bearcats can expect to enjoy success in their inaugural season in the BIG EAST, if the past is any precursor. Every time Cincinnati has begun play in a new conference, it has claimed the championship in that initial year. UC captured the Buckeye Athletic Association title in 1925-26, the Mid-American Conference championship in 1946-47, the Missouri Valley Conference crown in 1957-58, the Metro Conference Tournament championship in the league's first season of play in 1975-76, the regular season and tournament title in the Great Midwest Conference in 1991-92, and the regular season and tourney championships of Conference USA in 1995-96.
NINTH-WINNINGEST PROGRAM: Cincinnati has been college basketball's ninth-winningest program since the turn of the century. Over the past six years, the Bearcats have compiled a 152-45 record for an .772 percentage. Cincinnati's 152 wins are the ninth-most among Division I teams over this period. Cincinnati has won 25 or more games nine of the last 10 seasons. The Bearcats have won a conference regular season and/or tournament title in 12 of the past 14 seasons, and six times during this period have claimed both during the same season. UC's 14 straight NCAA Tournament appearances is the third-longest active streak in Division I, trailing only Arizona (21) and Kansas (17).
Eric's Summer Trip: Eric Hicks did not have your typical summer vacation. The Bearcats' senior forward helped the United States to the Gold Medal at the World University Games in Izmir, Turkey. Hicks was one of 15 players invited to the USA Basketball Trials in Colorado Springs to participate in tryouts for the team in late July. He made the 12-player roster for the games and travelled to Turkey in August. Hicks averaged 6.6 points and 3.1 rebounds at the games, shooting .576 from the field. He had a team-leading 24 points in the 117-61 win over China.
VETERAN TEAM: The Bearcats opened the season with a combined total of 145 games of starting experience. For comparison, last year's team brought 160 games of starting experience into the 2004-05 campaign. The 2003-04 team had 108 games of starting experience while the 2002-03 team began with only 59 career starts.
105th CAMPAIGN: The 2005-06 season is Cincinnati's 105th year of basketball competition. The school has compiled a 1,500-855 record for a .637 percentage.
BEARCATS STRONG IN 5/3 ARENA: Cincinnati enters its 17th season in Fifth Third Arena at Shoemaker Center with a 222-29 record a .884 winning percentage. UC is 57-6 in Fifth Third over the last five seasons, and compiled a 73-7 mark vs. Conference USA teams during its 10 years in that league.
SIX BEARCATS IN THE NBA: Six former Bearcats were on the rosters of NBA teams when the season opened.
Last UC Yr. Draft Pos. Season NBA Team____________
Danny Fortson........ 1997 10 9th Seattle Sonics
Kenyon Martin.........2000 1 6th Denver Nuggets
Ruben Patterson.....1998 31 8th Portland Trail Blazers
Nick Van Exel......... 1993 37 15th San Antonio Spurs
BEARCATS NO.1 AMONG CONFERENCE RULERS: Cincinnati shares with Valparaiso the distinction of having won the most conference regular season championships over the last 11 seasons. The Bearcats have been regular season champions nine times in the past 11 seasons, eight in Conference USA and once in the Great Midwest Conference.
UC'S DEFENSIVE REPUTATION: Cincinnati teams have earned a reputation for their defense and rebounding emphasis, and the success of last year's team is evidence of this. UC held its foes to a .373 field goal percentage to rank second in the nation. The Bearcats have held their opponents to sub-.400 shooting in eight of the past 10 seasons and have been annually ranked among the nation's teams in fewest points allowed.
TICKET UPDATE:Single game tickets to all University of Cincinnati men's basketball home games are on sale to the general public. The tickets may be purchased by phone (513-556-CATS) or online via UC's athletic web site: www.UCBearcats.com, as well as in person at the Athletic Ticket Office at One Edwards Center. Ticket office hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Single game tickets are priced at $22, $15 for the corner sections of Fifth Third Arena and $15 for youth 12 and under. Groups of 15 or more may qualify for a discounted ticket of $15 to selected games.
LOOKING AHEAD: The Bearcats close out their busy season-opening schedule with their fourth game in 10 days, hosting regional rival Dayton on Tuesday, Nov. 29. Game time at Fifth Third Arena is 8 p.m.