Coastal Carolina's head basketball coach, Cliff Ellis, settled on his game plan after seeing that the Bearcats shot only 42% from the field and 29% from behind the arc in the Peggy Cronin Classis last weekend. His strategy of packing back into a zone defense and forcing UC to make outside shots might have worked if it hadn't been for Deonta Vaughn's hot hand. The talented sophomore that Coach Cronin calls his best shooter came into the game making only 34% of his shots from the floor and 31% from behind the three point line, but that all changed on Friday night when the Bearcats evened their record at 2-2 with the 74-59 victory.
Vaughn scored a game high 36 points, and the Bearcats made 10 of 27 three pointers on the evening. But Deonta hit 9 of them himself in 15 attempts. The rest of the Cincinnati team was only 1 for 12 from long range.
After losing two of three last weekend, Coach Cronin harped on the need for his players to play better defense, and the Bearcat head man was obviously pleased with Friday's effort. "It was the first time we've held the other team's leading scorer to less than his average."
Jack Leasure came into the game with the country's highest scoring average of 33.5 points a game, but the Bearcats held the scoring machine to a manageable 15 points on only ten shots. Anthony Breeze was the high scorer for the Chanticleers with 25 points on 9 of 9 shooting from inside. The Chanticleers really hurt themselves from the foul line making only 13 of 28 charity tosses in the 15 point loss.
Cincinnati enjoyed a distinct height advantage even though Bearcat 7 footer, Anthony McClain, sat out the game due to a foot injury. The Chanticleers started no player taller than 6' 6".
Although he's still struggling to find his offense, Coach Cronin was pleased with the play of freshman Alvin Mitchell. "He may think he played bad going 1 for 8, but I think he did fine other than giving up a three late in the game. He had 7 rebounds. That's what I'm worried about. He had two assists and no turnovers. I'm not worried about his offense because I've seen it." Mitchell's seven boards led the Bearcats on the night.
After building a 35-27 lead at the half in which Vaughn scored 12 points, the sophomore really took over the game in the second half. The Bearcat built a 20 point lead with 8:22 left in the contest after Deonta scored 17 of Cincinnati's 19 points. But Vaughn did more than just shoot well. After committing 14 turnovers in the previous three games, the Cincinnati point guard had only one on Friday and joked about his ball security. "I was surprised too."
Marvin Gentry added 11 points on the night and was the only Bearcat other than Vaughn to stroke a three while Adam Hrycaniuk had 10 points and 6 rebounds.
With the loss, the Chanticleers' record drops to 2-1 with a game at Wright State on Monday, November 19. Cincinnati's next game is Saturday, November 24 at home against Fairfield University. The Stags are currently 1-2 with losses to Wake Forest and Holy Cross and a win against American.
Sidenote: A chanticleer is a rooster that appears in fables.
Bearcats Pluck Chanticleers
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