Senior John Williamson scored a season-best 21 points, Deonta Vaughn took charge and scored 13 in the overtime period, and the University of Cincinnati again improved to just above .500 in Big East conference play following a 72-68 win against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights in Piscataway, New Jersey Saturday night.
The Bearcats (11-12, 6-5 in the Big East) looked vulnerable in the closing moments of regulation, and Rutgers (10-15, 2-10) was able to tie the game with 20 seconds remaining thanks to a pair of Anthony Farmer free throws, two of his 11 points on the night. Freshman guard Corey Chandler came off the bench to lead the Scarlet Knights with 16 points, and Hamady Ndiaye had 15 points, nine rebounds, and seven blocks in the losing effort, the forth straight for
Vaughn, UC's leading scorer this season, was held in check early and finished the first half of the contest scoreless, but the Bearcats only trailed by one at the half despite this fact thanks to the stellar play of Williamson. Vaughn saved his high scoring efforts for the overtime period, where he exploded for 13 of his total 20 points, putting the team on his shoulders and carrying them to victory. Vaughn straight out-worked and out-played a tired Scarlet Knights defense, as he persevered through what had been a tough night to that point and personally scored the first seven points of the extra five minutes.
Cincinnati was again able to out-rebound their opponent, an aspect of the game head coach Mick Cronin has focused on all season, by winning the battle of the boards against Rutgers 41-34, led by Jamaul Warren's nine.
Both teams shot worse than their season averages from both the floor and the foul line, but in the end Cincinnati's nine of 10 shooting from the line during the overtime is what sealed the win for the UC.
The Bearcats, losers of three of their last four coming into the game, now sit in a three way tie for sixth place in the Big East conference along with Marquette and Syracuse. UC holds a win over the Syracuse Orange from earlier this season, but lost convincingly to
Wednesday night Cincinnati will look to avenge its January 5th loss at St. Johns as they host the Red Storm (10-12, 4-7) at 7:00pm in Fifth Third Arena.