Revenge Sweet As Williamson Leads UC over SJU

Senior John Williamson has answered coach Mick Cronin's call to arms. His second straight output of over 20 points gives the Bearcats an impressive 7-5 Big East Conference record, not to mention revenge for a previous loss at St. John's.

Williamson scored a new season high 25 points, freshman Larry Davis added 10, and Cincinnati's leading scorer this season, Deonta Vaughn, was held to a season low three points on the night. Regardless of Vaughn's numbers, the Bearcats were able to avenge the Jan. 5th 70-58 loss they suffered in Jamaica, NY at the hands of the St. John's Red Storm.

Red Storm scoring leader Anthony Mason Jr. missed yet another game with an ankle injury, and his absence was felt as SJU went almost seven and a half minutes before they hit their first field goal of the night. Good team defense on Vaughn especially by St. John's kept the Bearcat's score during this time to a minimum.

With Vaughn struggling early for his second straight game, the scoring responsibilities would fall to Williamson and Davis, who were able to put up 25 of Cincinnati's first 29 points.

Sophomore Larry Wright came off the bench for the Red Storm to connect on three of seven from behind the arc en route to scoring 14 points in the losing effort. He was the only SJU player in double digits, as St. John's was one point shy of tying their season low in scoring. They shot a lowly 25.5 percent from the field, compared to UC's 47 percent on the night.

Important for the Bearcats was the ability to again out-rebound their opponent, this time by a mark of 35-29. Williamson again led Cincinnati with 11. In their loss to St. John's earlier this season UC was out-rebounded 28-19.

Although UC appeared to control the game from the onset, the Bearcats' lead was just 23-20 after a low scoring first half of play. The offense would start to become more consistent in the second half, and after just four and a half minutes back-to-back three pointers by Marvin Gentry and Vaughn would give the Bearcats an 11 point lead.

The basket from three point land would be Vaughn's first and only of the game, but it was nowhere near his most impressive play of the night. With just under nine minutes remaining, a Williamson defensive rebound would lead to a two-on-one breakout for the Bearcats. Running down the floor Williamson dished over to Vaughn, who returned the favor by hitting Williamson with a pass perfectly timed as he traveled through the air on his way to a humongous alley-oop, reminiscent of the exciting UC teams of old.

The first time these two teams met, the Bearcats could do nothing to stop the balanced scoring attack of the Red Storm. Mason Jr. led the team with 17, Justin Burrell and D.J. Kennedy each scored 13, and Eugene Lawrence added another 12. In Wednesday's contest Burrell, Kennedy and Lawrence combined for just seven points.

In a hometown spotlight, Indian Hill High School graduate and Cincinnati walk-on guard Branden Miller entered the game for the Bearcats to play the final couple of minutes. The Cincinnati crowd in Fifth Third Arena would erupt in applause as he checked into the game as well as each time he touched the basketball.

Williamson will look to continue his impressive scoring run, and the Bearcats will look to continue their impressive Big East conference run next Wednesday as UC hosts South Florida at 7:00pm in The Shoe.

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