Senior Night Loses It's Luster

For Cincinnati's five graduating seniors, Thursday night was meant to be one on which to celebrate their accomplishments, thank them for their determination and hard work, and wish them well in whatever comes there way in the future. Leave it to the DePaul Blue Demons to spoil the party.

DePaul senior Draelon Burns scored a game-high 24 points, while freshman Dar Tucker added 15 of his own for the Blue Demons. Fellow senior Cliff Clinkscales was mostly responsible for defensively holding Bearcat leading scorer Deonta Vaughn to just eight points and three of 12 shooting on the night, as DPU (11-18, 6-11 in the Big East) was able to defeat UC (13-16, 8-9 in the Big East), 60-54 in Fifth Third Arena.

The win snapped a five game losing streak for the Blue Demons, who had lost nine of their last ten games overall. The Cincinnati loss was their fourth straight, as they dropped below .500 in conference play for the first time this season.

"We're fighting for our lives as you all know, trying to get to post season play in our own conference," said DePaul head coach Jerry Wainwright. "This was a very important win for us, and we're very proud in beating a good team."

The Blue Demons got started off on the right foot, opening the night with a Burns three-point jumper just 12 seconds into the game. Burns would go on to hit five of his six attempts from beyond the arc in the first half.

"I'm embarrassed with the way we started the game," said UC head coach Mick Cronin following the loss. "He (Burns)'s a streaky shooter, everybody in the Big East knows you can't let him get started early in the game."

With the help of Burns DePaul would build a 15-4 lead just over five minutes into the game.

"Once they got their confidence, they couldn't miss anymore," said senior Adam Hrycaniuk of the Blue Demons impressive shooting start.

But the Bearcats refused to give up, and with just under eight minutes remaining in the half senior John Williamson knotted things up at 19. Williamson finished with a team-high 19 points as well as eight rebounds.

Freshman Larry Davis gave Cincinnati their first taste of the lead, as his three-pointer with just less than seven and a half minutes to play in the first half gave his team a 22-19 edge. The Blue Demons would go on a 12-6 run to end the half however, and led 31-18 at the break.

The Bearcats would come out swinging in the second half, but turned cold as over five minutes would pass without a UC score at one point.

"We're obviously a very inept offensive team right now, said Cronin. "It's tough to win when you can't score in your own gym," he added.

A Will Walker three-point jumper with a minute and a half remaining in the game gave DPU their largest lead of the game with the score 56-49. Fans started to leave the arena, but some were drawn back to their seats as Vaughn and senior Jamal Warren scored five straight Cincinnati points to cut the lead to two with 25 seconds left. The Blue Demons connected on their final four free throws of the game however, and put this one on ice.

Coach Wainwright had nothing but good things to say about Warren, Hrycaniuk, Williamson, and the two other seniors on this Bearcat squad, Marvin Gentry and Marcus Sikes.

"My hats off to those kids that came here for a short period of time and have dedicated themselves to getting everything going in the right direction," said Wainwright. "These kids have really done all the right things."

The Bearcat seniors play one final regular season game before the Big East tournament in Madison Square Garden. Saturday afternoon they travel to Connecticut to face the currently ranked number 14 Huskies. Tip-off is set for 4:00PM.

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