G- 10 Troy Caupain (9.0 ppg, 3.8 apg)
G- 25 Kevin Johnson (5.7 ppg, 1.3 rpg)
F- 02 Octavius Ellis (9.5 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
F- 03 Shaquille Thomas (5.9 ppg, 4.5 rpg)
F- 11 Gary Clark (8.1 ppg, 7.4 rpg)
Octavius Ellis -- Junior forward Octavius Ellis anchors the interior defensively for the Bearcats. Entering Sunday, he ranked among the American Athletic Conference leaders in rebounds (tied for second at 7.4), field-goal shooting (third at 61.0 percent), blocks (third at 2.7), offensive rebounds (fifth at 2.7) and defensive rebounds (fifth at 4.6).
» Cincinnati enters Tuesday’s contest holding its opponents to 54.5 points per game - ninth best in the nation (entering Sunday). UC also ranks nationally in blocks per game (11th at 6.3), fewest fouls committed (19th at 15.0) and field-goal percentage defense (24th at .372).
» The Bearcats have held their opponents under 70 points for 15 consecutive games dating back to last season. That’s tied with New Mexico for the second- longest active streak in the nation. Virginia is first at 17 consecutive games.
» Junior forward Octavius Ellis ranks 27th in the nation in blocks per game (2.7). He ranks among conference leaders in rebounds (tied for second at 7.4), field-goal shooting (third at 61.0 percent), blocks (third at 2.7).
» Clayton High School product Gary Clark makes his return to North Carolina on Tuesday. UC’s freshman forward ranks first in the league and sixth in the nation in rebounding average (7.4) among freshmen.
» Tuesday’s contest marks UC’s fifth game this season against a team that played in the 2014 NCAA Tournament. The Bearcats are 2-2 with wins over NC Central and San Diego State and setbacks to Nebraska and VCU.
» NC State leads the series 6-2 overall, including a 3-0 mark in games played in Raleigh and 1-0 record at neutral sites.
» Cincinnati won the last meeting, 68-57, on Nov. 12, 2013 at Cincinnati’s Fifth Third Arena.
» NC State is 5-0 in the series in games played from 1947 to 1958. Cincinnati holds a 2-1 edge in games played from 2006 to the present.
PREVIEWING THE GAME
» Cincinnati (8-3) plays its final game of the 2014 calendar year when it takes on NC State (10-3) at PNC Arena in Raleigh, North Carolina on Tuesday.
» Tip off is schedule for 4 p.m. ET. The game will be broadcast on ESPNU and 700 WLW.
» Cincinnati is coming off a 72-48 home win over Wagner on Dec. 23. Kevin Johnson led four Bearcats in double figures with 11 points on 5-of-8 shooting with a career- high four steals. Octavius Ellis, Shaq Thomas and Quadri Moore posted 10 points each for UC.
» NC State claimed a 73-65 home win over Louisiana Tech on Dec. 23 behind a game-high 20 points from Trevor Lacey. Anthony “Cat” Barber (17), Kyle Washington (11) and Abdul-Malik Abu (10) also reached double figures in scoring for the Wolfpack.
» NC State leads the series 6-2 overall, including a 3-0 mark at home. Cincinnati won last season’s meeting 68-57 on Nov. 12, 2013 at Fifth Third Arena.
GARY CLARK BACK IN HOME STATE
» UC freshman forward Gary Clark will play in front of family and friends when the North Carolina native and the Bearcats take on NC State on Tuesday.
» Clark played his high school basketball at Clayton High School just 24 miles southeast of PNC Arena.
» UC head coach Mick Cronin sat out the VCU and Wagner games due to medical reasons.
» Associate head coach Larry Davis led the Bearcats in Cronin’s absence.
» “I am doing well,” Cronin said. “I hate to be away from the team but all of my efforts are centered on my recovery. I appreciate everyone’s well wishes but I want the focus to be on the Bearcats.”
ELLIS AMONG LEAGUE LEADERS
» Junior forward Octavius Ellis anchors the interior defensively for the Bearcats. Entering Sunday, he ranked among the American Athletic Conference leaders in rebounds (tied for second at 7.4), field-goal shooting (third at 61.0 percent), blocks (third at 2.7), offensive rebounds (fifth at 2.7) and defensive rebounds (fifth at 4.6).
» His 2.73 blocks per game rank 27th nationally.
» Ellis has grabbed at least seven rebounds in nine of UC’s 11 games. He pulled down a season-best 13 rebounds against Eastern Illinois (Nov. 23) while rejecting four EIU field-goal attempts.
» Ellis also leads UC in scoring, averaging 9.5 points per game and is shooting a team-best 61.0 percent (36 of 59) from the field. He scored a season-high 16 points against Morehead State (Nov. 19) thanks in part to 10-of-13 shooting from the free-throw line.
» Ellis was named to the Emerald Coast Classic All- Tournament Team on Nov. 29 following his play in Niceville, Florida. He averaged 8.0 points, 8.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks while shooting 66.7 percent (6 of 9) from the field in two games.
» He was named to the American Athletic Conference Honor Roll in each of the first two weeks of the season.
» Ellis scored a game-high 13 points and grabbed eight rebounds to go with two blocks and three steals in Cincinnati’s 52-37 season opener against Saint Francis. He shot 5 of 8 from the field and 3 of 5 from the free-throw line in his first game back with the Bearcats since the 2011-12 campaign.
Playing the past two seasons at Trinity Valley College (Texas), Ellis became the first incoming transfer to start a season opener at UC since Mike Williams (against South Dakota on Nov. 16, 2008).
» Cincinnati features a more balanced offensive attack this season. Through 11 games, six different Bearcats have led the team in scoring (including ties) - Troy Caupain (four times), Octavius Ellis (three times), Farad Cobb (twice), Gary Clark (once), Shaq Thomas (once) and Kevin Johnson (once). Sean Kilpatrick led UC in scoring in 31 of 34 games last season, including each of the last 20 contests.
» The Bearcats are averaging 6.27 blocks a game as a team and are on pace for 194 blocks by the end of the regular season. That total would rank fourth on the UC charts for blocks in a year. It would also mark the fourth consecutive season a UC team has recorded 170 or more blocks in a year.
» Cincinnati’s bench is averaging 21.5 points through 11 games. Bearcats reserves have outscored opponent bench players in eight games this season. UC reserves accounted for 34 points against Middle Tennessee and 33 points against Morehead State.
» Shaq Thomas is averaging 5.8 rebounds over UC’s last six games. He pulled in a career-high nine rebounds against VCU on Dec. 20.
» The 2014-15 roster includes only three players who have started a college game prior to this season. Senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn and junior forward Shaq Thomas each had 34 career starts - all coming last season. Senior forward Jermaine Sanders has one career start, coming during the 2012-13 campaign.
» None of UC’s five returning scholarship players averaged more than 5.4 career points entering this season: sophomore guard Troy Caupain (5.4 ppg), junior forward Shaq Thomas (5.0 ppg), sophomore guard Kevin Johnson (3.7 ppg), senior forward Jermaine Sanders (3.6 ppg) and senior guard Ge’Lawn Guyn (3.1 ppg).
» Cincinnati is one of 16 programs in the nation to appear in the NCAA Tournament each of the past four seasons (joining Duke, Florida, Gonzaga, Kansas, Kansas State, Louisville, Memphis, Michigan, Michigan State, North Carolina, Ohio State, San Diego State, Syracuse, VCU and Wisconsin).
» UC is one of six schools in the nation to play in four consecutive NCAA tournaments and four consecutive bowl games (joining Kansas State, Louisville, Michigan State, San Diego State and Wisconsin).
» Cincinnati’s 109 wins since the start of the 2010-11 season rank 25th in the nation.
» UC Athletics honored Dick Dallmer, the school’s first All-American, at halftime of the Saint Francis contest. Dallmer turned 90-years old on August 7.
Cincinnati athletics contributed to this report.