Yo! Yo! Yo! It's CityBeat sports reporting live inside Fifth Third Arena (brought to you by convenient overdraft protection).
Day Night for the Bearcats, who will honor the several years of distinguished service of six seniors: Rashad Bishop, Larry Davis, Darnell Wilks, Ibrahima Thomas, Anthony McClain and Eddie Tyree. Let us take a moment to remember the task undertaken by the four-players still remaining from Cronin's 2007 recruiting class — Bishop, Wilks, McClain and Davis — who joined the UC program after Cronin's first-year in the Big East and have brought the program back from a 2-14 Big East record to its current standing as a much deserving NCAA at-large team.
PREGAME: The Bearcats are fresh off a crispy win at Marquette, which has pretty much assured the team of its first NCAA tournament berth under Coach Cronin. UC responded to a Feb. 13 home loss to St. John's by winning three of its next four, including wins over then-No. 15 Louisville and today's opponent, Georgetown, which was ranked 11th at the time. (These rankings are correct, yes? OK good.)
The Hoyas will once again be without their best player, senior guard Chris Wright, who broke his left hand during the team's Feb. 23 loss to the Bearcats (the 'Cats were going to win anyway, though). Georgetown has played only one game since that loss, a 58-51 loss at home to Syracuse.
George town still has some good players, and should give the 'Cats a ballgame today despite Wright's absence. Either way, the Hoyas' warmups are tight as hell.
SENIOR NIGHT INTRODUCTIONS:
A standing ovation for the announcement that six seniors were about to be introduced. First up was walk-on Eddie Tyree, who previously played at Thomas More College in Kentucky. Next up was Ibrahima Thomas, who came out with Yancy Gates and Coach Cronin. A nice round of applause and eventually a Standing O for him.
Darnell Wilks came out next, escorted by his dad. He got a nice round of applause during his photo with dad and Cronin. Larry Davis came out with his parents next, followed by Anthony McClain, who came out with a little tiny baby in his arms. McClain walked with his wife and high school coach and received a nice ovation. Cute baby Anthony!
Last up was Rashad Bishop, who gave Cronin a cool hi-five and half hug. Standing ovation for Rashad as well, who proceeded to slap 5's with all of his fellow seniors (during which time some asshole from The Washington Post obstructed my view in order to ask where "the beat writers sit" — you don't like it up here with the bloggers, chief? Maybe you should have found your seats earlier, just sayin'.).
The Bearcats are wearing their all-red unis, if that means anything to you. UC starts off looking great on D, not so much on O. 2-2 after 3 minutes with no field goals for the home team.
15:19: Poor home fans were still standing and waiting for the first Bearcat field goal until 15:19 on the clock, when Ibrahima banked in a shot after a deflected pass. Too bad G-town had already scored 7. 4-7.
13:17: More misses for UC, from outside and inside. After yet another missed 3 — this time by Dixon — a Georgetown runout runs the score up to 12-4 Hoyas and Cronin has to call timeout and yell at some people.
11:51: More ugly play, this time interrupted by a media timeout. At least the 'Cats made their first 3-pointer of the day after several tries. 7-12. The Bearcats at this point are 2-8 from the field, 1-6 from 3.
10:40: A runout by Kilpatrick and follow-shot by Biggie McClain continue the 'Cats' run, until a 3-ball by Georgetown's other good player. 11-15.
9:01: Darnell Wilks 3-pointer ties the game at 15. Bearcats defense still fierce (no-hetero).
7:50: Media timeout. Bearcats leading on a Biggie free throw. 16-15. Have you ever wondered why the Sprite tastes so much better when it's free? Maybe it's just better when you drink it out of a carbonated machine thing, which no one really ever pays for because you can always tell the people at Burger King that you're just going to drink water. And then ... boom — Sprite for free. Delicious.
4:42: Bishop just swatted some slacker's shot after somehow tricking him to go to his right, then pass Bishop, then try to shoot a runner while Biship hangs out behind him and then swats it out of bounds. That's why Cronin says he's the best defensive player in the Big East. Smarts. 18-18.
2:00: Cats are on a 7-0 run fueled by Dion Dixon popping a 3-pointer right in some guy's face to take a 25-18 lead. Mass exodus for the bathroom lines throughout the arena.
:43.3 After a strong drive to the basket Austin Freeman starts talking mass shit and gets called for a technical foul. Two free throws by Dixon and it's 27-22. Who gets mad after he scores?
:03.8: Freeman drives to the basket again and Ibrahima does what pretty much looks like a blocked shot/tie-up and gets called for a foul. Booing ensues. 27-24.
HA!/HOLY SHIT! Bishop throws a full-court pass to Yancy Gates, who promptly turns around and banks in a 3-pointer. Bummer for the guys in gray. Bearcats 30-Hoyas 24.
HALFTIME: The numbers are looking pretty good for the Bearclaws, who are winning the rebounding contest 19-12 and have held Georgetown to 32-percent shooting (9-28). Georgetown has only 2 turnovers compared to 7 for UC, but the Bearcats are 10-12 from the free throw line.
Dion Dixon leads UC with 10 points. Ibrahima has 4 points and 4 rebounds. Austin Freeman has 9 for Georgetown, but it's on 3-11 shooting, 1-4 from 3.
SECOND HALF: Is it weird to use the urinal directly next to the one the AP reporter was using even though there were several open ones? Why? The teams are back on the court and the Sprite has been refreshed. Let's see another half of basketball.
18:24: The UC defense is making basketball extremely difficult for Georgetown, whose players are dropping and kicking it and taking forever to set up an offensive set. Lay-in by Ibrahima and then a cross-court pass out of bounds by the gray team. 32-24.
18:06: Gates takes G-town forward Julian Vaughn to the rack, resulting in foul No. 4 on the senior big man. Both of Georgetown's bigs are in foul truble. 34-24.
16:33: Two straight baskets by the Hoyas — the second one on a long offensive rebound cut into the lead. 34-28.
15:57: Media timeout. Time for a student to embarrass himself in front of 10,000 people by trying to make a 3-pointer and win a free pizza. That kid will never make a 3-pointer. His shot is too wobbly.
The blogger computer table has scratchy edges. I wonder how comfortable the Washington Post guys are courtside...
14:52: Freeman scored again and Georgetown is playing a zone that is making the Bearcats uncomfortable. 34-30.
12:25: A couple of questionable calls against the Cats has the crowd considerably upset. They are yelling things.
11:55: A Larry Davis 3-pointer changes the mood. 39-32.
11:07: Media timeout brought to you by my Geico car insurance bill that is currently past due. Sidenote: As cool as it is to see super close camera shots of the cheerleaders on TV saying "Yay! Go Cats! Yay! Yeah!" it's kind of funny to be in-person and see the dorky camera guy all up in the girl's business while she's trying to support the team. Anyway... 39-34.
8:59: Cashmere is fouled driving near the elbow, and that's foul No. 7 on the Hoyas. Bonus time! Makes both. 43-36.
8:16: Kilpatrick for 3. Unfortunately G-town's Hollis Thompson had hit one already. 46-39.
7:44: Big follow shot by Wilks that was very nearly super-slam time. 48-39.
7:15: Giant leaping rebound by Gates off a missed Georgetown 3-pointer and the humans in attendance cheer their approval. Timeout Hoyas. 90-percent free-throw shooting for UC (18-20). Dixon's 10 still leads the Cats, with Gates at 9 and Kilpatrick at 7. UPDATE: Gates just made two free throws. 11 for him. 50-39.
6:33: Gates swats Freeman! Cashmere grabs loose ball! Dishes to Kilpatrick in the corner for 3! It's good! Humans yell super loud! Georgetown calls timeout! 53-39! AHHHHHH!
5:30: Cashmere scores on one end, then gets called for a real horseshit foul on the other. Followed by a Freeman make. 55-41.
5:12: Wilks for 3, followed by loud noise. 58-41.
4:30: Two free throws by Yancy and a loud ovation for him as Thomas checks in. 60-41. Gates is back in the mob's good graces now that he's housing everyone.
3:40: Wilks fouled on the drive. He's going to the line. Media timeout. 61-43. The updates get more and more boring toward the end of the game, don't they? I'm still having fun — it's basketball! Wilks misses both shots :(
2:45: Kilpatrick hits a 3. This is much different than most of the other games UC has won. Freeman scores 2. 64-45.
1:46: Dixon does some playground shit, G-town travels and in comes walk-on Eddie Tyree. Wilks is out, crowd cheers. Gotta get Tyree the ball!
1:25: Tyree goes straight to the rack and just misses a floater! Larry Davis is replaced; humans cheer.
:55.7: The other walk-on comes in for Rashad Bishop and there are many more cheers.
:05: Cashmere runs the clock down, drives and dishes to some other walk on that I've never seen before, who makes a reverse. 69-47