It was a late night at Fifth Third arena for our esteemed live bloggers, but the Bearcats came away with a much-needed Big East win. The 'Cats moved to 18-8 overall and 8-5 in the Big East. They're currently tied with No. 18 Louisville for sixth place in the conference.
UC will host Seton Hall, winners of three straight, at 4 p.m. Saturday, followed by a visit from Louisville next Thursday. With only five remaining regular season games, the Bearskins have some work to do to ensure that Selection Sunday doesn't become "Where the hell do they play the NIT Monday."
Heyo! Reporting live from Fifth Third Arena, I'm Danny Cross alongside intern Brian Dill and we are about to GET OUR LIVE BLOG ON!
As you know, the Bearclaws are playing the Providence Friars, and in addition to having a really weak mascot name, Prov is only 2-11 in the Big East. Ouch! UC is coming off a bad defeat at the hands of Marquette (95-78), so they really need to get a W against these mopes. Like I said to Brian before the game: "This should be a good game to watch — or else a good press conference." That's the kind of insight you've come to expect from this live blog, so we're glad to come through.
Providence is led in scoring by sophomore guard Bryce Cotton. He's only 6-foot-1 and 165 pounds! I'm almost that big!
The Friars also have a freshman forward who averages 13.5 points and 8.4 rebounds per game, which is pretty good. But he's only 6-6, so Yancy might end up jamming on his head. (You never know.) Sophomore guard Gerard Coleman chips in nearly 14 points per game, so he'll be around, too.
The Bearcats, as we all know, have four players averaging double figures in scoring: Sean Kilpatrick (15.0), Dion Dixon (13.6), Yancy Gates (12.6) and Cashmere Wright (10.9).
Here's a surprising note from the press materials: Providence actually leads the all-time series against UC, 4-3. (Wait, that's just because they've only played during Mick Cronin's rebuilding years.) And their school only has 3,852 students. It's probably expensive, which means they don't need any more perks, like winning this basketball contest.
The 'Cats are about to be introduced. Brian and I will be back when the referee throws the ball up into the air and the action begins for real.
FIRST HALF: There are a lot more bloggers here than last home game. Maybe they heard about CityBeat's Live Blog getting tweeted by @spritenews. Social media is crazy like that.
19:40: It didn't take Yancy long to post up one of Providence's young/little dudes and the crowd got to throw their torn up pieces of paper into the air after only 20 seconds.
The Cats weren't really having trouble scoring the ball, going up 6-4 but Prov ran down the court for another layup, which made Cronin turn around and point to JJ on the bench. Now JJ is by the scorer's table — he wants to play!
15:57: And once JJ get to play, he tips a rebound off a missed free throw and then jumps over some people in chairs to save the ball in bounds. Dixon scores a 2. That's why Cronin put JJ in. Steal by Cash, bucket by Ge'lawn. Another bucket and the Cats are up 13-6, and Prov has to call timeout.
14:32: LaDonte Henton scores a little J in the lane and then drips a busted 3 into the net after it kind of landed on the back of the rim. Keep hucking LaDonte. 13-11.
13:38: Yancy slam. 15-11.
13:08: Media timeout. I just ran into my Uncle Mark and cousin Nate. They were impressed by the blogger seats. Sometimes it's nice to be an official blogger — Mark and Nate are some of the higher-ups on my dad's side of the family. I'm feeling good and the Sprite is still half-full with just over 13 minutes left in the first half.
12:00: JJ scores two after Vincent Council scores on yet another runout for the Friars. Cronin is probably at least slightly irritated. 17-13.
11:30: Another media timeout? My blogging skills are off or something weird happened. Anyway, it's time for the John Morrell T-shirt toss so Brian and I are taking a break. Grab one of those T-shirts for me, Brian!
10:08: Nice lefty layup in the lane by Cashmere. It took a while for something to happen. 19-13.
9:30: This game is moving along at quite the brisk pace. Only three fouls so far — two on UC, one on Prov. SK drops a three-ball and the crowd is happy about it. 22-13.
Looks like Providence has a new coach. I thought they were coached by some dude named Toby or something like that. LaDontae Henson scores his eighth and ninth points, so whoever he is, he's probably happy.
8:02: Yancy two-handed slam. 24-15.
7:30: Council for two. Dixon fouled on the other end. You got lucky Dixon! Media timeout AGAIN. 24-17.
UPDATE: Providence's coach is named Ed Cooley. Still trying to get Brian to figure out how long he's been the coach. Come on, Brian!
7:15: Dion sinks his first free throw, and then the second. 26-17.
6:40: Yancy is by far the biggest dude on the floor, but that doesn't do Dion Dixon any good, as he is blocked in the lane for at least the third time today. Henton hits a 3 and the lead is down to 6. 26-20.
6:23: Sean Kilpatrick is good at basketball. He's fouled going to the rack and makes one free throw. 27-20.
5:50: Ge'Lawn Guyn wears a read mouthpiece. It looks like he has a red orange in his mouth, if that makes any sense. Ge'Lawn brings the ball up the court and goes straight to the bucket for two. Then SK hits a 3 off a Prov miss and the lead gets bigger. 32-20.
4:56: Number 1, Gerald Coleman goes to the line after an SK foul, but he misses the first. Ha. (Probably was due to the Home Alone sign one of the students is holding.) He makes the second. Ahhhhhhhh! 32-21.
4:42: JJ with a flash to the basket and a little flippy lay-in. 34-21.
3:40: Media timeout. One of the bloggers next to us is on Facebook looking at pictures of girls. Hey, guy! Watch the game — it's more important than whatever that girl shared with that dude you don't know. GET OVER IT, SHE HAS OTHER FRIENDS, DUDE!
UPDATE: Brian filling in while Danny hits up the restroom (too much Sprite — sue me).
3:27: First foul on J.J.
3:14: Henton is tearing up the cats he now has 14 points
2:03: Foul again on J.J. and the Friars are in the bonus. Council hits both 34-25.
1:39: Davis III enters for the first time for UC. Davis' first shot, a 3-pointer from the top of the key, and it's good. 37-25.
1:11: Kilpatrick from Davis III on the break. 39-25.
22.8: And the Bearcats will use a timeout.
Nice work, Brian. Hitting the restroom before half was big for this blogger, although I did almost walk into the women's restroom — actually crossed the plane, too. If it were bowling, I would have fouled and my three pins wouldn't have counted. Oh well. Jeremiah Davis jumper and we're at the half, people. 41-25.
HALFTIME: The good news is the Bearcats have a 16-point lead, which is probably, like, the biggest lead they've had all season. The bad news is that LaDontae Henton can't stop/won't stop: Dude has 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting. Other than him, though, Prov isn't doing so good — the rest of the team is 4-19 from the floor.
For UC, Sean Kilpatrick is doing his usual thing with 9 points, 2-of-5 from three-point land. Yancy has 7 and JJ 6. UC outrebounded the little guys 18-13, which is atypical of our dudes. The Bearcats shot 53 percent from the field, compared to 37 for Providence.
Other than that stuff, there's not really much to report. It was kind of a boring half, not our fault.
PROVIDENCE COACH UPDATE: Brian had time to Wikipedia 'ol Ed Cooley, and it turns out he's "an American college basketball coach and the current head coach of the Providence College Friars men's basketball team (we already knew that, Brian!). Previously, Cooley had held the same position at Fairfield University from 2006–2011. He received the inaugural 2010 Ben Jobe National Coach of the Year Award, presented annually to the top minority men's college basketball coach in the nation."
So, yea, it's his first year with PC.
19:32: Providence gets the ball first because Yancy jumped higher than their dude to start the game. But after a Dion steal it's a gorilla slam for Yancy. 43-25.
19:04: SK for 3, and spell check tries to mess up Brian's notes by changing "posterize" to "pasteurize." Stupid spellcheck. 46-25.
Dion does a sweet crossover, gets into the lane and then gets swatted — not once, but twice. That's got to be five times today. Too bad he's not a couple inches taller. Oh well.
I've missed some action because I was busy trying to confirm that Providence's last head coach was named Toby. Turns out I was wrong: Keno Davis. 'Ol Keno was fired in March with five years left on his contract due to an 18-36 Big East record (46-50 overall). He's a Big 10 analyst now, though, so he's doing fine. 48-27.
15:51: Media timeout. The home crowd is pretty happy about this big lead the 'Cats have. Providence can't be enjoying not being able to get a rebound even then they've got UC boxed out. Sorry Brice Kofane Bryce Cotton, but it's your fault you're 6-1, not Dion Dixon's (6-3). Oh great, Providence has two players named Bryce. Brice Kofane and Bryce Cotton. This is ridiculous. I'm going to have Brian ask Ed Cooley if he's fucking serious. (He better say it that way, too.)
15:01: Yancy just went up for a one-handed thump but got fouled and came up just short. Too bad. He makes both FTs. That's 14 for him. 52-30.
13:19: Providence went on a little run, and with Vincent Council at the line they're only down 18. Council swishes the first, and Cronin brings in four new dudes (probably mad). Council hits the second. 54-38.
12:45: With the shot clock winding down because no one wanted to flash to the free throw line against a zone defense, Dion goes to the rack and guess what happened? HE GOT STUFFED AGAIN. Dang dude.
12:20: Cheikh Mbodj puts one in for UC but Council drops another 3. 56-41.
11:55: Jermaine Sanders gets to come in the game, throw the ball out of bounds and then gets in trouble. The lead is 15.
11:01: I wish I was voted the Sports Clips fan of the game — I could use a trim! Oh well, back to my stylist Julie out in Kenwood. Council scores again — 23 for him — and SK hits the side of the backboard on a 3. Coleman for two on the other end and the lead is 11. Uh oh. Timeout Cronin. I bet five minutes ago Cashmere didn't think he was going to get yelled at like this anymore tonight.
9:00: This Council dude is seriously ballin. Another 3 from him to keep the Friars in the game. There's been some funny stuff happening on the Bearcats' offensive rebound attempts — steals, shots hitting the backboard but no rim, missed jams. Funny. 60-48.
8:30: Yancy is too big for these dudes. Offensive rebound. Monster slam in traffic. But Council answers again. UC 62, Council 28 (the rest of PC has 22).
7:04: Council blows by Cash, and Yancy earns his first foul of the game. That's how big Yancy is compared to these dues — one foul through 33 minutes. He just walks past or jumps over them all. Seems easy.
5:32: Henton hits what Brian believes is PC's seventh 3-pointer this half and then dunks one after Jaquon Parker misses a little bank shot. 66-57.
4:22: SK turns the ball over and Gerald Coleman gets the run-out dunk. This 7-point lead is kind of silly considering the massive way UC was whooping these guys for most of the game. Cronin had to call a timeout it's so ridiculous.
3:43: Parker is having a bad night on the short jumpers. Cash is going to the line after a cool drive. It's time for the "Shout" song to wake up the home crowd. These people aren't being very enthusiastic, though. I think everybody's tired of being here so late — and Brian has school tomorrow!
UPDATE: The crowd got more into the "Shout" song after the part where it slows down a lot. Now there's some hip hop and everybody's feelin it.
2:53: Cash's free throws are busted tonight. He goes 1-for-2 from the line again and the 'Cats lead 68-59. People are starting to leave now.
2:36: Dion finally got to get one of those blocks back, tipping Council's 3-ball and feeling pretty good about it. Parker gets the loose ball and is fouled. Two FTs made. 70-59.
1:28: The 'Cats slowly broke the Providence press and then Dion Dixon scooted into the lane a little and then was like, "The rim is wide open so I'M GONNA ONE-HANDED THUMP IT!" 74-61.
:18.3: The home crowd is none too pleased by Providence continuing to foul while losing by so much. SK has already hit six free throws and Cash is at the line leading by 14. He makes one of two again. 81-66.
Game over. Good grief. I mean ... Bearcats win!
POSTGAME: Crazy 'ol Cousins walked the wrong way once the game ended and was over by where the media goes to interview people. Brian and I laughed at him, but not until he walked past us (he looked strong).
Cousins ended up with 29 points to lead the Friars, and LaDontae Henton added 24 and 9 rebounds. It turns out PC only had two other guys score tonight — Gerard Coleman had 11 and Bilal Dixon had 2. Kind of weird.
Sean Kilpatrick led UC with 22 points, along with 8 rebounds, and Yancy had 16 and 9. The Bearcats had 20 second chance points tonight because they're so much bigger than the Friars and outrebounded them 44 to 26.
Providence head coach Ed Cooley on his second-leading scorer scoring zero points: "We're not going to win a lot of games with our second-leading scorer scoring zero points."
Yancy on UC's bench scoring 19 points: “They helped out a lot. That was part of us taking that lead like that in the first half. J.D., Jermaine and Ge'Lawn and even Justin came in and was instant energy, which led to some buckets. It gave us a lift, especially at the time we needed it, so it was big.”
Mick Cronin on his dudes handling the Providence comeback attempt: "Before they made the run I told the guys, 'You gotta stop looking at the scoreboard and just play.' That was our problem against Marquette — we're worried about losing the lead. … We were up 12, so what? I averaged 30 a game in 8th grade — nobody cares. I'm same height, same weight, no hair now."