The Cincinnati Bearcats defeated the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on Wednesday by a final score of 71-55. The win, which moves the Bearcats to 2-0 in conference play, also extends the Bearcats’ improbable post-shootout win steak to seven.
Dion Dixon scored his 1000th point against Notre Dame. (photo credit: Brian Baker/Lacking Focus Photography)
The Bearcats (12-3, 2-0 Big East) welcomed back Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbodj, and Octavious Ellis from suspensions that had kept them out of the Bearcats’ previous six contests, but their since-revamped offense remained relatively the same.
The Bearcats, who were coming off of their two biggest wins of the year over Oklahoma and conference foe Pittsburgh, used the three-point shot to build an early double-digit lead on the Fighting Irish and never really allowed a young Irish team to get much closer.
“Any Big East win is a great win,” said Cronin after the game. “I think Notre Dame is playing really well right now, so I’m very happy with our win. They’re a tough team to defend because they play smart. They pose a lot of problems for you. “
The Bearcats were led in scoring by Dion Dixon who finished with 18, but had 2 others finish in double figures on the night. JaQuon Parker finished with 11 points on the night while Jeremiah Davis used a streaky first half to get into double figures with 10.
With his 18th point, Dion Dixon reached the 1,000-point mark for his career.
“It feels good,” said Dixon after the game. “It feels great, actually. I’m a part of UC history. I really didn’t think about it much in my first couple years, but recently I was focused on getting there.”
Junior point guard Cashmere Wright, despite not having his best performance on the offensive end, continued to do exactly what his team needs from him to win.
Wright, who struggled early in the year, has now recorded 66 assists to just 6 turnovers in his past seven games, an assist to turnover ratio that most would only dream of seeing over that kind of span.
In his return to action, senior Yancy Gates appeared right at home. Gates, who saw slightly limited playing time in his return, racked up 6 points and 8 rebounds. He also blocked 3 shots on the night.
He showed throughout the night that he was more than capable of contributing in a Bearcat offense that had changed substantially since he last took the floor against Xavier in early December.
“It feels real good,” said Gates after the game. “It’s hard watching your team play every night on TV. I was just thinking about going to the tournament, really. Every game we win gets us closer to going to the tournament in my senior year.”
He continued on, speaking to the concerns of whether or not he would fit in with the new offensive scheme the Bearcats had employed since his break.
“It didn’t matter (what people said),” said Gates. “I had been in practice and I knew what I had to do to fit in. I didn’t really pay attention to what was being said. I felt like I really didn’t have to score that much. I think the offense. I like the way it’s spread out and the guards are attacking.”
The Bearcats’ next game comes on Saturday at home against the St. John’s Red Storm.
The Red Storm, who are off to slow start on the year, should provide the Bearcats with an excellent opportunity to both extend their win streak and remain undefeated in conference play.