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March 7, 2008

Hot First Half Shooting Propels DePaul To Victory

On senior night for the University of Cincinnati basketball team, it was DePaul's two seniors, Draelon Burns and Cliff Clinkscales that made the difference in the game.

Clinkscales was given the task of guarding Deonta Vaughn and he harassed the Bearcats' leading scorer all night. Vaughn finished the game with just eight points on 3-of-12 shooting.

"Our talent level on the offensive end of the floor is rearing its ugly head," said Cronin. "If Deonta Vaughn goes 3-for-12 and plays like he did today, we are not going to win."

UC Head coach Mick Cronin was furious with his team's inability to stay with Draelon Burns early in the game. Burns absolutely killed the Bearcats with his outside shooting in the first half.

"I'm embarrassed at the way we started the game," said Cronin. "To come out to start the game and let Draelon Burns stand there and shoot threes when the whole scouting report was to not let him shoot, especially early in the game, he's a streaky shooter everybody in the Big East knows you can't let him get started early in the game."

Burns hit four threes in the first five minutes of the game and ended up with 24 points on 8-of-16 shooting.

DePaul head coach Jerry Wainwright said he thought his team's hot shooting from beyond the arc early in the game made the difference.

"I think it gave us a little bit of confidence," said Wainwright. "It certainly gives you confidence on the road and it gave us a chance to settle in."

DePaul stormed out to a 15-4 lead in the first five minutes of the game behind the hot shooting of Burns and Dar Tucker.

"In the beginning of the game they made a few threes and they had a big lead so that's where their confidence came from," said UC senior Adam Hrycaniuk. "Once they got their confidence going they couldn't miss."

The Bearcats battled back and took a three-point lead with 8:28 left in the game, but the offense struggled mightily down the stretch. After a John Williamson tip-in made the score 48-45, the Bearcats scored just one point over the next seven minutes.

"We let our defense control our offense once again," said Williamson. "We weren't making shots and we slacked off on our defense."

The Bearcats really struggled making easy shots against DePaul.

"We are obviously a very inept offensive team right now," said Cronin. "We shot 33 percent in our own gym in the second half. It's tough to win when you can't score in your own gym especially from four feet and in."

The Bearcats made it interesting late in the game when a Deonta Vaughn three cut the DePaul lead to 56-54. On the very next play the Cats fouled Draelon Burnsand Burns missed the front end of the one-and-one, but Mac Koshwal pulled down the offensive rebound and kicked it out to Burns. Burns got fouled again but this time made both free throws to seal the win for his team.

The Bearcats will look to gain a little momentum before the Big East Tournament when they travel to Connecticut Saturday for a 4:00 p.m. game against the Huskies.


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