Dec. 4, 2004
DAYTON, OH -- The University of Dayton men's basketball team gave 24th-ranked Cincinnati everything it wanted Saturday afternoon at UD Arena, making a strong bid for an upset before UC pulled away for a 65-55 victory in front of a sellout crowd of 13,409 fans.
Dayton led 33-31 at halftime, but the bigger and more experienced Bearcats wore down the Flyers in the second half. UD, who started a pair of freshmen (6-7, 215-pound Norman Plummer and 6-8, 210-pound in the post due to an injury to starting center James Cripe, out-rebounded Cincinnati 20-15 in the first half. The Bearcats, who countered with 6-7, 250-pound senior Jason Maxiell and 6-6, 240-pound junior Eric Hicks, took the second-half battle of the boards 27-10.
Cripe suffered a bruised lower back in practice Saturday. When it tightened up during pre-game meal and it did not respond to treatment, he was a gametime scratch and was forced to watch the game on television from the training room.
Cincinnati jumped ahead 5-0 (17:42 left in the first half) and then 12-5 (16:01 in the first), but a 14-4 Flyer run in which five different players scored put Dayton ahead 19-16 with 10:56 remaining. The rest of the half had five lead changes, and a Norman Plummer bucket with 34 seconds left gave UD it's 33-31 halftime lead.
The lead bounced from one side of the scoreboard to the other for the first seven baskets of the second half, and it was a one-point game (UC 50, Dayton 49) as late as the 4:13 mark. But six unanswered Cincinnati points led to a 12-2 Bearcat run over the next three minutes and four seconds. With UC in the lead by ten (61-51), the only points scored the rest of the game were from the free throw line.
Mark Jones led UD with a season-high 12 points. Plummer added his second straight double-digit output matched the best scoring output with 10 points (he also scored 12 Wednesday at DePaul). Cincy's Armein Kirkland scored a career-high 23 points to lead all scorers. Maxiell scored 12 points for Cincinnati, and James White added 11.
UD is now 1-3 on the season, while Cincinnati improves to 4-0.
Dayton is back in action Tuesday, when the Wyoming Cowboys visit UD Arena. Game time is 8:00 p.m. EST.
POST GAME QUOTES
Brian Gregory: "I give them (UC) credit. They responded to a team playing well with the things that they do well, which is get after it on the offensive glass."
"Their experience and size wore us down a bit, but our guys fought to the end which is what we needed them to do."
"We are starting to shape into a much better team than we were two weeks ago. We have worked on a lot and some things are starting to stick."
"UC plays with the kind of intensity that I like teams to play with."
On Two Tough Losses This Week "You try to take the positives from it if you can. It's never good to lose and it should hurt a bit, but you must get past it and get the good and the bad of it and move on."
"I was pleased that I didn't see any tentativeness again today, which is good and means that our team is beginning to mature."
Sophomore Center James Cripe: "It really upset me not being able to play today. It's a game I was looking forward too, and a game I know the guys could use my help inside."
"The first half, we battled them inside and we out-rebounded them. The guys played as hard as they could, but (Jason) Maxiell and (Eric) Hicks are real tough players. UC just got to the glass in the second half."
Freshman Forward Norman Plummer "We really wanted to make a statement today, and although we didn't win, we improved a lot today. We're getting better every day and that's a goal of ours. I wanted to beat them real bad, but they pulled it out in the second half."
Freshman Guard Trent Meacham: "I think we got better. We're a young team, and that's not an excuse. We have to get better every day. We learn some much every day and that's the key. We keep doing that and we're going to get some wins."
Cincinnati Head Coach Bob Huggins "I thought they (Dayton) played really well, especially in the first half. I think we were shocked how physical they were."
On the second half turnaround "I thought we challenged shots better in the second half and we really rebounded it well in the second half. Offensively, though, our spacing is not very good right now."
On offensive struggles "We have yet to experience the benefit of sharing the ball. We need to move the ball better, and if we don't start doing that, it will come up and bite us at some point."
On Dayton's young players "I thought their post guys played really well, and their other guys do some good things to take you away from the basket."
On Armein Kirkland "When Armein understands how to play, he can play this game for several years. He came up big on the offensive end for us today."