Yancy Gates made his regular season debut for the Bearcats on Sunday night, and it was one to remember as the Bearcats won their season opener by a score of 77-46 in front of a sparse crowd.
In limited minutes, Gates recorded 16 points and 14 rebounds in a blowout win over the South Dakota Coyotes. His fast start really got the Bearcats rolling, and he finished with 10 points and 7 rebounds in the first half of play.
Head Coach Mike Cronin was happy with the performance he saw from his big man, especially on the defensive end.
"He was active with his shot blocking around the basket," said Cronin. "He had 3 blocks. That's something that me and him have worked very hard on; me yelling and him hustling in practice every day to make him use his athleticism on the defensive end. That's probably the thing I'm most proud of."
Gates did indeed play a large role on the defensive end for the Bearcats. He was consistently able to interrupt the opposing team's passing lanes and force them to make bad decisions leading to some costly turnovers. While his numbers that do appear on the stat sheet played a large role in the win, it may have been what you don't see on the stat sheet that helped the Bearcats the most.
Coach Cronin would agree with that statement, and he spoke about the little things Gates was able to accomplish during the post game press conference.
"One thing that surprised me on Yancy's stat line that you don't see is he led us in deflections," said Cronin. "He saved the day on a few plays when guys were beat."
Cronin was also pleased with his production on the offensive side of the ball.
"Offensively he can play," said Cronin. "He's a very talented young guy, and I'm really happy with his offensive rebounding as well. He had 6 rebounds offensively. He's a guy that has a world of ability, but I'm never going to be happy with his performance until he's an All American someday. That's just the way I'm going to coach him."
Junior guard Deonta Vaughn was also very pleased with the effort he got out of his freshman teammate. After the game he spoke about the goals he set for Yancy, and whether or not he was able to achieve them.
"Yancy's performance tonight was good I thought for the most part," said Vaughn. "I told him before the tipoff that I need 16 and 12, and he got what I asked for. That's what won the game."
Yancy himself was also pleased with his performance. When he spoke to the media after the game, he stated that he was just trying to do what he needed to in order to help the team.
"Basically I just wanted to come out and try to play hard for the team," said Gates. "Like Deonta said, he asked me to get certain stats, so I just tried to go out and play hard and try to help my team because if our captain asks me to do that, it must mean we need it. So I just wanted to go out and try and play hard."
Gates was able to pull down a large number of rebounds for the Bearcats, and that is something he says he will continue to focus on for the remainder of the season.
"A focus for me all year is going to be rebounding," said Gates. "Coach needs rebounders, and that's what he asked was for me to take that on as a role for the team; so that's what I'm going to do."
The first regular season game is in the books for Gates and his teammates, and a 1-0 record is a pleasant sight to see. But if they hope to remain undefeated for a longer period of time they will need to improve their play even more. Specifically the post play will play a large role in whether or not they will succeed in the Big East, and Yancy Gates will play a large role in their success or failure.
It remains to be seen just how good Yancy Gates can be, but if the first game is any sign of things to come, Bearcat fans have a lot to be excited about.
Vaughn joins exclusive club
Deonta Vaughn became the 45th member of the 1000th point club on Sunday when he made a 3 point shot with 14:06 left in the 2nd half to put the Bearcats up by a score of 63-27. After the game Vaughn reflected on what it meant for him to score his 1000th point as a Bearcat.
"It means a lot," said Vaughn. "It is like everyone's personal goal to reach 1,000 points. It was a great night for me. I landed right on it, and Coach told me as soon as I got it. I wanted to rest my legs for the next game on Tuesday."
Vaughn scored his 1000th point in his first game of his junior season. If he is able to stay healthy he is on pace to become the only player besides Oscar Robertson to score 2000 points in his career at the University of Cincinnati.
"Yeah, I think if he stays healthy, I wouldn't be surprised if he got there," said Cronin. "Knock on wood that he can stay healthy. We will hopefully play games in March and given the added games, I think he will get there."
The fact that he and Robertson are both from Indianapolis, Indiana did not go unnoticed when he spoke about the possibility of him reaching the 2000 point plato.
"It would be good if I was right behind (Oscar Robertson) him so we can talk about the two great Indianapolis players," said Vaughn.