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Bishop's three helps Cincinnati sink Villanova

Jan 13, 2008 - 4:38 AM CINCINNATI (Ticker) -- Rashad Bishop's only basket ended up being the biggest.

The freshman forward connected on a 3-pointer with 20 seconds remaining to lift Cincinnati to a 69-66 victory over No. 17 Villanova in a Big East Conference matchup on Saturday.

Deonta Vaughn scored 25 points and John Williamson added 13 and 11 rebounds for the Bearcats (8-8, 3-1 Big East), who captured their first win in three games against ranked teams this season.

"Great Big East game," Cincinnati coach Mick Cronin said. "It is a shame that someone had to lose."

"It means a lot," Vaughn said about starting conference play at 3-1. "It's all preparation and the things we do. It's doing the little things that Coach tells us to do. We came in prepared today. We knew they were going to take some good shots. It came out to us playing smart and playing defense."

Cincinnati also had been winless in its three previous meetings with Villanova, and fell behind, 66-63, when Scottie Reynolds connected on a 3-pointer with 2:15 remaining.

The Bearcats answered right back with a jumper from Vaughn, but remained down a point when Adam Hrycaniuk blocked a drive by Reynolds with 29 seconds to go. The rejection ignited a fast-break opportunity for Cincinnati that culminated in a basket from the right wing from Bishop.

"Rashad Bishop only had one basket in the game, and it was just like we drew up," Cronin said. "I was really proud of the way our guys hung in there. They (Villanova) hit some backbreaking shots that we could have panicked and folded up. My players responded to everything Villanova did. Fortunately, we made the last shot."

Coming in averaging just 5.5 points, Bishop had missed all three of his previous shots - two from the arc - prior to the clutch basket.

The Wildcats' Corey Fisher was fouled attempting to get into the lane with 6.2 seconds to play, but the freshman guard front-rimmed the first attempt of a 1-and-1.

Williamson, who was fouled on the rebound, made his first free throw for a three-point edge before missing the second.

Villanova had a chance at the end, but Reynolds' 3-point shot from the left wing with three defenders around him hit off the back of the rim. It was the third loss in the last four road games for the Wildcats (11-3, 1-2).

"We had a couple chances to make shots," Villanova coach Jay Wright said. "We gave up rebounds and some open shots. You have to make plays early in the game and when it is down the (stretch). You have to give them credit because they made the shots."

Reynolds finished with a season-high 32 points with five 3-pointers for Villanova, which finished 6-of-22 (27 percent) from the arc.

"I felt I played pretty good," said Reynolds, who was coming off a four-point effort in a 64-63 win over Pittsburgh on Sunday. "I'm getting healthy.

"We knew Cincinnati was a tough, physical team. They made some big plays down the stretch. Our hats off to them."

Alvin Mitchell added 12 points off the bench and Hrycaniuk had 10 rebounds to go along with two blocks for Cincinnati, which trailed by six points on two separate occasions in the first half before going into the half down, 33-31.

Both teams went back and forth following the break before the Bearcats pulled ahead, 62-56, on a 3-pointer by Mitchell with 4:43 remaining.

Villanova, behind a pair of 3-pointers by Reynolds, came right back with a 10-1 run to pull ahead by three with 2:15 remaining.

Fisher scored 13 points and freshman Antonio Pena chipped in 10 for the Wildcats, who absorbed their third loss of the season despite holding a 34-22 advantage in points in the paint.