The No. 3-ranked Syracuse Orange will try to rebounded from their first loss of the season and losing their No. 1 ranking Monday, as they visit the Cincinnati Bearcats in a Big East Conference men's basketball game at Fifth Third Arena in Cincinnati, OH. Both the Orange (20-1, 7-1 Big East) and Bearcats (15-5, 5-1) are coming off Saturday losses. Syracuse had their school record 20-game winning streak snapped at the Notre Dame Fighting, 67-58, while the Bearcats (15-5, 5-1) had a three-game winning streak end at the West Virginia Mountaineers, 77-74, in overtime.
On Saturday, the Orange were without sophomore center Fab Melo who's not with the team during their two-game Midwest road trip. According to ESPN.com's Andy Katz, Melo did not make the trip because of, "unresolved academic issue from the first semester, according to a source." It is still uncertain if and when Melo will return to the starting lineup.
Melo's absence was factor in SU's loss, as the Orange were outrebounded 34 to 21 and the Irish got a collegiate-best performance from junior forward Jack Cooley, who collected 17 points and 10 rebounds in the upset victory.
Syracuse also enters Monday's contest coming off its worst shooting performance (34-percent) since Feb. of 2009 when they played at the Connecticut Huskies. Senior forward Kris Joseph is still the Orange's leading scorer averaging 13.6 points per game, while sophomore guard Dion Waiters is coming off the bench netting 13.0 ppg.
Meanwhile, the Bearcats have won three of their last four games, including victories over No. 9 Georgetown Hoyas, No. 24 UConn. On Saturday, Cincinnati was edged by host West Virginia.
Sophomore guard Sean Kilpatrick enters the game as the Bearcats leading point-getter (16.0 ppg), while senior guard Dion Dixon is second-best (13.9 ppg).
Overall, Cincinnati features a small lineup as senior forward Yancy Gates (6-foot-9) is used as their primary big man. The Bearcats, who Since Dec. 11 are averaging more than 10 made 3-pointers per game, relies heavily on the 3-point shot.
Cincinnati enters the game as 5 1/2-point underdogs.
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