UC 62, MINNESOTA 61 (OT)
Mitchell hits key threes

Thursday, December 17, 1998

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer


[horton]
Michael Horton defends against Kevin Clark.
(AP photo)

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MINNEAPOLIS - Cincinnati Bearcats guard Alvin Mitchell would have loved to be on the floor for more than the 18 minutes he played against Minnesota. He was on for the five minutes that counted, though.

Mitchell dropped in consecutive three-pointers in the final two minutes of overtime to give No. 4 UC (8-0) a 62-61 victory over No. 17 Minnesota (6-1) before a post-capacity crowd of 14,867 Wednesday night at Williams Arena.

On a night when the offense slowed to a crawl, the Bearcats shooting .281 from the field in the second half, Mitchell wound up as their leading scorer with 12 points. He missed his first four three-pointers, but rescued UC with one at the 2-minute mark of overtime and another 55 seconds later.

"I think I play better under pressure," said Mitchell, in his first month with the Bearcats after arriving from junior college. "I've been playing pretty long. This isn't like a real big transition for me."

[mitchell]
Alvin Mitchell.
The Bearcats played all but 16 minutes without center Kenyon Martin, who fouled out with 3:46 left in regulation. He scored nine points but did not get a rebound. In his second game since becoming eligible, forward Jermaine Tate covered for Martin with nine points and 14 rebounds.

UC celebrated as though it had won the game in regulation when guard Melvin Levett dropped in a 10-foot jumper just before the buzzer, but the Bearcats had been fooled by a scoreboard error.

They also were tricked into allowing the basket that led to the scoreboard error. Up one after Tate's two pressure free throws with 17 seconds left, they left Minnesota center Kyle Sanden alone on the left wing. Sanden, who was 2-of-4 from long range this season, made a jumper and official Steve Olson signaled a three, but the scoreboard operator indicated Minnesota had a 51-50 lead.

After Levett rushed the ball into the lane and made his shot, UC's players rushed the court, thinking they had won. Minnesota coach Clem Haskins protested for a correction, and he got it, along with a five-minute overtime.

"I just thought their guy hit a two-point shot," said Levett, indicating he never looked at the scoreboard. "I looked up at the clock and saw it was six seconds, and I wanted to do what I could."

[martin]
Kenyon Martin shoots over Kevin Nathaniel.
(AP photo)

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UC struggled mightily against Minnesota's zone defense, and looked doomed with 39 seconds left, down 49-46. Without a timeout, coach Bob Huggins went with guard Michael Horton against the zone and left Levett on the bench, and that resulted in UC's second shot-clock violation in the final 10 minutes.

"I wanted Mike in there because he gets us into the offense," Huggins explained. "We wanted to run something for Alvin. The other guys just weren't getting us into offense."

That mistake gave Minnesota the ball with a three-point lead and just under 40 seconds to kill. The Gophers kicked it away once, leading to Tate's jam and then again by forcing the ball to the lane when all they needed to do was pull out and stall. Kevin Clark's offensive foul put Tate at the line for two free throws with 17 seconds left and UC down one.

He made them both. Tate was reminded of when teammate Pete Mickeal made two last-second free throws to pull out an exhibition win against Athletes in Action. This was a little bigger.

"I was sitting there then thinking I never wanted to be in that situation," Tate said. "This was the first time. I was surprised I wasn't nervous. I stepped up and hit the shots."

[defense]
Pete Mickeal and Ryan Fletcher double-team Quincy Lewis.
(AP photo)

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UC had another clutch circumstance after the four-point cushion Mitchell provided with his two three-pointers was cut to three on a free throw by Minnesota star forward Quincy Lewis, then a Levett turnover against a press that produced a Minnesota layup.

"We made a lot of mistakes," Huggins said. "We're playing hard, playing tough. We just don't know what we're doing yet."

UC took too long on its next possession and wound up with Mitchell forcing a driving airball. Minnesota pushed it up and had the ball knocked away with 9.9 seconds left. The Gophers struggled to inbound the ball, then relied on a one-on-three attack by Clark. His shot caught the left of the rim, and the Bearcats escaped.

Mitchell said he believed UC's experience in pulling out a last-second win against top-ranked Duke in the Great Alaska Shootout was an advantage for the Bearcats.

"No one folded for us," Mitchell said. "There were 39 seconds left, and coach said, ŒA lot can happen in 39 seconds.' "

Notebook: Peek hopes to get shot at basketball
1998 basketball stories


CINCINNATI (62)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Fletcher        38   1-6   2-2   4-8  2  3    4
Mickeal         40   3-7   3-6   1-8  1  5    9
Martin          16   4-8   1-3   0-0  1  5    9
Levett          38  3-13   4-4   0-2  3  3   11
Logan           13   0-3   0-0   0-1  1  0    0
Myrick           8   1-3   0-0   0-1  1  2    3
Tate            26   3-9   3-4  7-14  0  2    9
Horton          17   0-1   1-2   0-3  1  1    1
Mitchell        18  5-10   0-0   0-2  0  2   12
Land             9   1-3   0-0   1-1  0  0    2
Mcghee           2   1-1   0-0   0-0  0  0    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         225 22-64 14-21 13-40 10 23   62
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.344, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals:
4-22, .182 (Levett 1-9, Logan 0-3, Myrick 1-3,
Horton 0-1, Mitchell 2-6). Team rebounds: 9.
Blocked shots: 1 (Tate). Turnovers: 16 (Levett 5,
Mickeal 3, Horton 2, Fletcher, Logan, Martin,
Mitchell, Myrick, Tate). Steals: 5 (Martin 2,
Fletcher, Levett, Mickeal).


MINNESOTA (61)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Lewis           39  8-20   6-8   3-6  1  1   24
Tarver          40   3-5   5-6   2-7  1  2   11
Przybilla       36  3-10   0-0   2-9  1  4    6
Clark           41  3-12   2-3   1-6  4  3    8
Nathaniel       26   2-3   0-0   0-2  3  3    4
Ohnstad         16   1-2   1-2   0-0  1  0    3
Simmons         10   1-2   0-2   0-1  1  0    2
Stanford         3   0-1   0-0   1-2  0  0    0
Broxsie          7   0-0   0-0   0-2  0  0    0
Sanden           7   1-2   0-2   0-0  0  1    3
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         225 22-57 14-23  9-35 12 14   61
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.386, FT-.609. 3-Point Goals:
3-7, .429 (Lewis 2-5, Clark 0-1, Sanden 1-1).
Team rebounds: 9. Blocked shots: 9 (Przybilla 5,
Broxsie 2, Simmons, Lewis). Turnovers: 14 (Lewis
5, Przybilla 4, Tarver 2, Clark, Ohnstad,
Simmons). Steals: 10 (Nathaniel 3, Lewis 2,
Tarver 2, Clark, Ohnstad, Simmons).
_______________________________________
Cincinnati         24   28   10  -   62
Minnesota          23   29    9  -   61
_______________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 14,867. Officials: Ed
Hightower, Donnie Gray, Steve Olson.