Thursday, December 31, 1998

UC 81, UNC-WILMINGTON 52


Huggins gets 400th victory

BY MIKE DECOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[huggins]
Bob Huggins: 400 and counting.
(Craig Ruttle photo)

| ZOOM |
        If you wanted to find somebody who attached a bit of significance to the 400th victory of Cincinnati Bearcats coach Bob Huggins, you had to go a long way — as far as UC did to find its designated victim for this night.

        Jerry Wainwright, coach at UNC Wilmington, was effusive in his praise of his counterpart and his counterpart's team after the Bearcats jetted to an 81-52 victory Wednesday at the Shoemaker Center.

        “His 400th win is an unbelievable standard for a guy his age to reach,” Wainwright said. “He coaches the way you should coach: He coaches every possession.”

        Wainwright and his Seahawks (2-8) earlier stood in against Memphis, DePaul and Washington, but none left the same impression as the No. 3 Bearcats (12-0), who earned their 23rd consecutive win at the Shoe and remained one of five unbeaten teams in Division I.

[martin]
Kenyon Martin grabs a rebound over Marcus Green.
(Craig Ruttle photo)

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        “I believe you'll be following them for a while,” Wainwright said, “and late in the season, they'll be down in Florida (at the Final Four).”

        UC looked like anything but a championship-caliber team for the majority of its previous win, Sunday's two-point escape of Dayton, and Huggins said that was why they were so impressive against UNCW.

        “I think they knew how bad they were Sunday, and they didn't want any repeat of that,” Huggins said. “We've got enough guys that have been around, that know, and they weren't very happy with the way they played.”

        Senior guard Melvin Levett broke from his brief shooting slump by hitting 5-of-9 from three-point range and scoring 23 points. For perhaps the first time this season, and despite a nearly funereal atmosphere in the Shoe, the Bearcats did not relent after establishing a comfortable early lead.

[tate]
Jermaine Tate shoots between two defenders.
(AP photo)

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        They were up 40-24 at the break, but nearly doubled that lead by the 8:02 mark of the second half. Guard Michael Horton picked up a steal and tossed a soft lob pass to Martin that was too closely guarded for Martin to get off a clean shot, but forward Pete Mickeal came in from behind and tipped it home for a 70-39 advantage.

        “Coach always wants us to play 40 minutes,” said Mickeal, who had 14 points, three steals and seven rebounds. “I can't say we played the whole 40, but our effort was good enough that in our minds, we played the whole 40. Today might have been our first complete game.”

        UNCW paid an extreme amount of attention to center Kenyon Martin with its zone defense, surrounding him with three defenders each time he caught the ball, but UC built a 27-15 lead before he tried a shot.

        UC was 7-of-18 from three-point range before bricking a few in the erratic closing minutes. .

        “I spent some time shooting the ball last night, a lot of extra time,” Levett said, “and I worked on trying not to be floating to one side when I shot the ball. I seemed to hit all the shots I took with the right stance.”

[mickeal]
Craig Ruttle dishes off.
(AP photo)

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        To Huggins, it meant more that many of his former players — including Corie Blount, Tarrance Gibson, Terrence Davis and Keith Gregor — were watching the 400th win than merely lifting his career mark to 400-148.

        His current players weren't impressed, either.

        “That doesn't matter at all,” Mickeal said. Maybe 500. I think that's a big milestone. But every victory is big to Huggs.

        “To start out 12-0 like we have, I think that's real special to him. He doesn't want us to know it, but it is.”

        NOTE: Orthopedic surgeon Angelo Colosimo performed surgery on UC freshman center Donald Little's left elbow Wednesday. He is expected to be out 3-6 weeks. Little is eligible for a medical redshirt, but maintains he wants to return this season.

All 1998 basketball stories


NC WILMINGTON (52)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Dahl            22   0-2   0-2   0-0  1  2    0
Ebong           28   3-5   0-1   1-2  1  3    8
Kojenets        32  6-11   0-0   0-2  1  4   12
Simmons         28   3-7   1-2   0-0  1  4    9
Donlon          36   3-5   0-0   1-3  2  2    8
Green           14   0-1   0-0   1-4  0  4    0
Pratt           22   3-8   5-6   2-9  2  2   11
Perine           9   1-3   0-0   0-0  1  1    2
Hare             8   1-2   0-1   1-1  1  0    2
Tharp            1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 20-44  6-12  6-21 10 22   52
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.455, FT-.500. 3-Point Goals:
6-11, .545 (Ebong 2-3, Simmons 2-3, Donlon 2-3,
Perine 0-1, Hare 0-1). Team rebounds: 4. Blocked
shots: None. Turnovers: 19 (Donlon 3, Kojenets 3,
Simmons 3, Ebong 2, Perine 2, Pratt 2, Dahl,
Hare, Tharp). Steals: 1 (Donlon).


CINCINNATI (81)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Fletcher        19   1-4   1-1   0-2  1  3    3
Mickeal         29   5-8   4-5   5-7  2  2   14
Martin          23   5-8   2-2   4-7  1  1   12
Horton          16   4-6   1-2   0-1  1  2    9
Levett          26  9-14   0-0   1-4  1  1   23
Mitchell        20   0-6   3-4   1-2  6  1    3
Tate            18   0-2   1-2   1-3  0  3    1
Logan           16   3-7   0-0   0-3  0  0    8
Land            16   0-1   0-0   0-0  1  1    0
Mcghee          14   1-2   4-6   1-3  0  1    6
Meacham          3   1-3   0-0   0-0  0  1    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 29-61 16-22 13-32 13 16   81
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.475, FT-.727. 3-Point Goals:
7-23, .304 (Mickeal 0-1, Levett 5-9, Mitchell
0-6, Logan 2-5, Meacham 0-2). Team rebounds: 3.
Blocked shots: 4 (Fletcher, Martin, Mitchell,
Tate). Turnovers: 9 (Horton 2, Levett 2, Martin
2, Tate 2, Land). Steals: 9 (Mickeal 3, Horton 2,
Land 2, Mcghee, Tate).
__________________________________
Nc Wilmington      24   28  -   52
Cincinnati         40   41  -   81
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 13,176. Officials:
Gerald Boudreaux, Mike Patterson, Frank
Scagliotta.

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HOCKEY TONIGHT