Tuesday, January 5, 1999

UC 75, MARQUETTE 56


Bearcats less than sharp in easy victory

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[martin]
Kenyon Martin hurdles a press table pursuing a loose ball.
(AP photo)

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        This Conference USA basketball game between the Cincinnati Bearcats and Marquette should have been played 21 hours earlier. Everyone could agree on that. It was Pete Mickeal's opinion, though, the final margin should have been another 21 points or so in UC's favor.

        As it was, the final score Monday night at the Shoemaker Center was UC 75, Marquette 56. Mickeal was certain he and his teammates were capable of so much more, even if they had to wait through a one-day weather postponement to play this game.

        “I don't think that was a really good team, at all,” said Mickeal, who scored 14 points and plucked five steals to lead the Bearcats in both categories. “That's what coach told us. He compared what Duke would have done to them to what we did to them. That tells us we have to play a 40-minute game.

        “They probably went home thinking we were a pretty good team, but I don't think we proved we were worthy of a No. 3 ranking.”

[mikeal]
Pete Mickeal plays tight defense on Cordell Henry.
(Craig Ruttle photo)

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        Is it common for a perfect team to dwell so forlornly on its imperfections? Perhaps that's what keeps a club undefeated.

        The No.3-ranked Bearcats (13-0, 2-0) were unhappy with their 7-of-16 free throw shooting and especially the number of open three-point shots they allowed Marquette (8-6, 0-2), which was 8-of-19 from long range and generated nearly half its points in that fashion.

        “We didn't do as good a job guarding as we normally do,” UC coach Bob Huggins said, despite Marquette's 32.8 shooting percentage and the Bearcats' 11 blocks and 13 steals. “We let them have too many open looks. And we didn't make shots.”

        Statistics didn't back him up there, either. UC hit 50 percent from the field, including 12-of-19 by the front line of Mickeal, Ryan Fletcher and Kenyon Martin, who scored 13.

        “I think we made plays,” Huggins said. “We made athletic plays, but I didn't think we played very well.”

[land]
Freshman Eugene Land had 10 points.
(Craig Ruttle photo)

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        The Bearcats' start matches the second-best in school history, which was recorded by the 1959-60 team starring Oscar Robertson. That team finished the year 28-2, losing in the Final Four. Huggins' best previous start was 12-0 in 1995-96, when UC went 28-5 and lost in the Southeast Regional final.

        “Everybody's asking me, "Is this the best Cincinnati team you've played against?'” Marquette coach Mike Deane said. “I'm not ready to say that yet.

        “They're enjoying a great start when maybe there aren't as many good teams out there. This could be their year, but there've been some great players that have worn this uniform.”

[mitchell]
Alvin Mitchell blocks David Diggs' shot.
(Craig Ruttle photo)

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        It took Marquette more than four minutes and seven shots to score its first basket. UC blocked three of the Golden Eagles' first six attempts and got two fastbreak baskets from point guard Michael Horton in building an 11-2 lead.

        It was not long, though, before UC's offense stalled against the 1-3-1 zone. The Bearcats went through 12 trips in which they managed a single score, a three-pointer from the left wing by Mickeal that made it 16-9 with 10:33 left.

        With UC in such a drought, it took only two three-pointers for Marquette to close the gap to a point. “We stopped playing,” Mickeal said. “That's all it was.”

        Horton returned from the bench to assist Mickeal in returning the sting to UC's press, and Mickeal scored seven points in a 16-2 surge that returned control of the game.

[horton]
Michael Horton had nine points and eight assists.
(Craig Ruttle photo)

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        “I thought we were pretty active,” Martin said. “We got our hands on a lot of balls, and when we did we got back pretty well, defended well.”

        “We'll probably get a better shot there,” Mickeal said of UC's Feb. 10 visit to Marquette. “Maybe it was because of the delay.

        “I think we should have proved how good we were today, and we didn't do that.”

        UC NOTEBOOK

 MARQUETTE (56)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Bargen          34   2-8   2-3   2-8  3  2    6
Harris           5   1-1   1-2   0-0  0  0    3
Clausen         16   0-5   0-0   2-3  0  5    0
Henry           29   1-6   0-0   1-6  2  0    3
Wardle          30  5-11   0-0   1-2  2  2   13
Nnamaka         13   2-7   1-1   4-4  0  0    5
Mueller         24   1-3   2-2   1-2  0  1    4
Cliff           26  4-11   2-2   3-4  1  0   13
Polonowski       3   1-2   0-0   0-0  0  0    2
Miller           7   0-0   0-0   0-4  0  2    0
Diggs           10   2-6   0-0   0-1  0  0    5
Duffy            3   1-1   0-0   0-1  0  0    2
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 20-61  8-10 14-35  8 12   56
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.328, FT-.800. 3-Point Goals:
8-19, .421 (Bargen 0-1, Henry 1-3, Wardle 3-5,
Cliff 3-7, Diggs 1-3). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked
shots: 2 (Miller, Mueller). Turnovers: 20 (Wardle
7, Bargen 4, Henry 2, Mueller 2, Nnamaka 2,
Clausen, Cliff, Miller). Steals: 7 (Cliff 3,
Bargen, Henry, Mueller, Wardle).


CINCINNATI (75)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Fletcher        22   1-2   0-0   1-5  1  0    2
Mickeal         30   5-7   3-3   0-4  3  2   14
Martin          21  6-10   1-3   1-4  1  3   13
Horton          22   4-7   1-4   2-3  8  2    9
Levett          25   3-9   1-2   0-2  1  2    9
Tate            21   3-5   0-2   1-2  1  2    6
Mitchell        21   1-7   0-0   0-3  2  2    3
Logan           16   2-6   0-0   0-1  0  1    5
Land            16   5-7   0-0   3-6  0  2   10
Myrick           3   0-0   1-2   0-0  0  0    1
Mcghee           3   1-2   0-0   0-0  0  0    3
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 31-62  7-16  8-30 17 16   75
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.500, FT-.438. 3-Point Goals:
6-18, .333 (Mickeal 1-1, Levett 2-7, Mitchell
1-5, Logan 1-3, Mcghee 1-2). Team rebounds: 6.
Blocked shots: 11 (Martin 4, Tate 3, Horton,
Levett, Mitchell, Land). Turnovers: 12 (Horton 3,
Fletcher 2, Land 2, Levett 2, Mickeal, Mitchell,
Tate). Steals: 13 (Horton 5, Mickeal 5, Fletcher,
Land, Mitchell).
__________________________________
Marquette          20   36  -   56
Cincinnati         32   43  -   75
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 12,844. Officials:
Mike Sanzere, David Bair, John Clougherty.


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