Tuesday, January 19, 1999

Logan making his point


Huggins warns Horton he may lose his job

BY SCOTT MacGREGOR
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[logan]
Steve Logan is gaining confidence.
(Gary Landers photo)

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        Steve Logan is emerging. So much so in the last two UC games that Bearcats coach Bob Huggins has a stern warning for injured point guard Michael Horton, whose ankle sprain is giving the freshman the chance to blossom at the point.

        “If I was Mike Horton, I wouldn't sit over there very long,” Huggins said after Monday's practice, which Horton missed with the sprain. “He's not going to walk in here Wednesday and expect to play (Thursday).”

        This is why Horton should watch his back: Logan, the 5-foot-10 freshman from Cleveland, is proving a more than capable replacement, scoring 32 points and dishing out eight assists in the last two games for the fifth-ranked Bearcats (16-1).

        Horton, the senior who sprained his ankle in last Thursday's loss to UNC Charlotte, is questionable for this Thursday's game at Louisville.

        Logan seems to be gaining confidence by the day. He scored 20 points against UNCC and followed it up with a solid 12-point, five-assist afternoon in UC's defeat of Oklahoma Saturday, and has both his teammates' and Huggins' confidence.

[logan]
Logan pushes the ball against Oklahoma.
(Gary Landers photo)

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        “(Pete Mickeal) came to me in the fourth quarter Saturday and said, "We're counting on you, we need you,'” Logan said. “That really boosted my game.

        “I'm feeling pretty comfortable. Early in the season I wasn't really comfortable. I didn't know what to expect from college ball. I was timid, didn't know when to shoot or when to pass the ball. But now I've got 15, 16 games under my belt. I'm playing with great confidence right now.”

        That growing familiarity has helped Logan's decision-making catch up with his skills.

        “He's become more familiar with what he's got to do,” Huggins said. “We didn't expect him to come in and do it right away. He still doesn't know when and if sometimes, but it's not a question of if he can, it's a matter of familiarity and confidence.”

        Logan actually started at the point in eight of the Bearcats' first nine games because of a foot injury to Horton. In just his fourth college game, he ripped up Oakland (Mich.) in UC's easy win with 28 points on 10-of-16 shooting (8-of-14 from three-point land), eight assists, two steals and only one turnover.

        But recently, his playing time had diminished, with a low of four minutes in the squeaker at Southern Miss a week-and-a-half ago.

        Then, when Horton went down with the ankle sprain early against UNCC, Logan was thrust into heavy, crucial minutes (37, a season-high). He responded with a veteran's presence, scoring a team-high 20 and hitting four threes.

        “I came in and hit a couple big baskets, felt my shot going,” Logan said, “so everytime I got an open look, I tried to put it in.”

        Logan returned to the bench against Oklahoma, but with UC down 6-0 early, Huggins pulled Shawn Myrick and went to Logan. He helped get the Bearcats back on track in what became a 13-point win.

        “I feel more comfortable coming off the bench,” said Logan, who played 31 minutes. “That way I can look at the game and see what's going on and then come out knowing what to expect.”

        Against Oklahoma, Logan had a mandate to get the ball inside to big men Mickeal, Kenyon Martin and Ryan Fletcher, and did it enough that all scored in double figures.

        “I've seen him mature,” said Mickeal. “The Oklahoma game, I really felt he took control. He really controlled the ball out there for us. That's what we need out of the point guard. On the fast breaks, he made good decisions, either shooting or hitting the guy cutting. That's all we can ask for out of a freshman point guard.”

       



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