Saturday, January 23, 1999


When Levett, Mickeal score, 'Cats win big

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        It was no coincidence shooting guard Melvin Levett and small forward Pete Mickeal tied for the team scoring lead when the Cincinnati Bearcats earned a stunningly one-sided win Thursday night at Louisville.

        When Mickeal and Levett are attacking the opposing defense, that defense is generally in trouble.

        “We like to think of ourselves as one of the best pairs of wings in the nation,” Mickeal said.

        The two have combined for more than 35 points in seven different games, and UC has won each time by an average margin of 22.7 points. Four of those were against high-major opponents: UNLV, Duke, Louisville and DePaul.

        Against Louisville in an 81-55 victory at Freedom Hall, Levett and Mickeal — 18 points each — both drove the ball into the defense from UC's motion offense. Levett made his first three-point shot, but followed orders to drive rather than shoot long distance to prevent long rebounds that would fuel Louisville breaks.

        “Early on, we didn't want Mel out there blasting threes, because all that does is lead to dunks at their end,” coach Bob Huggins said. “Pete's really good when he attacks the goal. He sets everything up by his ability to put pressure on the basket. When we got away from that was when our offense really bogged down.”

        GOLDEN ANNIVERSARY: There was no RPI, no “bubble,” no Selection Sunday television show, but that is not to say there was no controversy when one of UC's greatest basketball teams was excluded from postseason play in 1948-49.

        That year, the Bearcats were 23-5 and ranked No.13 by the Associated Press, but were not chosen to compete in either the NCAA Tournament or the NIT.

        They will, however, be honored at halftime of today's UC-Saint Louis game, to commemorate the 50-year anniversary of their historic season. The eight living members of the team — Tay Baker, Dick Dallmer, Roberth Frith, Jack Laub, Ed Lentz, Joe Lucchi, Ralph Richter, Al Rubenstein and Joe Wolf — will attend.

        The 1948-49 team was UC's first 20-game winner, the first to be ranked, won a Mid-American Conference title and closed the year with 11 consecutive victories.

        LOGAN'S RUN: The one UC negative against Louisville was a season-high 20 turnovers.

        Although freshman guard guard Steve Logan committed a season-high four Huggins was not concerned.

        “Steve just doesn't go fast enough to make mistakes,” Huggins said.

        NUMEROLOGY: Against Louisville, the Bearcats attempted a season-low four three-point goals and tied their season low of one made.

        • In five prior games against major opponents in which the Bearcats built double-figure halftime leads, their average margin in the second half was 1.8 points. Against Louisville, UC led by 16 at the half and outscored the Cards by 10 after the break.


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