Thursday, February 11, 1999
Lack of effort shows on boards
BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
UC coach Bob Huggins believes his team has lost the hustle and intensity that carried the Bearcats to what seemed like permanent residence in the wire-service polls' top five.
As easy as that was to see on the court, it is just as easy to quantify. The Bearcats were outrebounded for the second time in four games in their loss Wednesday to Marquette. It was only the sixth time that happened this season. They've lost two of those games.
I don't know anybody that's tired in the locker room, UC senior forward Ryan Fletcher said. I don't know anybody that's out of breath.
Deane of coaches
If there was one good thing that came out of the UC defeat, it was that it helped Marquette coach Mike Deane through a perilous circumstance. There had been speculation his job was in jeopardy despite winning 20 games in each of his first four seasons, but that talk may subside following the Golden Eagles' win.
Only four days after declaring his Bearcats were not a pressing team, Huggins set them up in a press that began just over the end line at the start of the game. However, they abandoned that tactic in the second half, which Huggins said was not his choice.
We weren't supposed to take the press off in the first half, Huggins said. They decided they didn't want to. Why would I tell them to when they don't want to? We switched to the 2-2-1 press, and all of a sudden, they decided they didn't want to anymore.
With the loss, UC became the first team in this week's AP Top 5 to lose to a team not ranked among the Top 100 on the Ratings Percentage Index scale.
The three teams to claim the Bearcats as victims are No.22 (UNC Charlotte), No.59 (DePaul) and No.120 (Marquette).
UC senior guard Melvin Levett passed the 1,000-point career mark with his seven points against the Golden Eagles, becoming the 37th Bearcats player to reach that goal.
He is the eighth to do it under Huggins.
The UC Bearcats went to Marquette looking to defend one of their most honored recent traditions: retribution. Whoever is next up after a Bearcats loss is expected to pay for this misfortune.
Following the past 12 in-season losses from 1996-97 to now, the Bearcats won each time by an average margin of 27.4 points.
That held true after this season's only prior loss, when the Bearcats returned from UNC Charlotte to play Oklahoma at the Shoemaker Center less than two days later. UC won, 72-59.
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