Friday, December 17, 1999

UC 79, Saint Louis 64


Johnson goes 8-for-12 from field

BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[mickeal]
Pete Mickeal had 13 points, 10 rebounds.
(AP photos)
| ZOOM |
SET AS WALLPAPER:
Click here for bigger image, then right click to Set As Wallpaper
        ST. LOUIS — The first seven times DerMarr Johnson shot the basketball for UC, it found its way through the net. He wasn't keeping track. This was not about numbers, not about pursuit of perfection. It was about a feeling.

        This felt good. This felt like it used to feel, when Johnson was playing in high school at Maine Central Institute and in the McDonald's All-American game. Johnson was not forcing the shots he released.

        “It felt like I was playing well,” said Johnson, UC's freshman shooting guard. “I knew I was hitting my shots, and I hadn't done that much this year.”

        Johnson did not end with a flawless evening, but he came close enough. His 8-of-12 shooting produced a career-high 23 points and led No.1-ranked UC to a 79-64 victory over Saint Louis in the Conference USA opener for both teams Thursday night at the Kiel Center.

        “He'd been getting kind of down on himself,” UC forward Pete Mickeal said. “It was good to see him break out like that.”

[mickeal]
Mickeal held Justin Love to nine points - less than half his average.

| ZOOM |
SET AS WALLPAPER:
Click here for bigger image, then right click to Set As Wallpaper
        The Bearcats (8-0) insisted they focused entirely on winning against the Billikens (5-3) and ignored the pre-Skyline Chili Crosstown Shootout hype, and there was plenty of evidence in their performance.

        Center Kenyon Martin scored 19 points and grabbed 17 rebounds, a double-double combination that Mickeal called “crazy.” Martin pointed out he also had four assists.

        Mickeal had 13 points and 10 rebounds. The starting five that also included guard Steve Logan and forward Jermaine Tate shot 58.6 percent from the field. The Bearcats were pleased to outscore SLU in the second half by four, although they faded after doubling their 11-point halftime lead to 59-37 at the 10:33 mark.

        “We have young guys, and they have a tendency to stand around and watch,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “The hardest thing for young guys to do is to play every play with the same level of intensity. We know people will make shots, but you can't give as many open shots as we gave today.”

[huggins]
Bob Huggins reacts after getting a technical in the first half.

| ZOOM |
        Perhaps because of UC's reputation for blocked shots around the basket, perhaps because of their own limitations, the Billikens missed four point-blank shots — two of them dunks — as part of their 9-of-26 first-half shooting slump.

        UC took care of the most essential elements of its defensive game plan. Mickeal held Bills guard Justin Love to nine points, less than half his average, and coach Lorenzo Romar held him out of the game for most of the second half for not playing with intensity.

        “They're a good team, no doubt, but we just didn't capitalize on some situations,” Love said. “I wasn't aggressive. I was playing timid. I wasn't getting after it.”

        Point guards Steve Logan and Kenny Satterfield held Saint Louis freshman Marquee Perry, who entered averaging 9.9 points and 3.4 assists, to five points and no assists.

[fletcher]
Ryan Fletcher

| ZOOM |
        The Bearcats were determined to take advantage of the 7-inch size difference between Johnson and Love, throwing the ball inside on post-ups their first two possessions. Johnson scored each time on turnaround jumpers.

        He did not miss until 23:14 of the game passed, when he twisted through the lane for a scoop shot that caught the front of the rim. His reaction to imperfection? Johnson grabbed the rebound and layed it in for a 43-28 lead.

        “I haven't played against somebody 6-8 that's a wing,” said Love, who might have been more bothered to learn Johnson is actually an inch taller. “That was something new for me.”

        The Billikens denied passes to the UC wings and made it difficult for guards Logan and Satterfield to get the ball to Martin.

        Mickeal became vital to countering that tactic by dashing to the basket when the defense stretched toward the sideline. He scored 10 of his 13 points in the first half.

        Johnson, Satterfield and Mickeal also attacked the basket, using their speed and grace to create opportunities. And when the defense was preoccupied with those guys, Logan slipped down the lane for a couple of layups.

        With 2:40 left in the first half, Johnson sliced through the lane and snapped a dazzling, over-the-left-shoulder pass just before reaching the baseline. The pass found Martin for a dunk.

        “It's a whole lot more fun sitting over there,” said Huggins, asked what it's like to have Johnson in uniform. “We've got to keep working with him. He's got to play a little more aggressive with the basketball. There's so many things he can do.”

Bearcats oblivious to Shootout hype
Muskies can't beat Bearcats - can they?
Xavier may need more ram vs. UC
Crosstown Shootout Flashback


CINCINNATI (79)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Tate            19   2-3   2-4   1-2  1  4    6
Mickeal         31  5-10   2-4  2-10  1  2   13
Martin          34  7-11   5-8  4-17  4  2   19
Johnson         35  8-12   4-4   1-1  1  1   23
Logan           24   3-8   0-0   1-2  3  0    6
Satterfield     28   3-6   0-0   0-1  7  3    7
Stokes           2   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Fletcher        25   2-7   1-2   4-4  0  3    5
Grove            1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Little           1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 30-57 14-22 13-37 17 15   79
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.526, FT-.636. 3-Point Goals: 5-11, .455 (Mickeal 1-1, Martin 0-1, Johnson 3-5, Logan 0-1, Satterfield 1-2, Fletcher 0-1). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 2 (Mickeal, Martin). Turnovers: 15 (Johnson 3, Satterfield 3, Tate 3, Logan 2, Mickeal 2, Fletcher, Martin). Steals: 8 (Johnson 2, Satterfield 2, Tate 2, Logan, Martin).

ST LOUIS (64) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Baniak 18 1-5 0-0 0-1 1 4 2 Jeffers 30 5-9 0-0 1-3 7 3 12 Heinrich 28 1-5 2-2 2-3 1 2 4 Love 24 3-10 2-4 1-3 1 1 9 Perry 31 1-3 3-5 0-3 0 0 5 Fergerson 13 2-2 0-0 0-1 0 3 4 Robertson 22 4-5 0-1 0-0 3 1 10 Latimer 4 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0 Tatum 30 7-11 4-4 1-4 2 4 18 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 24-50 11-16 5-19 15 18 64 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.480, FT-.688. 3-Point Goals: 5-10, .500 (Baniak 0-1, Jeffers 2-3, Love 1-3, Robertson 2-3). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: 6 (Tatum 2, Baniak, Heinrich, Love, Robertson). Turnovers: 16 (Jeffers 4, Robertson 4, Fergerson 2, Love 2, Perry 2, Tatum 2). Steals: 7 (Robertson 3, Jeffers 2, Fergerson, Heinrich). __________________________________ Cincinnati 37 42 - 79 St Louis 26 38 - 64 __________________________________ Technical fouls: Cincinnati 1 (Bench). A: 15,103. Officials: Scott Thornley, Ted Hillary, Tom Rucker.