Thursday, March 09, 2000

UC's Martin breaks leg, season over


Title hopes dashed, Bearcats lose C-USA opener

BY TERESA M. WALKER
AP Sports Writer

[martin]
Kenyon Martin (4) gets tangled up with Saint Louis' Justin Love.
(TV image from WXIX)
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[martin]
Martin's right leg buckles as he falls.
(TV image from WXIX)
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[martin]
A gloomy Martin, with leg in cast, sits on the bench after treatment.
(AP photo)
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        MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The UC Bearcats' NCAA title hopes were dashed today when star center Kenyon Martin broke his right leg less than three minutes into a first-round game in the Conference USA Tournament. The No. 1 Bearcats lost Martin for the rest of the season and lost the game to Saint Louis, 68-58.

        Martin, leading candidate for national player of the year honors, was setting a pick when he got tangled up with Justin Love of Saint Louis. Martin's ankle turned underneath him as he fell.

        “I didn't have any control over it,” Martin said quietly after the game.

        Sitting in a wheelchair with his foot in a cast, Martin said he told Dr. Angelo Colosimo that his leg was broken as soon as the doctor came onto the floor.

        Martin was taken by ambulance to a nearby orthopedic clinic for treatment. He will undergo surgery in Cincinnati today.

        Colosimo said Martin should recover fully and the injury won't threaten his pro career. Colosimo said he will insert a screw into Martin's ankle, and that he should be able to starting running in eight weeks.

        But Martin's injury appears to doom UC's title hopes. The Bearcats probably won't get the No. 1 seed they had expected when the field is announced Sunday.

        “This was their chance,” coach Bob Huggins said. “You just have very few chances I think in life to be special, and we've gone through a lot.”

[martin]
Martin rests his leg while talking with reporters.
(AP photo)
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        Huggins said his Bearcats will regroup, and other players will have to work to replace Martin.

        “We're going to have to change some things certainly, and probably the first thing that's got to change is we actually got to try to make a shot once in a while,” Huggins said, referring to UC's 38% shooting Thursday.

        “When everyone out there is running around in the wrong spot, he always put them in the right spot. We're going to miss that. I don't want to say more than we miss him playing because he's a great, great player. But we'll miss just his leadership from the standpoint of getting those other guys wherever they're supposed to be.”

        “One person isn't going to be able to be Kenyon Martin," senior Ryan Fletcher. "But together we can all contribute what he brought to us,” Fletcher said.

        Martin thinks the Bearcats still have a chance at winning a national title. He plans to be with them every step even if he has to pay his own way.

        “I've been here since day one. I just can't suit up. I can't get on the court,” he said. “I can still get a ring. I can still get a banner. I just can't play.”

        Martin returned to The Pyramid midway through the second half with his teammates trailing and drew a standing ovation. But his presence wasn't enough to boost UC, which collapsed into its earliest exit ever in a tournament the Bearcats have dominated over the years.

        The senior watched from the bench as Love scored 25 points in leading ninth-seeded Saint Louis to the upset victory.

        Cincinnati (28-3) still had a chance to put away a team it routed twice in the regular season. But Saint Louis (17-13) outshot and outrebounded the Bearcats, who had trouble even finding the basket for much of the second half.

[tate]
Jermaine Tate can't bear to watch the end of the game.
(AP photo)
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        Cincinnati led 40-36 with 16:05 left on a jumper by Pete Mickeal, but John Redden put Saint Louis ahead to stay with a 15-foot jumper that made it 48-47 with 12:35 remaining.

        The Bearcats then went cold and didn't hit a shot from the floor for a nearly 10-minute stretch until Mickeal's basket with 1:16 remaining. Cincinnati could have taken the lead but went 6-of-13 at the free throw line in that time.

        Saint Louis didn't miss and hit 10-of-12 free throws in the final 2:44.

        Kenny Satterfield led Cincinnati with 16 points, Mickeal finished with 13 and Ryan Fletcher added 11.

        Martin led the league in scoring and rebounds with 19.5 points a game and 10 rebounds a game. He had the top field goal percentage (57 percent) and blocked shots (3.57). He is the career blocked shots leader for both Cincinnati and Conference USA with 292, and he set the single-season mark with 107 this year.

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ST LOUIS (68)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Baniak          17   3-3   0-0   0-0  3  2    6
Jeffers         30   3-8   1-2   2-5  1  4    7
Heinrich        26   2-4   3-4   1-4  0  4    7
Love            35  8-15   6-8   1-7  4  3   25
Fergerson       21   2-6   0-0   1-1  2  2    5
Robertson       10   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  3    0
Redden          24   2-4   3-4   1-3  4  1    7
Latimer          3   0-1   0-2   0-0  0  0    0
Tatum           23   1-3   5-8   1-6  1  0    7
Braun           11   1-2   2-2   3-7  0  2    4
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 22-46 20-30 10-34 15 21   68
_______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.478, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals: 4-13, .308 (Jeffers 0-1, Heinrich 0-1, Love 3-7, Fergerson 1-4). Team rebounds: 2. Blocked shots: None. Turnovers: 12 (Jeffers 4, Love 3, Heinrich 2, Braun, Redden, Tatum). Steals: 5 (Tatum 4, Jeffers).

CINCINNATI (58) fg ft rb min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp Mickeal 38 4-11 5-8 2-5 0 3 13 Tate 30 2-3 2-4 2-5 1 3 6 Martin 3 0-2 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Johnson 23 2-8 1-1 2-4 2 4 6 Satterfield 37 5-11 3-6 0-2 2 5 16 Stokes 1 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0 Logan 23 1-5 0-0 0-1 3 1 2 Fletcher 30 5-10 0-0 4-9 1 2 11 Grove 2 0-0 0-2 0-0 0 0 0 Little 13 2-3 0-0 3-4 0 3 4 _______________________________________________ TOTALS 200 21-54 11-21 13-30 9 21 58 _______________________________________________

Percentages: FG-.389, FT-.524. 3-Point Goals: 5-11, .455 (Mickeal 0-2, Johnson 1-3, Satterfield 3-4, Logan 0-1, Fletcher 1-1). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 3 (Satterfield, Johnson, Little). Turnovers: 12 (Satterfield 6, Fletcher 2, Johnson 2, Little, Mickeal). Steals: 6 (Mickeal 2, Satterfield 2, Johnson, Tate). __________________________________ St Louis 30 38 - 68 Cincinnati 28 30 - 58 __________________________________ Technical fouls: None. Officials: Steve Welmer, Kerry Sitton, Steven Pyatt.



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