Saturday, March 18, 2000
Johnson becomes shot-blocker
BY MIKE DeCOURCY
The Cincinnati Enquirer
NASHVILLE, Tenn. DerMarr Johnson blocked a career-high four shots Friday in the Bearcats' 64-47 victory over UNC Wilmington in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament.
DerMarr Johnson had four blocks and 13 points.
| ZOOM |
Maybe there just weren't enough shots available to block when Kenyon Martin was healthy.
I knew I had to go out and take some shots, Johnson said. They weren't falling, so I had to do other things.
In addition to his blocks, Johnson grabbed seven rebounds, six at the defensive end. He scored 13 points but shot just 1-of-8 from 3-point range.
He said he was trying to rebound and block shots because he couldn't make a shot, coach Bob Huggins said. I wish he'd do both.
Johnson's most remarkable block came with 3:08 left in the first half. UNCW's Brett Blizzard picked up a steal and thought he was clear for a layup, but Johnson sneaked up from behind and took that score away.
Donald Little had seven rebounds in 11 minutes.
| ZOOM |
What was more amazing than the fact Johnson blocked the shot, though, was that he executed the block so that a Seahawks player trailing the play would not be able to grab the ball and score.
Johnson acknowledged Martin afterward.
That was for him, Johnson said. Those are things he brings to the team, and we've got to make up some of that.
It has not been easy to get yourself fouled in this tournament, which made Pete Mickeal's double-figure effort in free throws attempted all the more impressive.
In the first 20 games of this tournament, only five players managed to attempt 10 or more free throws. Mickeal, who scored 15 points, was 6-of-10 at the line.
On the alert
Ryan Fletcher grapples for loose ball.
| ZOOM |
The evidence of how capable a coach UC defeated Friday was there for everyone to see in the first half, when B.J. Grove entered the game for the Bearcats.
Grove is a skilled low-post scorer but still is learning the game, so UC rarely sends him in without the intention of immediately getting him the ball on the blocks. Huggins ran a high-low play for Grove on which Mickeal entered the ball into the post. UNCW's Jerry Wainwright obviously had Grove well-scouted.
His players immediately double-teamed Grove and forced him to give up the ball. Grove finished 0-for-3.
UC's players wore T-shirts that were printed for them that simply said, Go Cats on the front but on the back contained a message honoring Martin, who wore No.4 as a Bearcat:
This Tourney's 4 You!
Not everyone noticed what the shirts were about.
Oh yeah? I didn't even look at that, Johnson said. I like that.
By the numbers
In Huggins' nine NCAA appearances, the Bearcats were eliminated in the first round just once, by Wisconsin in 1994. His NCAA Tournament record as coach is 15-9.
The .288 field goal percentage by UNCW was the second-poorest of the season against UC, bettering only the .286 shot by UNC Charlotte in the Bearcats' Feb.3 victory.
Tournament game coverage at Cincinnati.com/madness
Join the discussion in our College Sports forum
Xavier women collapse in NCAA
Austin too quick for Musketeers
Women's NCAA Tournament: Friday's scores
Women's NCAA Tournament: Today's games
Women's NCAA Tournament: Sunday's Games
Reds Game Report
Reds wrestle with Reyes' role
Starters' struggles cause for alarm?
Controversial week for Knight ends with exit
Pepperdine 77, Indiana 57
UK underdog against Syracuse
Saul draws tough task vs. Hart
Ohio State 87, Appalachian State 61
Penn's shot is getting hot at right time
Reese gives Buckeyes big assists
Men's NCAA Tournament: Friday's scores
Men's NCAA Tournament: Today's games
Men's NCAA Tournament: Sunday's games
Badin has another title in its sight
Badin fans optimistic
Mason gets third chance at state title
Ohio Girls Final Four
Purcell to meet its match
St. X plays for regional title
Ohio Boys Regional Tournaments
Kentucky Boys State Tournament Schedule
Brossart loses Sweet 16 quarterfinal
Cyclones 2, Grand Rapids 0
Worchester 4, Mighty Ducks 2