Sunday, January 07, 2001

UC wins toughest team contest




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        UC enjoys beating Charlotte. No, check that. The Bearcats enjoy laying the 49ers out and open for inspection. It's not the Xavier game. What is? But it is a blood feud. Literally.

        Early in the second half Saturday, Charlotte forward KenKay Jones took UC center Donald Little's elbow in the nose and proceeded to bleed a river. Nothing like a little O-negative to get the rivalry roiling.

        Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz was incensed enough to offer a sarcastic scream at one ref — “An elbow in the head? I guess that's not a foul” — then gesture disgustedly to officials observer
Gerry Donaghy, seated courtside. That got Lutz slapped with his team's second technical foul of the half.

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Charlotte forward KenKay Jones is treated after taking Donald Little's elbow in the nose.
(Brandi Stafford photo)
| ZOOM |
        The first came when the ever-popular Diego Guevara elbowed UC's Steve Logan after Guevara was called for a charge.

        Logan returned the favor late in the game, bombing a three over Guevara from the right wing, then grabbing the 49ers guard by the waist and tossing him like a bale of hay. Payback's a stitch.

        “It's personal between me and him, always has been, ever since I was a freshman,” said Logan, the UC junior.

        Logan and Guevara spent lots of syllables questioning each other's heritages. We won't say they used bad language. We'll just say they made Richard Pryor seem like an amateur. If Logan were all the things Diego Guevara called him Saturday, Logan would be in jail for the rest of his life.

        Between the blood and the insults, there was a game to play. For UC, there was turf to defend. The Bearcats' 76-66 win was more than Guevara's farewell performance at Shoemaker Center.

        “A statement game, definitely,” said Logan.

        About the current Bearcats, who knew? They were coming off an insulting loss at Toledo. They were faced with the notion they weren't as tough as they used to be.

        The Bearcats had acres of turf to defend. Home turf: They hadn't lost a Conference USA home game in almost five years. National turf: They hadn't been out of the Top 25 in nearly three.

        And maybe most importantly, psychological turf: You don't want to ponder the consequences of self-doubt halfway through January, with the rest of the conference schedule still to play.

        How they responded says hopeful things. Charlotte came in as the highest-scoring team in the league, but UC held the 49ers to a season low in points. Defense is less know-how than want-to. It's a great way to judge a basketball team's desire. UC had no problem with defense Saturday.

        The Bearcats were resourceful enough to overcome Kenny Satterfield's foul trouble and deep enough to brush off another inconsequential game from center Donald Little. In 28 minutes, Little had one point and four rebounds.

        After some prodding in practice from Bob Huggins - “So many minutes, so few rebounds,” the coach was heard to say — power forward Jamaal Davis had a team-high eight boards. And when the Bearcats needed a basket to stop a Charlotte rally, Satterfield's three put them up 10 with 1:32 left.

        That it came against the hated 49ers made it that much sweeter. “They treat us real nasty when we go up to Charlotte,” Logan said. “Plus, this was a statement game. This is conference time. We're coming at 'em.”

        The Bearcats are back in burly business. For now.

       



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