Sunday, February 04, 2001

Logan makes UC go




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        Steve Logan drives to the basket like a resolute rhinoceros. There's nothing pretty about it, nothing sleek, nothing fancy. And, more often than not, nothing stoppable.

        The University of Cincinnati's squat junior guard plays a brand of basketball that belies his bulk. He's a 3-point shooter who also can produce off the dribble, in traffic or in isolation. When the Bearcats have needed a basket lately, they have started clearing a side to let Logan work one-on-one.

        “We put that (play) in a couple of games ago,” UC coach Bob Huggins said Saturday. “We needed someone who can score and get to the (free throw) line.”

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Steve Logan pumps his fist after hitting a 3.
(Jeff Swinger photos)
| ZOOM |
        Logan scored 22 points in Saturday's 91-70 conquest of
DePaul, and he did it without much help from his trusty jump shot. He missed five of his six shots from 3-point range but compensated for his poor aim with decisive moves to the basket. He made five free throws against the Blue Demons, four second-half layups and a powerful statement about deceiving looks.
        “When I first came here, I looked at him and said: "He's little. You could handle him,'” UC sophomore Leonard Stokes said. “But he uses his body real well and he plays smart. ... He'll give you a ball fake and take a dribble and get his own shot or create one for someone else. He's not one-dimensional.”

        Logan is listed at 6-foot, 196 pounds, but his build suggests he came out of a trash compactor. His game, he says, is “not from talent, but from hard work.” That Huggins is now designing plays for such a player speaks to Logan's resourcefulness and the scarcity of suitable alternatives. For most of the Bearcats' uneven season, Kenny Satterfield had the ball when it mattered most. Now, it is Logan's turn. More than ever, it is Logan's team.

        “I'm being more aggressive on offense,” he said. “I'm attacking the goal more instead of waiting for the 3-point shot. Coach needs me to go out and make plays, regardless of whether it's passing, scoring or defending.”

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Logan pump fakes DePaul's Joe Tulley into the air.
| ZOOM |
        Since UC's offense bottomed-out in a 47-44 loss at Marquette on Jan.10, Logan has been the Bearcats' leading scorer in eight straight games. At first, the strategy was to expand Logan's ball-handling responsibilities as a means of reducing the burden on Satterfield. But when Satterfield repeatedly failed to finish drives in critical situations, the Bearcats began turning their lonely eyes to Logan for other things.

        “I think he's kind of grown into the role we looked for him to do to start out (the season),” Huggins said. “He's our only experienced guy. He's the only guy who's been to a lot of the places we've got to go play. But I don't think he understood (early in the season) what we needed him to do.”
        Logan and Satterfield played narrower roles last season, but Kenyon Martin's absence means someone must develop more presence. Instead of pounding the ball inside to an overpowering post player, these Bearcats must rely on a less predictable perimeter game.

        Saturday's game underscored how precarious that kind of basketball can be. Though their margin of victory bespoke dominance, the Bearcats had only two rebounds in the game's first 11 minutes. They survived on their 3-point shooting until Logan reminded them there were points to be made through penetration.

        “I'm penetrating better right now, getting people involved,” Logan said. “I'm just trying to make things happen.”

        More often than not, he succeeds.

        E-mail: tsullivan@enquirer.com.
       

       



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