Sunday, February 11, 2001

UC 64, Southern Mississippi 52

Bearcats play strong defense

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Antwan Jones gets run over by USM's David Wall.
(AP photos)
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        HATTIESBURG, Miss. - Southern Mississippi has been accustomed to being the defensive force in games, setting the tempo, forcing opponents to abandon gameplans. Not Saturday.

        The University of Cincinnati set the tone with its own swarming defense, building a first-half lead that reached 19.

        The Bearcats went on to win 64-52, holding the Golden Eagles to their second-lowest point total of the season.

        It really wasn't close. UC was ahead by 23 with 4:48 left before Southern Miss hit three meaningless 3-pointers in the final three minutes.

        “This win starts our season and making a run for the (NCAA) tournament,” UC junior Jamaal Davis said. “Our first goal right now is to win the conference, then get to the NCAA and make a great run. We're mentally tougher than we were. I think guys are maturing. It's just all coming together now.”

B.J. Grove rebounds.
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        UC (16-7) is 6-4 in Conference USA and trails first-place Marquette by a half-game in the American Division. Marquette plays host to Saint Louis today.

        Southern Mississippi (16-7) drops to 6-5 in the league — third place in the National Division — after losing for the fourth time in five games.

        Steve Logan led the Bearcats in scoring for the ninth straight game with 19 points, including nine of the team's first 11. Kenny Satterfield added 16 points.

        While those two combined for more than half of UC's scoring, defense is what won the game.

        The Golden Eagles' top three scorers were all held to single digits. David Wall, Vandarel Jones and Elvin Mims came in averaging a combined 37.6 points, but totaled 22 points on 8-of-18 shooting. Most notable was Jones, the senior center who came in averaging 13.5 points in conference games but managed just six against the Bearcats.

        “We (made) jokes about how he's built like a linebacker or something, he's so big,” said UC center B.J. Grove, who had seven rebounds. “A couple times I heard his coaches say, "Throw him the ball inside,' and they weren't even looking for him. That made me feel kind of good, like we were doing a good job out there.”

        Said UC center Donald Little: “He was having a hard time scoring over us. He couldn't post up. He couldn't get going. You could tell he was getting frustrated. He was trying to play a little physical, trying to push around.”

        UC's interior defense was exceptional. The big men double-teamed Jones and made him get rid of the ball when he did catch it, and they did a nice job of stepping in to stop the USM guards from getting to the basket.

        “(They) took us out of our stuff, what we try to do,” Jones said. “Deny passes, deny penetration, just make everything tough ... Nobody was focused, that was our problem. Lack of focus.”

        The Bearcats beat USM for the eighth consecutive time and are 21-0 against National Division teams since 1997-98. UC also is 41-4 under coach Bob Huggins with at least six days off before a regular-season game.

        Cincinnati used a 13-1 run to go ahead 26-10 with 6:11 left in the first half. Southern Miss went seven minutes without a field goal and had just three baskets in the final 12 minutes of the half. Worse for the Golden Eagles, they went just 5-of-15 from the foul line in the first 20 minutes.

        Wall, Jones and Mims were a combined 1-of-7 from the field with three points at intermission.

        “I think we were really ready to play,” Huggins said. “We've gotten better defensively. I think they're doing a better job of paying attention to scouting reports.

        “... I think they're starting to understand that's how we can win. We're hard to score against. We're young, and that takes some time. We've had very few guys that came in that had as much pride in guarding people as what they left having.”

UC's Davis sprains ankle

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Davis           27   2-3   0-0   1-6  2  1    4
Mcelroy         25   3-5   1-1   0-1  1  1    7
Grove           23   2-4   0-0   1-7  0  3    4
Satterfield     39  6-12   1-2   1-5  2  1   16
Logan           29  6-13   5-6   0-2  2  2   19
Williams         2   0-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Jones           17   1-3   0-0   0-3  0  0    2
Stokes          25  3-11   1-2   2-3  2  2    7
Flowers          1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Little          12   2-3   1-2   0-1  0  5    5
TOTALS         200 25-55  9-13  5-28  9 16   64

Percentages: FG-.455, FT-.692. 3-Point Goals:
5-15, .333 (Satterfield 3-6, Logan 2-4, Williams
0-1, Jones 0-1, Stokes 0-3). Team rebounds: 4.
Blocked shots: 4 (Davis 2, Grove, Little).
Turnovers: 8 (Davis 2, Flowers, Grove, Jones,
Logan, Satterfield, Stokes). Steals: 3 (Logan,
Mcelroy, Satterfield).

                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Myles           25   1-3   0-0   2-3  0  2    2
Thompson        33  6-10   0-1   2-6  1  1   15
Jones           22   3-5   0-2   4-8  0  2    6
Cauthen         12   0-3   1-2   0-2  1  2    1
Wall            28   2-7   1-2   0-1  0  3    7
Meneses          5   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Richardson      31   1-7   2-5   1-3  6  1    4
Gill             5   1-2   0-0   0-2  0  0    3
Henderson        1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Carter           7   1-2   0-1   0-1  0  2    2
Mims            22   3-6   2-4   0-5  0  0    9
Duncan           9   1-3   1-1   1-4  0  1    3
TOTALS         200 19-48  7-18 10-35  8 14   52

Percentages: FG-.396, FT-.389. 3-Point Goals:
7-18, .389 (Thompson 3-5, Wall 2-6, Richardson
0-2, Gill 1-1, Carter 0-1, Mims 1-3). Team
rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 6 (Jones 3, Mims 2,
Wall). Turnovers: 18 (Myles 5, Wall 4, Duncan 2,
Carter, Gill, Jones, Richardson, Thompson).
Steals: 6 (Duncan 2, Jones, Myles, Thompson,
Cincinnati         34   30  -   64
Southern Miss      21   31  -   52
Technical fouls: None.  A: 4,835. Officials:
Frank Bosone, Eddie Jackson, Steven Pyatt.

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- UC 64, Southern Mississippi 52
UC's Davis sprains ankle

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