Saturday, March 17, 2001
UC reaches Sweet 16
Bearcats beat jinx, rout Kent St. 66-43
By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer
SAN DIEGO, Calif. Over the past five months, their own coach has labeled them as young, inexperienced, inconsistent, physically weak and, at times, lacking toughness. They have been banned from their locker room and stripped of their practice gear. They were booed in their home arena.
Bob Huggins embraces Steve Logan.
(Ernest Coleman photo)
Yet this University of Cincinnati team is headed to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament, ending a drought of four straight second-round exits.
The Bearcats, seeded fifth in the West Region, advanced with a convincing 66-43 victory over 13th seed Kent State on Saturday before 10,149 fans at Cox Arena on the campus of San Diego State University.
I'm really happy for the guys, 12th-year coach Bob Huggins said. They struggled some early (in the season) and took some criticism, probably rightfully so. And they responded.
They've come a long way. These guys just keep getting better. They get better almost every time out.
This will be UC's fourth Sweet 16 appearance under Huggins the first since 1996 and the ninth overall since the tournament field expanded to more than 16 teams.
Logan and teammates cheer in the final moments.
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As the team left the court, the UC band starting singing, M-I-C-K-E-Y ... Why? Because UC is going to Disneyland.
The Bearcats (25-9), who have won eight of their past nine, will play Thursday in Anaheim, Calif., against top-seeded Stanford.
It's kind of hard to believe, but I always had a special feeling that we could make a run, junior guard Steve Logan said.
When you're the underdog, people tend to look over you and that motivates you. When you're on top, you tend to get a little relaxed; there's nothing for you to achieve. When guys are knocking you and the city's knocking you, you want to go out and show people what you can do.
We believed in each other in this locker room. Just listen to these guys. There's a lot of fun in here now.
UC won Saturday with one reliable trait (defense) and by overcoming one Achilles' heel (rebounding).
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It dominated the boards more than in any game this season (42-21) and held Kent State guards Trevor Huffman and Andrew Mitchell to a combined 16 points 13.3 below their collective average on 5-of-23 shooting. The Golden Flashes (24-10) shot just 26.9 percent from the field a season-low for UC opponents.
Cincinnati jumped out to a 6-0 lead and never trailed.
It was a curse, they said, you can't get past the second round, Logan said. That's the worst thing I ever heard in my life. You hear something so much, you're just sick of it.
We played bad in the past, but we came together, junior Immanuel McElroy said. We're playing together. We're playing aggressive. We're not taking anything for granted. We came here to win two, but we also want to win the whole thing.
Huggins sent this message to his players early: Rebound and play hard, or you're coming out.
On Kent's first possession, it grabbed an offensive rebound.
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Immediately, Huggins yelled for Donald Little to get in the game for B.J. Grove. Leonard Stokes was on the floor for 33 seconds before Huggins thought he was outhustled on a UC turnover, so he pulled Stokes out.
The Bearcats led 30-22 at halftime. They built their advantage to 15 points 5:15 into the second half.
We've come a long way, Logan said. To be able to come out in the second half with the same intensity as the first half ...
To try and slow down Huffman, UC was running a second defender at him, especially throughout the first half. That was forcing him to give up the ball quickly, which is what the Bearcats wanted.
His only first-half field goal was a 3-pointer that looked forced. He finished 2-of-11 from the field with just seven points, only his fourth single-digit scoring effort of the season.
They just shut us down in all aspects, Huffman said.
I don't think he was looking to score that much, said UC's Kenny Satterfield, who defended Huffman.
When Logan came out for good with 46.7 seconds left, he embraced Huggins and started slapping hands of teammates and coaches, shouting Sweet 16, Sweet Sweet.
Logan said Huggins told him: You deserve to be in the Sweet 16. Just keep playing hard.
Logan responded: I appreciate you, man. Way to coach.
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Online pool and college hoops coverage at Cincinnati.com
KENT STATE (43)
fg ft rb
min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp
Shaw 33 4-8 3-7 3-5 0 0 12
Massey 27 2-8 0-0 0-1 0 1 4
Perry 25 0-4 0-0 2-3 0 3 0
Mitchell 31 3-12 3-4 2-2 1 2 9
Huffman 37 2-11 2-2 0-2 3 0 7
Haut 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Thomas 22 1-3 4-4 0-0 0 0 7
Bedford 2 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Warren 15 2-5 0-0 2-4 0 5 4
Edwards 6 0-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
TOTALS 200 14-52 12-17 9-17 4 11 43
Percentages: FG-.269, FT-.706. 3-Point Goals:
3-10, .300 (Shaw 1-1, Massey 0-1, Perry 0-1,
Mitchell 0-2, Huffman 1-3, Thomas 1-2). Team
rebounds: 4. Blocked shots: 2 (Mitchell,
Edwards). Turnovers: 9 (Huffman 4, Mitchell 2,
Warren 2, Thomas). Steals: 12 (Shaw 5, Mitchell
4, Huffman, Massey, Perry).
fg ft rb
min m-a m-a o-t a pf tp
Davis 30 8-9 0-0 6-10 0 2 16
Mcelroy 29 1-2 0-0 1-5 1 2 2
Grove 16 3-3 0-0 1-5 0 2 6
Satterfield 35 5-15 0-1 0-4 7 3 10
Logan 34 5-12 1-1 1-6 3 2 13
Williams 1 1-1 0-0 0-0 0 0 3
Jones 5 1-2 0-0 0-1 0 0 2
Stokes 21 4-6 0-0 0-1 0 2 8
Flowers 1 0-0 0-0 0-1 0 0 0
Crawford 1 0-0 0-0 0-0 0 0 0
Little 27 1-3 4-5 2-6 1 3 6
TOTALS 200 29-53 5-7 11-39 12 16 66
Percentages: FG-.547, FT-.714. 3-Point Goals:
3-10, .300 (Mcelroy 0-1, Satterfield 0-3, Logan
2-4, Williams 1-1, Stokes 0-1). Team rebounds: 3.
Blocked shots: 6 (Little 3, Grove, Stokes,
Davis). Turnovers: 17 (Satterfield 5, Davis 4,
Logan 3, Grove, Little, Mcelroy, Stokes). Steals:
4 (Satterfield 2, Little, Stokes).
Kent State 22 21 - 43
Cincinnati 30 36 - 66
Technical fouls: None. A: 10,149. Officials: Jim
Burr, Joe Demayo, John Cahill.
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