Thursday, March 22, 2001

UC needs answer to twin towers


Cardinal brothers stand tall between Bearcats and Elite 8 berth

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        ANAHEIM, Calif. — B.J. Grove, the University of Cincinnati's sophomore center, got his first glimpse of the Collins twins live and in person during Stanford's victory over St.Joseph's on Saturday night.

        “I didn't know they were that big,” Grove said. “They're some big, wide dudes.”

        And they are right in Cincinnati's way.

UC vs. STANFORD
  • What: NCAA Tournament West Regional semifinals.
  • When: Approximately 10:15 p.m. today.
  • Where: Arrowhead Pond of Anaheim (17,533), Anaheim, Calif.
  • Records: Stanford (30-2), UC (25-9).
  • TV: Chs.12, 7.
  • Radio: WLW-AM (700).
  STANFORD
  Player-Ht-Yr-Avg
  Ryan Mendez-6-7-Sr.-11.0
  Jarron Collins-6-11-Sr.-12.9
  Jason Collins-7-0-Jr.-14.6
  Michael McDonald-6-1-Sr.-8.1
  Casey Jacobsen-6-6-So.-18.0
  Coach: Mike Montgomery (318-145, 15th season; 472-222 overall)
  CINCINNATI
  Player-Ht-Yr-Avg
  Immanuel McElroy-6-4-Jr.-7.0
Jamaal Davis-6-9-Jr.-6.7
  B.J. Grove-6-11-So-4.1
  Steve Logan-6-0-Jr.-17.8
Kenny Satterfield-6-2-So-14.1
  Coach: Bob Huggins (301-95, 12th season; 469-167 overall)
  BY THE NUMBERS
  • 18-15: UC's all-time record vs. Pac-10 teams.
  • 53.8: UC's field goal percentage in its two NCAA games.
  • 33.7: UC opponents' field goal percentage in two NCAA games.
        Jason and Jarron Collins, the starting center and power forward for the top-seeded and No.2-ranked Cardinal, provide the fifth-seeded Bearcats with their biggest frontline challenge this season when the teams meet tonight in the NCAA Tournament's West Regional semifinals at the Arrowhead Pond.

        The winner plays Saturday against the Georgetown-Maryland winner.

        Jason Collins is a 7-foot, 260-pound junior considered the more aggressive of the brothers. Jarron, eight minutes younger, is a 6-11, 255-pound senior who is more laid-back.

        Together they average 27.5 points and 14.8 rebounds a game. Each has attempted more free throws than any Bearcat.

        “It looks like the way people have been guarding them, they just let them catch the ball wherever,” Grove said. “(It) looks like they haven't been guarded right.

        “They're a lot bigger than anybody I've seen this year. (Our) big men, we

        have to come to play every game for us to have a chance; that's been stated the whole year.”

        Cincinnati's big men have been playing well in the tournament. In two games, Grove, Donald Little and Jamaal Davis have combined to average 23 points and 16 rebounds while shooting .720 from the field. For the season, the three average 16.8 points and 13.8 rebounds and shoot .514.

        None has fouled out, either, and that's important tonight. UC must stay out of foul trouble.

        Stanford (30-2) is the best team UC (25-9) will have faced all season.

        The Cardinal shoot .511 from the field, outrebound opponents by 7.7 a game and average only 12.7 turnovers. They have shot 328 more free throws than their opponents. They play together; they pass the ball well; they play smart.

        “We're going to try to do some things maybe just to try to keep them off balance,” Huggins said. “It's a one-game deal; it's not seven. If it was seven, I don't think we could win. It's a one-game shot. Who knows? We've done some things lately that certainly ought to give us a chance.”

        There is not a matchup on the floor the Bearcats can take lightly.

        UC has done a pretty good job in past games against opposing big men, but even if it does that against the Collins brothers, there is Casey Jacobsen to contend with.

        The 6-6 sophomore is a first-team All-American and a threat to score as soon as he crosses the halfcourt line. He could hurt UC more than the big men.

        “He can shoot the ball deep,” said UC's Immanuel McElroy, who compares Jacobsen to Marquette's Brian Wardle, but surrounded by more talent. “He can drive. He can do a lot of stuff.”

        Stanford was the sixth-highest scoring team in the nation entering the tournament. It was also first in field goal percentage and second in 3-point percentage.

        Point guard Michael McDonald shoots .515 from behind the 3-point line. Small forward Ryan Mendez has missed five foul shots all season and leads the nation in free throw shooting.

        The Bearcats would prefer to score in transition as often as possible, then play solid halfcourt defense.

        “From watching the game against St. Joe's ... it seemed like if we spread them out, we can get to the basket, just try to get their big guys out of the paint,” UC point guard Kenny Satterfield said. “This is a Sweet 16 game, so you've got to play with heart and you've also got to execute.”

        “I think what we mainly need to do is come out and keep (the Collins twins) as far away from the basket as possible,” Davis said. “And we've got to beat them up and down the floor. We've just got to go out and try to out-tough them. It's going to be hard for those guys to guard us, as well as for us to guard them. I think the rebounding battle will decide the game.”

        Stanford players say they are hungry. They know this may be their best opportunity to get to the Final Four and contend for a national championship.

        Cincinnati has taken notice that nobody mentions the possibility it could beat Stanford. The Bearcats say they hope to shock the so-called experts,

        “We're not settling for just the (Sweet) 16,” junior guard Steve Logan said. “This team is trying to go to the last game.”
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Girls basketball coverage
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Ohio boys state pairings
Sophomore named Ohio Mr. Basketball
Boys Division IV all-Ohio basketball team
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Kentucky Sweet Sixteen roundup
Kentucky girls Sweet Sixteen


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• Radio: WLW-AM 700

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