Wednesday, November 21, 2001

Logan will need some help




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        For a moment there, Wright State forgot its place. The visitors did not seem to understand they were the designated victims, the basketball opposition selected so as not to spoil Bob Huggins' home opener.

        The Raiders were overmatched, and then they weren't. Cincinnati led 16-2. Then the Bearcats looked up and their lead was four.

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Steve Logan
(Ernest Coleman photo)
| ZOOM |
        Suspense was not in the script. The Bearcats had won 35 straight home openers, and they couldn't have anticipated any trouble when they showed up at Shoemaker Center Tuesday night.

        So before an 18-8 Wright State run could ignite a panic, Steve Logan seized control.

        He drove for the basket, did this fireplug with feet, and he beat his man off the
dribble with that swift first step that belies his body type. He stopped short of the goal, pausing in the lane long enough to launch a pillow-soft jump shot. Swish.

        Then, after missing a shot on his next trip down the floor, Logan stole the ball at the baseline and banked it in to begin a three-point play.

A dependable leader

        The four-point lead was now nine. The anxiety level had been lowered. UC's little big man had taken it upon himself to grab the game by the throat and tell it who was boss.

        “You ask Coach — “When is it right for me to go?' ” Logan said. “That's one of those times when it's time for me to go.”

        Logan is UC's constant. Everyone else is a variable.

        When the Bearcats were finished with Wright State Tuesday, the score was 83-54 with no sign of a struggle. UC won so handily that Huggins was able to gratify the crowd's pleasure for walk-on John Meeker. He was able to rest Logan without regretting it. He was able to scan the box score and see some semblance of balance.

        The Bearcats will go only as far as Logan can lead them, but their chances of a meaningful March will depend largely on how much help Logan gets. Will he have to strap the team to his back, or will someone else emerge to share the burden? With Kenny Satterfield gone, is there anyone left suited to riding shotgun?

        At Oklahoma State, the answer was no. Logan scored 31 points in Stillwater, and Leonard Stokes was UC's second-leading scorer with 12. No other Bearcat hit double figures. Only five Bearcats sank a shot.

Seeking supporting castp>         “We just can't depend on (Logan) to come out and go nuts,” Stokes said Tuesday. “We're not going to win that way.”

        To that end, Stokes asserted himself Tuesday night with 16 points in 25 minutes. He scored both in transition and in the halfcourt. Immanuel McElroy and Jimmy Hubbard scored 10 apiece. Logan was still the star — 21 points, six assists, five rebounds — but he was no longer a solo act. Suddenly, he had sidekicks.

        “We need everybody to step up to be a contender,” Logan said. “I need those guys to make shots.”

        Logan reminded Stokes before Tuesday's game of the importance of his contributions. It has become almost a daily ritual. Without a significant secondary threat, Logan is looking at a season of double teams and mounting fatigue.

        Huggins said if he can't get Logan some rest, his point guard might be prone to take some breathers on defense. He meant it as a joke. He frets that it could be the fact.

        E-mail tsullivan@enquirer.com. Past columns at Enquirer.com/columns/sullivan.


       



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- SULLIVAN: Logan will need some help
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