Monday, December 10, 2001

Last loss to Toledo still stings Bearcats

Defeat dropped UC from Top 25

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Some of the University of Cincinnati players will have revenge on their minds tonight when the Bearcats play host to Toledo.

        That's because the Rockets upset UC last December in the Gatorade Rock-N-Roll Shootout, ending the Bearcats' five-game winning streak in that event.

  Player -Ht -Yr -PPG
  Immanuel McElroy -6-4 -Sr -7.5
  Jamaal Davis -6-8 -Sr -6.4
  Donald Little -6-11 -Jr -9.0
  Leonard Stokes -6-6 -Jr -13.3
  Steve Logan -6-0 -Sr -20.5
  Coach: Bob Huggins (306-97, 13th year; 474-169, 21st overall)
  Player -Ht -Yr -PPG
  Kareem Milson -6-7 -Fr -8.5
  A.J. Shellabarger -6-9 -So -4.7
  Terry Reynolds -5-9 -So -11.7
  Nick Moore -6-1 -Jr -12.2
  Keith Triplett -6-3 -So -9.7
  Coach: Coach: Stan Joplin (90-62, sixth year; same overall)
        When Cincinnati dropped out of the Top 25 on Jan.8, coach Bob Huggins said it was because of the Toledo loss. The Bearcats have not been ranked since.

        But there are not many Toledo players around from that game.

        “I don't care who the players are,” UC senior Steve Logan said. “This is the same team. I didn't care who they were last year, and they beat us.

        “I really can't wait. This is personal. This is important. They think they can actually come in here and get a win, and we've got to come with the same intensity.”

        Said senior Jamaal Davis: “There doesn't need to be any talking about it. Everybody knows what we've got to do.”

        The Rockets lost four seniors, including three-time first-team All-Mid-American Conference selection Greg Stempin, the school's No.3 all-time scorer.

        The only senior on Toledo's roster is Garwin Patterson, a former walk-on given a scholarship by coach Stan Joplin.

        “We're young,” Joplin said Sunday. “At times we play well; at other times our inexperience really shows. Every phase of the game we probably don't do on a consistent basis.

        “Are we ready for Cincinnati? No. But hopefully we can learn from this game and it can get us ready for conference play.”

        Only three players who were in the UC game last December are back, including starting guards Nick Moore and Terry Reynolds, who was the MAC Freshman of the Year last season. They are the only two averaging in double figures.

        Toledo has defeated IUPUI-Fort Wayne, Siena and Youngstown State and lost to Dayton, George Mason and St. Bonaventure.

        In Saturday's victory over Youngstown, the Rockets shot 65.4 percent — their best game from the field in 10 years — and had 26 assists — their most in almost nine years. Fifty of their 79 points came from inside the paint.

        “They're like us,” Huggins said. “They're guard-oriented. They like to penetrate and pitch, try to break you down off the dribble.

        “We've got to continue to guard. We've got to continue to sustain our intensity level. And we've got to get a whole lot better offensively.”

        He's talking passing, shooting, everything.

        The Bearcats are shooting .289 from 3-point range, down from .357 last season. They are shooting .594 from the foul line, down from .697 last season. Their field- goal percentage has improved to .456 from .444.

        UC has won five in a row by double digits at Shoemaker Center. Tonight ends a six-game homestand.

        “From a defensive standpoint, we've played pretty hard,” Huggins said. “I don't know if we've carried that over to the offensive end, though.”


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vs. South Florida (3-4)
• 1:00 p.m. Sat. Nov. 20
• Nippert Stadium
• Radio: WLW-AM 700


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