Sunday, January 13, 2002

Bearcats look top-notch


Houston likens UC to Kansas following rout

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[img]
Cincinnati's Immanuel McElroy (23) shoots past Houston's Bryan Shelton.
(AP photo)
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        HOUSTON — The question keeps coming up: Just how good is the University of Cincinnati?

        Let's ask some folks who have played the No.1-ranked Kansas Jayhawks and the No.10 Bearcats.

        First, Houston coach Ray McCallum, whose team was thumped by UC 83-62 at home Saturday (Note: The Cougars lost to Kansas 95-78 in Maui in their second game of the season).

        “I think they match up extremely well,” McCallum said. “Both teams really guard well and rebound the ball. Based on what I've seen, I think Cincinnati is top-three. I think it's Kansas, Duke and Cincinnati, quite honestly.”

        Now, here's Houston guard Dominic Smith, who was shooting 49.1 percent from the field going into Saturday but was held to 1-of-10 shooting against the Bearcats. He missed all five of his 3-point tries.

        “(UC and Kansas are) just alike,” Smith said. “Both of them are real physical and like to get the ball inside. Five or six of their players can make plays, so it's hard to guard them. We didn't show up today. They threw the first punch and we just laid down; we didn't get back up. It was kind of the same (against Kansas).”

        Finally, George Williams, a 6-foot-8 junior forward who averages 11.9 points but was shut out for the first 35 minutes Saturday. He scored all of his nine points in the final 4:58.

        “Kansas plays a much more uptempo game,” Williams said. “Cincinnati's capable of playing that type of style because of the athletes they have. Kansas is not as physical a team as Cincinnati is, but they run a lot and get a lot in transition. There's no real big gap. Cincinnati's right there, close to being No.1.”

        There you have it.

[img]
UC coach Bob Huggins.
(AP photo)
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        Now, keep it mind all these comments came shortly after the Bearcats (15-1, 3-0 Conference USA) dominated Houston (7-7, 1-2) for their 15th consecutive victory — all by double digits.

        And, that Kansas won't be No.1 when the new poll comes out Monday after losing to UCLA on Saturday.

        “We are trying to win it all,” Cincinnati senior Steve Logan said. “We're not trying to get to the Sweet 16 or the Final Four; we are focused on winning the national championship.”

        UC was ahead 45-24 at halftime and led by no fewer than 21 points the entire second half.

        Houston came in as the No.1 shooting team in C-USA (49.8 percent) but was held to 36.2 percent shooting by the Bearcats.

        “They have a style of defense we haven't seen this year, and they threw us off our game,” Williams said.

        It turned lopsided quickly. The Cougars missed their first nine shots and started 1-of-12 from the field. After 7 1/2 minutes, the Bearcats were ahead 20-7.

        “Draw first blood,” UC center Donald Little said. “Get them before they get us. If we keep playing hard, we'll keep winning. That's how I see it.”

        Cincinnati passed the ball in the first half as well as it has all season. As a result, the Bearcats usually got good looks at the basket and shot 54.8 percent from the field.

        UC also had a 23-13 rebounding advantage in the first half.

        In the final 20 minutes, coach Bob Huggins said, UC “lost a little focus.” But it didn't matter. The damage was done early.

        Leonard Stokes led the Bearcats with 19 points for the second consecutive game. Logan added 16 points — 12 in the second half.

        “Every game seems to be the other team's Super Bowl and we have to meet their emotion,” Huggins said. “If we can come out and meet their emotion initially, because we're used to it, I think it's an advantage for us. I'm happy to win and keep moving.”


Box Score


CINCINNATI (83)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Davis           25   6-8   2-2   2-5  1  4   15
Stokes          32  7-12   3-3   1-6  2  1   19
Little          27   2-6   6-8  0-10  1  4   10
Logan           36  4-10   8-9   0-1  5  2   16
Mcelroy         38  4-10   1-3   0-2  6  3    9
Williams        11   1-3   2-2   1-1  0  2    5
Lucas            2   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  0    0
Flowers          1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Crawford         7   1-1   0-0   0-0  0  1    2
Grove            5   1-2   2-2   0-1  0  1    4
Maxiell         16   1-3   1-2   3-8  0  5    3
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 27-55 25-31  7-35 15 23   83
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.491, FT-.806. 3-Point Goals:
4-8, .500 (Davis 1-2, Stokes 2-2, Logan 0-1,
Mcelroy 0-1, Williams 1-2). Team rebounds: 3.
Blocked shots: 5 (Little 2, Maxiell 2, Davis).
Turnovers: 9 (Little 3, Maxiell 2, Davis, Logan,
Mcelroy, Stokes). Steals: 5 (Crawford, Davis,
Grove, Maxiell, Mcelroy).


HOUSTON (62)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Oliver          19   2-4   2-3   1-2  2  5    6
Williams        32   3-9   2-3   1-7  0  1    9
Okafor          32   4-9   1-8   5-6  2  4    9
D Smith         31  1-10   8-9   0-1  1  4   10
Gaines          31  2-12   1-2   0-4  6  4    6
Mcguire         22   5-8   0-0   1-4  0  4   10
Truscott        24   4-6   4-5   3-7  0  4   12
Shelton          9   0-0   0-0   0-2  0  1    0
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 21-58 18-30 11-33 11 27   62
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.362, FT-.600. 3-Point Goals:
2-17, .118 (Williams 1-4, D Smith 0-5, Gaines
1-7, Mcguire 0-1). Team rebounds: 5. Blocked
shots: 6 (Shelton 2, Mcguire 2, Williams,
Truscott). Turnovers: 13 (Gaines 3, Mcguire 3,
Truscott 2, Williams 2, D Smith, Okafor, Oliver).
Steals: 5 (D Smith, Gaines, Mcguire, Truscott,
Williams).
__________________________________
Cincinnati         45   38  -   83
Houston            24   38  -   62
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 6,379. Officials: Ted
Hillary, Kevin Mathis, David Maracich.
       

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