Monday, January 28, 2002

UC's McElroy gets defensive

Senior takes challenges personally

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

Immanuel McElroy
| ZOOM |
        With 5:08 remaining in Saturday's game, South Florida's Altron Jackson hit a 3-pointer that cut the University of Cincinnati's lead to 57-50. Bearcats senior Immanuel McElroy took that personally. He had been defending Jackson all day.

        “He's out there yelling, "Altron gets no more 3s, no more shots,' ” UC teammate Steve Logan said. “That was unbelievable to hear. You've got to love him for that.”

        McElroy's reputation grows with each passing UC victory. He is the Bearcat assigned to guard the opponent's best player, as long as that person is not a center or power forward.

        No.4 UC's 78-68 victory Saturday was its 19th straight, and defense has been the team's calling card.

        No individual represents that better than McElroy, who could care less whether he scores as long as UC wins.

        Players, coaches, opponents all say the same things: He's athletic, strong, tough, physical and plays hard. The word many use that might best define his play is selfless.

        “He takes pride in defending,” South Florida coach Seth Greenberg said. “He's a guy who just totally accepts his role.”

        Jackson, the Bulls' senior star who is five points shy of becoming Conference USA's all-time leading scorer, was held to 11 points Saturday on 4-of-10 shooting.

        Seven of his points came in the final 5:44.

        McElroy has done a good job on Saint Louis' Jason Edwin (4-of-14 shooting, 15 points), Louisville's Reece Gaines (5-of-16, 19 points — seven came in the last seven minutes) and Charlotte's Jobey Thomas (5-of-15, 13 points) to help the Bearcats.

        “I don't know if we've had anybody like Mac,” UC coach Bob Huggins said. “Allen Jackson was really good.

        “Mac's got great energy and he's a great athlete. And he's got a great basketball mentality; you tell him how to guard and he does it. Lenny (Stokes) has been good, too. I've got two wing guys who really guard.”

        In the offseason, McElroy focused on his offense, working hard to improve his jump shot and looking to score more than he did last season (7.0 ppg).

        He is averaging 8.7 points. His 5.5 rebounds a game are an increase over last season (3.3), as are his 2.7 assists (compared to 1.7 a year ago).

        But even games when he connects on just 2 of 10 field goal attempts, like Saturday, it's hardly noticeable because of his defensive effort.

        “I can score, but I love defense,” McElroy said. “I watch tape over and over to see what a player can do. Some of the best players are their go-to guys. When you take them out, the team's emotion goes down. When I do that, I help my team win.”

        B.J. UPDATE: Junior center B.J. Grove did not resume practicing with the Bearcats Sunday night. He was instead working on his conditioning. Grove was sent home from Tampa, Fla., for weight-related reasons and did not attend Saturday's game at South Florida.

&         Sunday story: UC 78, South Florida 68

Bearcats Stories
UC 4th in coaches poll
UC women rout South Florida 92-47
- UC's McElroy gets defensive

Rams versus Patsies?
DAUGHERTY: Don't count out Patriots
Bengal reject headed to Super Bowl
More on Super Bowl
More on NFC Championship Game
More on AFC Championship Game
Sports events this week
High School Week Ahead
Holmes girls lose in tournament
This week's boys basketball schedule
This week's girls basketball schedule

Mail This Story (Click here) Send this story to a friend.

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


Paterno Won't Coach Penn St.-Temple Game

Paterno Won't Go to Penn St.-Temple Game

Spurrier Shadow Looms Large in Florida

No. 15 Rutgers Bracing for Historic Game

Hurricanes Stunned by Teammate's Murder

Big East logo
UC joins Big East
• A special section of complete coverage, as the UC Bearcats join one of the nation's elite sports conferences.


Terps Sign Gary Williams Through 2010-11

Bob Knight Approaches Winning Milestone

Buckeyes' Oden Content to Wait for NBA

Larranaga Enjoy Spoils of Final Four Run

Hansbrough Leads AP's All-America Team

AP's Preseason All-America Team

Gators Runaway Preseason No. 1 in Poll

Gators Return Starters to Defend Title

Texas Tech's Jackson Returns to Practice

Sutton Released From Hospital in Okla.


Paris Headlines AP's All-America Team

ACC New Powerhouse in Women's Basketball

Maryland Tops AP Women's Basketball Poll