Sunday, February 10, 2002

A pointed victory for UC


Rare outburst of offense lifts Bearcats past Wake Forest

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — Even though the University of Cincinnati led by one point at halftime Saturday, the sixth-ranked Bearcats had surrendered 41 points. Which is a lot for a team that gives up only 57.7 a game.

[img]
Cincinnati's Donald Little dunks over Wake Forest's Darius Songaila.
(AP photo)
| ZOOM |
        Coach Bob Huggins told his players: “We have to play better defense because we're never going to outscore people.”

        Guess what? The defensive-minded Bearcats, who have built their identity by shutting down opponents, outshot and outlasted No.19 Wake Forest 103-94 before 12,581 fans at Lawrence Joel Coliseum.

        It was a season-high scoring total for UC. And no previous Bearcat opponent had scored more than 74.

        “Any time a team scores 90 points on you, there's something that you're not doing right,” UC senior Steve Logan said. “We didn't make them go to their second option like we're supposed to.”

        Nobody was bragging about defense afterward.

        The only other team to score as many points against Skip Prosser's Wake Forest team: No.1-ranked Duke.

        “I didn't think we could score 103 against anybody,” Huggins said. “But these guys have been resilient. They've pretty much done what they've had to do to win.”

        “Find a way,” Leonard Stokes said. “It says that in our locker room.”

        This week was a perfect example. Following its second loss of the season at Marquette, Cincinnati (22-2) regrouped and took to the road for games at Charlotte and Wake Forest, the third-place team in the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference.

        On Wednesday night, the Bearcats won by 19 points with their usual stifling defense.

        Saturday's game turned into a up-tempo affair won by the offense. UC shot 58.1 percent from the field, including 64.3 percent in the second half when it led by as many as 17 points.

        “What we were doing wasn't working,” said Prosser, the former Xavier coach who is now 4-4 against Cincinnati. “We need to feel compelled to stop people — that is not our strong suit ... I like playing them, though. You find out a lot about your team.”

        Leading 53-50, the Bearcats pulled away with a 19-5 run that put them ahead 72-55 with 10:54 remaining.

        But it was not a knockout punch.

        Wake Forest cut it to 74-66. Then, after UC called a timeout, Wake Forest freshman Jamaal Levy was called for a technical foul for impeding the progress of one of the Bearcats and saying something to him on the way to the bench.

        That hurt. When play resumed, Logan hit two free throws, then sent a pass inside to Donald Little, who dunked it. The lead was back to 12.

        The Demon Deacons cut it to 78-71 and had a chance to pull within five. But Antwan Scott missed a short shot, and at the other end Logan nailed a 3 for UC.

        Wake (17-7) never got closer than eight after that.

        “Some (NBA) G.M. needs to draft this guy,” Wake Forest guard Broderick Hicks said, referring to Logan. “Sometimes I was in his face, over his face, he faded away from I don't know how many feet. The guy just made unbelievable shots; I guess he's been doing it all year.”

        Logan finished with 30 points and seven assists. He was 4-of-9 from 3-point range and 10-of-10 from the foul line. In 38 minutes, he had just two turnovers — both in the first half.

        “He was able to stop the bleeding every time,” Prosser said. “It's nice having that kind of guy, plus he's a guard who has the ball in his hands, who can take the ball and either deliver the pass or make a shot.”

        Cincinnati made 13 of 14 free throw attempts in the final 1:39.

        Five players scored in double figures for the second time this season. Senior Immanuel McElroy had a career-high 19 points. Stokes added 17, Jason Maxiell 13 (to go with 12 rebounds) and Jamaal Davis 10.

        Hicks came off the bench and scored a team-high 24 points for the Demon Deacons; he has averaged 21 in two games against the Bearcats. Darius Songaila added 22 and Scott 13.

        UC caught a break when junior forward Josh Howard, Wake's No.2 scorer (14.9) and No.2 rebounder (7.8), did not play because of an ankle sprain suffered Thursday.

        “Josh is a good player, but I think we had enough guys available to win the game,” Prosser said.

        The Bearcats come back to Shoemaker Center for two games this week (Saint Louis on Tuesday, Southern Mississippi on Friday) after playing five of their last six games on the road. They are heading out of what has to be considered the toughest stretch of the season.

        “It seems like we haven't been home in a year and a half,” Huggins said. “This time of the year, all you want to do is win and keep moving.”

        NOTABLE NUMBERS:

        Wake Forest's nonconference home winning streak ended at 23 games. It was its first non-ACC loss since Dec.23, 1998. ... Logan was 10-of-10 from the foul line, tying a school single-game record for free throw percentage. It's the third time he has shot 1.000 with at least 10 attempts. ... Logan has 526 points this season, making him the sixth Bearcat ever to have multiple 500-point seasons. ... Logan scored 30 points or more for the sixth time in his career and third time this season. ... The Demon Deacons' 41 first-half points were the most by a UC opponent this season.


Box Score

CINCINNATI (103)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Davis           13   5-5   0-0   1-1  0  5   10
Little          30   2-2   1-4   1-7  1  5    5
Stokes          35  5-11  7-10   2-8  2  3   17
Logan           38  8-20 10-10   0-1  7  4   30
Mcelroy         29  7-10   5-6   2-3  2  4   19
Williams        17   3-5   0-0   1-2  0  3    9
Flowers          1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Crawford         3   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  0    0
Hubbard          1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Grove            1   0-0   0-0   0-0  0  0    0
Maxiell         32   6-9   1-3  4-12  0  1   13
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 36-62 24-33 11-35 12 25  103
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.581, FT-.727. 3-Point Goals:
7-16, .438 (Stokes 0-2, Logan 4-9, Williams 3-5).
Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 5 (Little 3,
Davis, Maxiell). Turnovers: 8 (Logan 2, Maxiell
2, Stokes 2, Davis, Mcelroy). Steals: 2 (Little,
Maxiell).


WAKE FOREST (94)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Songaila        35  6-17  9-10  3-12  1  4   22
Scott           24  6-10   1-1   1-2  3  4   13
Downey          36   1-5   5-6   0-1  1  0    8
Lepore          23   4-5   0-0   3-3  1  2    9
Dawson          30   2-7   2-2   0-2  4  4    7
Bro Hicks       26  8-15   5-7   1-6  4  3   24
Levy             7   1-2   1-2   1-2  1  3    3
Danelius        19   3-9   2-2   4-5  2  4    8
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 31-70 25-30 13-33 17 24   94
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.443, FT-.833. 3-Point Goals:
7-18, .389 (Songaila 1-1, Downey 1-4, Lepore 1-2,
Dawson 1-5, Bro Hicks 3-5, Levy 0-1). Team
rebounds: 3. Blocked shots: 2 (Scott 2).
Turnovers: 7 (Songaila 4, Dawson, Downey, Scott).
Steals: 3 (Lepore, Scott, Songaila).
__________________________________
Cincinnati         42   61  -  103
Wake Forest        41   53  -   94
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 12,581. Officials:
Larry Rose, Andre Patillo, Kerry Sitton.


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