Wednesday, February 20, 2002

UC sets stage for C-USA showdown


Marquette on horizon as Bearcats rout DePaul

By Michael Perry
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        CHICAGO — The University of Cincinnati's bid for a seventh consecutive Conference USA regular-season title could come down to one game: Friday night against Marquette at Shoemaker Center (7 p.m. ESPN).

        The fourth-ranked Bearcats disposed of DePaul 79-62 Tuesday night at the United Center and await what has to be considered the biggest showdown of the season.

        No.9 Marquette defeated Charlotte 66-52 Tuesday night in Milwaukee for its 12th straight victory. The Golden Eagles have beaten Cincinnati three consecutive times.

        UC (25-2) and Marquette (23-3), which both have clinched first-round byes for the league tournament, are tied at 12-1 for the best record in C-USA's American Division and overall.

        “We know they're going to come out fighting hard and scrapping,” senior Immanuel McElroy said. “We've got to meet their intensity.”

        The Bearcats' final two regular-season games are at Louisville (Feb.27) and at home against Memphis (March3). Marquette finishes at East Carolina Tuesday and at home against DePaul on March1.

        Since their Feb.2 loss at Marquette, the Bearcats have won five straight, with the closest game being their nine-point victory at Wake Forest. The last two games they have won by 52 (Southern Mississippi) and 17 (DePaul). UC has shot at least 50 percent from the field in all five games.

        Cincinnati players vowed not to look past DePaul to Friday night's game, and it appeared early on that they didn't.

        The Bearcats were ahead by 10 points after 4 1/2 minutes and by 20 points with 7:23 left in the first half after a tip-in by freshman Jason Maxiell.

        The game was over by halftime, though. Cincinnati led 39-18. DePaul shot just 23.3 percent from the field and had 11 turnovers in the first half. Though UC was not able to pull away any more in the second half, the outcome was never in doubt.

        The closest DePaul came was 73-60 with 2:18 remaining. But the Blue Demons shot 53.3 percent in the second half.

        That, in part, prompted UC coach Bob Huggins to keep his team in the locker room talking for roughly 15 minutes after the game.

        “We kind of lost our enthusiasm to defend a bit in the second half,” Huggins said. “It's not the time to get complacent. It's the time to really start to grind it out. I don't buy that getting tired. We get tired mentally, I think, and we can't afford to do that.”

        Senior guard Steve Logan led the Bearcats with 22 points and nine assists. It was his 48th consecutive game scoring in double figures. He also had five rebounds.

        Maxiell came off the bench for 18 points — tying his career high — and eight rebounds, four steals and two blocks. He has scored in double figures in eight of the past 15 games.

        Leonard Stokes finished with 13 points. McElroy added 10, scoring in double figures for the third time in four games.

        Lance Williams led the Blue Demons with 12 points, and Rashon Burno added 11 points and seven assists.

        UC has beaten DePaul 22 of 23 times, including six in a row. The Blue Demons (9-16, 2-11) have lost seven of their past eight games.



CINCINNATI (79)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
Davis           28   5-8   0-0   3-5  2  4   10
Mcelroy         34   4-9   2-2   2-3  4  2   10
Little          22   1-6   1-4   1-4  0  3    3
Stokes          28   4-6   4-4   0-4  1  4   13
Logan           34  6-14  9-10   0-5  9  1   22
Williams        15   0-5   0-0   0-1  0  0    0
Lucas            4   0-0   0-0   0-1  2  0    0
Barker           5   1-1   0-0   0-3  0  1    3
Crawford         4   0-0   0-0   0-1  0  0    0
Maxiell         26   9-9   0-1   4-8  0  4   18
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 30-58 16-21 10-35 18 19   79
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.517, FT-.762. 3-Point Goals:
3-11, .273 (Stokes 1-2, Logan 1-4, Williams 0-4,
Barker 1-1). Team rebounds: 1. Blocked shots: 4
(Maxiell 2, Stokes, Little). Turnovers: 11 (Logan
3, Davis 2, Mcelroy 2, Stokes 2, Barker, Little).
Steals: 7 (Maxiell 4, Little 2, Mcelroy).


DEPAUL (62)
                      fg    ft    rb
               min   m-a   m-a   o-t  a pf   tp
A Brown         34  2-11   4-5  7-13  1  3    8
Greer           16   1-3   0-2   0-3  0  2    2
Williams        32  6-10   0-0   1-4  0  1   12
Burno           37  4-11   1-2   0-2  7  3   11
Diener          24   4-8   0-0   2-4  1  1    8
M Brooks        17   1-3   4-5   1-1  4  2    6
Seals           18   2-4   1-2   0-1  1  3    6
Tulley           8   0-4   0-0   0-0  0  1    0
Hoskin          14   3-6   2-2   3-5  1  0    9
_______________________________________________
TOTALS         200 23-60 12-18 14-33 15 16   62
_______________________________________________


Percentages: FG-.383, FT-.667. 3-Point Goals:
4-16, .250 (Burno 2-6, Diener 0-3, Seals 1-1,
Tulley 0-4, Hoskin 1-2). Team rebounds: 2.
Blocked shots: 1 (Greer). Turnovers: 16 (Burno 3,
Greer 3, Diener 2, M Brooks 2, Seals 2, A Brown,
Hoskin, Tulley, Williams). Steals: 5 (Burno 2, M
Brooks, Seals, Williams).
__________________________________
Cincinnati         39   40  -   79
Depaul             18   44  -   62
__________________________________
Technical fouls: None.  A: 5,718. Officials:
David Maracich, A Mcdonald, Mike Thibodeaux.
       

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