3s breeze for Logan

Sunday, December 6, 1998

Steve Logan does not want to appear selfish. The University of Cincinnati's new point guard is a player who knows his place, a sharpshooter whose first instinct is to share.

"I like to distribute," Logan said Saturday night. "But it was kind of funny. I took a lot of shots tonight and coach was yelling at me to shoot more. I've never been that open for every shot. Ever."

College basketball is always an adjustment for freshmen, but usually it is more arduous than the game they are accustomed to playing. The opposite was true for Steve Logan Saturday night. In his first home game since he played for Cleveland's St. Edward, Logan couldn't have shot any more uncontested jumpers had he spent the evening shooting hoops in the driveway.

The good news, Bearcat fans, is that most of them went in. Logan made eight-of-14 shots from three-point range, made 10-of-16 altogether, and made sugarplums dance in the heads of 13,176 spectators at Shoemaker Center.

For the first time since Nick Van Exel, UC has a point guard who deserves to be guarded.

It's dangerous to attach much meaning to a 106-78 mauling of Oakland, a school one year removed from Division II and light years from UC's level, but Logan scored more points in Saturday's first half than last year's regular point guard, Michael Horton, had in any game last season. His eight three-pointers were eight more than UC's first-string point guards have managed in two years. He made Oakland coach Greg Kampe look as foolish as a fraternity pledge at Faber College.

Kampe chose to concede Logan's jump shot Saturday -- actually, he conceded everyone's -- and stuck with his dense zone defenses long after Logan, Melvin Levett and Alvin Mitchell had proven them pliable.

"You may think it was stupid on our part, and maybe it was, but we could not play them man to man and we could not rebound with them in the zone," Kampe said. "Why wouldn't you change? That's a heck of a question."

Given the talent disparity, the Golden Grizzlies' gameplan probably made as much sense as most of the alternatives. Kampe studied the statistics and figured his only shot was to let UC shoot uncontested from the perimeter and pack the middle as if he were canning sardines.

He knew Mitchell -- the Bearcats' most reliable outside shooter to date -- was playing with a sprained ankle. He knew the rest of Bob Huggins' roster was 10-for-39 from three-point range. What he didn't seem to know was that Steve Logan is a legitimate threat. Asked about his scouting report on Logan, Kampe was caught oddly off-guard.

"Steve Logan?" he asked. "Give me a number."

Oakland scored the game's first six points while UC was missing its first five shots. Then Logan -- No. 22 in your program -- connected from the left wing for three, and subsequently from the right side. Once UC's shots started falling consistently, the onslaught was on. About the only thing holding the Bearcats back was that they started getting self-conscious about putting it up so often from the perimeter.

"We didn't have to do anything (to get open shots)," Huggins said. "Usually, you have to distort the zone. We didn't know whether to shot it or if to shoot it."

Steve Logan was as guilty on this count as anyone. He might easily have scored 50 points had he attempted all the shots conceded to him. But having started the season with 12 misses in 13 three-point attempts, Logan was slow to seize the day.

"My confidence was a little down," he said.

Enquirer columnist Tim Sullivan welcomes your E-mail. Message him at tsullivan@enquirer.com.