Thursday, February 12, 2004

Bearcats claw way past South Florida


No. 13 UC 80, S. Fla. 67

By Bill Koch
The Cincinnati Enquirer

[IMAGE] Jason Maxiell slams over South Florida's Brian Graham Wednesday.
(Jeff Swinger photo)
After Armein Kirkland frittered away one of the University of Cincinnati's final possessions of the first half, UC coach Bob Huggins sat on the bench with his head down. To his immediate right, associate head coach Dan Peters had his head buried in his hands.

It was another one of those nights for the UC offense.

The 13th-ranked Bearcats (17-3 overall, 8-2 in Conference USA) managed to overcome an outmanned South Florida team 80-67 before 12,171 fans at Fifth Third Arena on Wednesday night, but again the UC offense sputtered.

A late flurry of baskets by Tony Bobbitt, who led UC with a season-high 26 points on 9-of-12 shooting, enabled the Bearcats to shoot a respectable 44.1 percent after a bad start.

UC shot only 59.3 percent (16 of 27) from the free throw line.

UC remained in a first-place tie with Memphis, which defeated East Carolina. Louisville, which plays at Charlotte tonight, is a half-game behind.

The Bearcats played without starting point guard Nick Williams, who sat on the bench with a sprained ankle. Bobbitt made his first career start in Williams' place.

James White shifted over from his forward spot to start the game at point guard.

UC's Field Williams continued to struggle with his shooting. He made 4 of 12 shots from the field.

USF (6-14, 0-9) played with only six scholarship players and three walk-ons. One of the walk-ons, senior Brian Graham, started at guard.

Still, the Bulls, who have now lost nine straight, managed to stay close through a good portion of the first half, and were ahead by a point with 11:14 left in the first half.

At that juncture, the Bearcats were just 3-for-11 from the field.

The Bearcats received an early boost from reserve point guard Chadd Moore, who scored six points in a span of 1:25 to send UC on a 9-0 run, giving the Bearcats an 18-12 lead.

USF recovered to get back within four with 7:42 left in the half, but UC outscored the Bulls 14-7 the rest of the half to take a 34-21 lead into intermission.

The Bearcats improved their shooting accuracy at the beginning of the second half, but Huggins became frustrated with their defense and called timeout with 16:38 left and UC leading 43-28 to substitute five new players.

But it didn't help.

Instead of extending the lead, the Bearcats saw USF come back to get within 10 points, 47-37, with 11:45 to go.

The Bulls trailed by only nine after a Bradley Mosley basket with 8:33 to go, but the Bearcats pulled away after that on a Field Williams trey, followed by two Bobbitt 3-pointers and a Kareem Johnson transition layup off a turnover to give UC a 62-45 lead with 7:31 left.

UC now faces one of the most crucial stretches of the season, with three games in six days, beginning Sunday at No. 20 Wake Forest. That's followed by a road game at Alabama-Birmingham on Wednesday, and a rematch with No. 9 Louisville a week from Saturday at Fifth Third Arena.

E-mail bkoch@enquirer.com

USFMFGAttFTAttRAFTOTP
Graham34000031320
Leather184844224313
Morris37240430434
Swift4081400544523
Mosley4061456541418
Brigman20461260539
Flowers6000000000
Diarra5000010210
Totals200244610162811232267
Team rebounds - 3.

CincinnatiMFGAttFTAttRAFTOTP
White26242456327
Maxiell283869613312
Johnson19113461115
F. Williams2541200151011
Bobbitt2891300231026
Moore12242412226
Meeker2000000010
Lucas9000001000
Hicks18013631133
Kirkland17250020014
Whaley163110040316
Totals200265916273320151480
Team rebounds - 3.

USF 2146- 67
Cincinnati3446- 80
3-pointers - USF 9-17 (Leather 1-1, Swift 7-13, Mosley 1-3), Cincinnati 12-27 (White 1-3, F. Williams 3-10, Bobbitt 8-11, Moore -2, Kirkland 0-1). Technicals - None. Officials - Tom Eades, Bill Kennedy, Harrell Allen. Attendance - 12,171.




REDS
New man in Reds booth
Daugherty: Despite best efforts, Reds get it right

MORE BASEBALL
Pitchers Farnsworth, Mota, Ryan reach deals

UC BEARCATS
Bearcats claw way past South Florida

PREP SPORTS
State titles are equal, but is the playing field?
Sneed does it all in Newport victory
Cowboys make CHL a two-game season
LaSalle's McMahon lives up to name
Brown's big night carries Mariemont
Preps results, schedule

NBA
Nets lift interim coach to 9-0

NFL
Judge stands by ruling on Clarett

AUTO RACING
NASCAR teams trying to work out tire issues

COLLEGE SPORTS
Ingram leaves St. John's in wake of scandal
Hawks show they're Atlantic 10's best
Miami women extend victory streak to 7 games
RedHawks go cold in MAC East loss
No.6 Bulldogs outlast No.25 Gamecocks in OT

TV
Sports today on TV, radio

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

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

FOOTBALL

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

THE BIG EAST
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.

MEN'S BASKETBALL

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.

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL

Paris Headlines AP's All-America Team

ACC New Powerhouse in Women's Basketball

Maryland Tops AP Women's Basketball Poll