Cougars can't keep up
with No. 10 Bearcats
By Jake McKim
Daily Cougar Staff
As UH forward Jeremee "Slim" McGuire checked
into Saturday's game against Cincinnati, teammate Andre Owens yelled, "Slim,
I know you
ain't scared to play." This statement
was as much a jab at the other Cougars as it was an expression of belief
in McGuire's abilities.
Right from the tipoff, the undersized,
athletically challenged Cougars (7-7 overall, 1-2 Conference USA) appeared
intimidated and not ready to
handle the confident, highly-skilled Bearcats
(15-1, 3-0 C-USA), who came into the game ranked tenth in the nation and
have now won an
NCAA-leading 15 games in a row.
By game's end the scoreboard read 83-62
and the outcome had never truly been in doubt. The Bearcats jumped out
to a 6-0 lead two minutes
and 10 seconds into the game, and the
Cougars never recovered from the early onslaught.
"We just played against one of the best
teams in the country," UH head coach Ray McCallum said.
"I know they came in here ranked 10th.
I think they're top five the way they defend, the way they rebound -- they're
truly at another level,"
McCallum said. "They came into our building
and did what they had to do. They really locked down defensively, pounded
the glass and shot
the ball extremely well."
In the first half Leonard Stokes and Jamaal
Davis led the attack for Cincinnati, scoring 13 and 10 points respectively
and feeding off the many
mistakes the Cougars made. By halftime
it was already ugly, 45-24, but the 6,379 in attendance, who made up the
biggest Hofheinz crowd of
the season, seemed still to hold out slight
hope for a Cougar comeback.
But Cincinnati jumped out to another quick
start in the second half and the Cougars spent the rest of the contest
simply trying to make the loss
The Bearcats used their superior depth
to wear down the undermanned Cougars and never seemed to break a sweat.
Stokes finished the
game as the leading scorer with 19 points
and six rebounds. Steve Logan added 16 points and five assists and Davis
tallied 15 points and five
Cincinnati center Donald Little also turned
in an impressive performance to finish with 10 points and 10 rebounds and
played a large role in
holding UH center Patrick Okafor to nine
points on the game.
After the game, Cincinnati players were
understandably optimistic about their chances to win the national championship.
"We're trying to win it," Logan said. "We're
not trying to go to the Final Four and lose a game. We're trying to win
it all. Everybody believes in
each other and that's what we're trying
For the Cougars, Louis Truscott (12 points,
seven boards) and McGuire (10 points) had commendable games with both players
tremendous energy and effort. Dominic
Smith also finished with 10 points in the losing effort.
It was a solid stand by the Bearcats, quite
possibly the best team in the country, and one that McCallum didn't want
his players to hang their
"I told our players that we're not a bad
basketball team," McCallum said. "We played a great team today that's on
a whole other level that we
weren't able to reach today, quite honestly."