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Big East: Ex-coach watches Bearcats' big win
Published March 5, 2006
CINCINNATI - Eric Hicks wiped away tears after a pre-game embrace from ousted coach Bob Huggins then scored 18 on Saturday, leading Cincinnati to a 78-75 victory over No.16 West Virginia.
Huggins, invited by interim coach Andy Kennedy on Senior Day, attended a home game for the first time since being forced out in August. He got a standing ovation and hugged the Bearcats' five seniors.
Huggins repeatedly got standing ovations from the capacity crowd, who also chanted for school president Nancy Zimpher to give Kennedy a contract.
After the game, Hicks led the seniors over to Huggins, who embraced each. Hicks wiped away tears with his white warmup shirt after the embrace. Huggins dabbed a tear from the corner of his right eye.
"I thought it took a lot of courage for Coach to come," Kennedy said. "It shows you what kind of man he is. It's a tribute to these seniors. They wanted him to come. I thought it was fitting going against his alma mater in a game that decided our season."
The Bearcats believed they needed a high-profile win to help their NCAA Tournament hopes. West Virginia previously had guaranteed a first-round bye in the conference tournament.
The Bearcats used a 15-2 run to take a 33-23 lead. Then Jihad Muhammad made a jumper and two 3-pointers during an 11-1 spurt that made it 48-35 early in the second half.
A 3-pointer by Mike Gansey cut it to 66-64 with 5:03 to go for West Virginia, who kept it close until the end before Cincinnati made 3 of 5 free throws during the final 12 seconds.
UConn holds off Louisville
STORRS, Conn. - Marcus Williams went 6-for-6 from the free-throw line during the final 48 seconds as No.2 Connecticut clinched a share of the regular-season title with an 84-80 victory over Louisville.
The Huskies win it outright if Villanova loses to Syracuse today.
Juan Palacios, a sophomore who came in averaging 10.1 points for the Cardinals but scored a career-high 29, tied it at 78 with two free throws with 54 seconds left. Williams, who had 11 points and seven assists, then started his free-throw run, making two with 48 seconds left. Denham Brown stole a pass of Taquan Dean, and Williams added two more with 30 seconds left.
Terrance Farley scored down low for the Cardinals nine seconds later to make it a two-point game. Williams, who was 7-for-7 for the game, made his last two with 15 seconds left. Then Louisville struggled to get off a shot, with Palacios missing a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
NOTRE DAME 66, DePAUL 61: Russell Carter scored 22 for the host Irish, who clinched a spot in the conference tournament. Colin Falls' 3-pointer, his only field goal of the game, put Notre Dame up 62-57 with 55.9 seconds left. Sammy Mejia's two free throws pulled the Blue Demons to within three, and Marlon Brumfield's shot got them to within one with 23.5 left. Falls' free throws with 14.9 left got it back to three, and Draelon Burns' 3-pointer with less than five seconds left rattled in and out.
MARQUETTE 88, PROVIDENCE 78: Steve Novak scored 17 in the second half for the host Golden Eagles. Up 44-39, Novak made a 3-pointer 5:23 into the second half to start a 16-6 run. He hit two more in the next five minutes, one that made it 60-45 with about 10 minutes left.