Bulls are competitive but fall 77-66, their 10th straight loss to the Bearcats.
By ANTONYA ENGLISH
© St. Petersburg Times, published March 2, 2001
|[Times photo: Toni L. Sandys]
USF's B.B. Waldon (14) battles Immanuel McElroy for a rebound.
TAMPA -- All the elements were in place for a big night for the South Florida men's basketball team Thursday.
It was senior night, with a warm pregame ceremony for Chonsey Asbury, Artha Reeves, Sam Sanders and Cedric Smith.
And the Bulls had an opportunity to redeem themselves on national television after an 18-point loss in front of a national television audience Sunday -- and stay in the hunt for a first-round Conference USA tournament bye.
There was only one problem. Cincinnati wasn't interested in helping the Bulls.
With a dominating performance on the offensive boards and a 31-point effort from junior guard Steve Logan, Cincinnati defeated South Florida 77-66 in front of a season-high home crowd of 8,111 at the Sun Dome. It was the second loss at home for the Bulls.
"It's very, very, very disappointing," said sophomore guard Reggie Kohn, who earned his first career double double with 14 points and 11 assists. "We had another chance (at) first place. I don't know what to say. It hurts."
Cincinnati clinched the Conference USA American Division title and extended its 22-game C-USA National Division winning streak, having never lost to a National Division team since the league split into two divisions. USF (17-11, 9-6) has lost 10 straight to the Bearcats.
The Bearcats (20-8, 10-5) also earned one of four first-round byes in next week's C-USA tournament.
Cincinnati outrebounded the Bulls 48-39, including 22-13 offensively.
"They wanted it more," said Smith, who finished his career at home with seven points, eight rebounds and six assists. "They outworked us."
"They were playing gimmick defenses and it's a little easier to rebound it when they are not playing man-to-man," Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said.
South Florida trailed 38-32 at halftime after making a strong run late in the first half to take a 28-27 lead.
The Bulls pulled to within three with 37 seconds remaining in the half. But with four-tenths of a second remaining, Leonard Stokes hit a 23-foot basket with a defender in his face.
Altron Jackson (team-high 17 points) scored six consecutive points during an 11-4 South Florida run to open the second half, giving the Bulls a 43-42 lead.
The Bulls took a 45-42 lead off a Reeves (eight points, five rebounds) dunk with 14:59 remaining.
But Cincinnati's Logan hit back-to-back three-pointers to give the Bearcats a 50-47 lead with 10:47 remaining.
South Florida again fell behind, trailing by seven with 6:28 remaining, but pulled to within two (61-59) on Kohn's three-point basket with 5:29 left.
Cincinnati outscored South Florida 16-7 in the final 5:19. The Bearcats went 10-of-10 from the line in the final 1:40 (Logan hit eight of those) and ended the game with two dunks.
"I thought we did some good things, but they were just tougher and physically stronger than us," South Florida coach Seth Greenberg said. "And they stepped up and hit 18-of-20 from the free-throw line and we hit 5-of-12. I told them (after the game) they've got 40 hours to turn it around and show what kind of character they have. I have no doubt they will."
South Florida, which ends the regular season at 7 Saturday night at Southern Mississippi, shot 43 percent from the field and 41 percent from three-point range. Cincinnati shot just 37 percent from the field and 31 percent from three-point range. The Bulls also held Logan Satterfield, who is averaging 14 points, to three.
"I thought if we could hold them to 35 percent from the field and Satterfield to three points, we'd be in good shape," Greenberg said. "I'm not saying our guys didn't try. They played their tails off and we were in a position to win."
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