Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Memorable Bearcat Games: Cincinnati 64 DePaul 62

Today's Memorable Bearcat Game comes from the year 2000. As you can suspect, that makes it a good one already. The subject of today's game is the Kenyon Martin lead comeback against DePaul.

Cincinnati came into the game at 26-2, 14-0 in C-USA. DePaul was 18-9, fighting for an NCAA tournament bid. The teams played a couple weeks earlier in Cincinnati, with the Bearcats thrashing the Blue Demons by 23. The Bearcats were without Pete Mickeal, who was suspended by Huggins. Mickeal was benched during the previous game against Louisville, didn't see action in this one, but he came back to play out the string relatively well. This may sound a bit crazy now, but the Bearcats walked into a hornets nest in Chicago this night. The Blue Demons needed this game for their NCAA lives, something that seems strange when you look at how bad of shape that program has been the past few seasons.

The Bearcats missed Mickeal early. Pete guarded, nay, hounded Quentin Richardson into a 3-13 night in the first meeting, but with him out, DePaul rained threes early. The Blue Demons hit 5 in the first 8 minutes, charging out into the lead. Richardson was loving the change, drilling 3 triples and having 11 points at the half. DePaul shot 56% going into intermission, and held a 36-29 lead. There were 18,253 fans filling the Allstate Arena in Rosemont, a then record. Needless to say, they were all pretty excited at the way things turned out in the first half. You might be saying to yourself, Bearcats Blog, want to get a little more specific with the first half? That's a great, great question and I appreciate the fact that you asked it. The answer is no. Let's move on to the second half.

DePaul jumped right back on the Bearcats to start the second frame. The Bearcats helped by playing pretty terribly and fouling a whole lot. The Bearcats had 6 fouls the first 7 minutes, including 3 on one possession. They put DePaul in the bonus with 12 minutes to go. The Blue Demons demanded it though, as they hit 5 of their first 6 shots out of the break. Rashon Burno, DePaul's point guard, was supposed to be guarded by Kenny Satterfield, but Kenny left him to double on Richardson. Burno thanked him for the open shot by draining a 3, pushing the margin to 46-31. Burno had 7 in the game. The Demons got the lead to 16 when Lance Williams scored inside. UC got a basket that neither the Enquirer, CNNSI, nor ESPN cared to mention, when Richardson drilled his last 3 of the game to push the lead to 51-34. Cincinnati faced it's largest deficit of the season. Kenny Satterfield would have none of it. He scored 5 points, and I'm just going to assume that he assisted Steve Logan for a 3 to cut the lead to 51-44. Cincinnati also remembered to play defense, getting 7 stops. Cincinnati had 10 steals in the game, 4 blocks, forced 17 DePaul turnovers, but the Demons shot a piss poor 6-15 at the free throw line. NBA players Richardson and Bobby Simmons were both 1-5, and 70%, and 75% foul shooters respectively.

Down 7 with 10 minutes left, it looked as if the Bearcats had used everything to get back into the game. The lead ballooned up to 10, 60-50, with 3:46 to go. That's when Bob Huggins told his team one thing, "Get the ball to Kenyon." I'm sure there were other words in there, and Bob didn't just say that, drop his clipboard, get a soda and adjust his tie. Sure enough, Satterfield took the ball upcourt, passed to Martin who was guarded by Williams, and watching as Martin hit a turnaround off glass. Burno, who was a midget, couldn't deal with the UC pressure and threw the ball away to DerMarr Johnson. After some quick passes, Johnson missed from the top of the key, but Satterfield pulled home the rebound. UC pulled back out, getting the ball to Satterfield on the left wing. Martin called for the ball on the block, got it, and hit another turnaround on Williams. DePaul looked rattled. They couldn't get into their offense. A deflection by Johnson gave the Demons the ball out of bounds with 3 seconds on the shot clock, but they couldn't do anything off the inbound, and committed another turnover on a shot clock violation. The crowd remembered they were allowed to make noise as UC brought the ball up court. Satterfield waved away a Jermaine Tate screen attempt, looking to get the ball to Martin. He did. Martin this time took Williams left, dropping a little pump fake jumper from the bottom of the circle in his face. That made the score 60-56 with 2 minutes left. Cincinnati threw on a very sloppy press that was broken. Burno hit Richardson high off the left wing, and Q saw an open Paul McPherson under the basket. By the time McPherson went up with his left hand, Martin crashed the rim from the top of the key blocking the shot. Maybe the pass was short armed a little, but it was a pure hustle play by Martin on an amazing block. That started a UC break, as Satterfield raced up court and dropped off for Johnson driving from the right baseline. Johnson was fouled on his dunk attempt, and drilled both, making it 60-58. DePaul called timeout, but looked discombobulated on offense, getting 3 guys in the paint. The man taking the shot was Bobby Simmons. This happened.

UC took about 15 seconds off the clock running their offense, but there was no doubt where the ball was going. This time, it was Logan who fed Martin on the right block. Martin took a dribble, then dropped another turnaround jumper in Williams' face to tie with 1:11 left. UC went back to the trapping defense. Martin and Johnson ended up with a trap on McPherson, but they left room in the middle. McPherson stepped through, finding Williams all alone under the basket for a dunk. Cincinnati took a timeout, but the Bearcats were stunned when DePaul went zone. With no easy entry to Martin, they worked the ball around the perimeter. Martin worked his way over to the left wing. He got the ball with 5 on the shot clock. Kenyon went baseline on Williams, blowing right by him. Simmons came to help at the basket, but was too late, as Martin banked home the tying shot.

DePaul had 22 seconds, 20 after a timeout. DePaul tried some kind of weird play where Burno brought the ball up, Simmons and Williams stood side by side at the free throw line, probably going to screen for each other I dunno, they just stood there, while Richardson screened for McPherson behind that in the paint, and came up top while McPherson went to the wing. Whatever the weird play was, it allowed Tate to jump into the passing lane, where Burno threw an ill, ill, ill advised pass Richardson's direction. Tate handed to Martin, who took the ball up the court, and dropped off for Johnson. In a play a little similar to the Northern Iowa play the beat Kansas, Johnson looked like he was going to pass, the defense went away from him, and he drilled an open 17 footer with 2.6 left. DePaul got the ball into Richardson, who flew up court. He lost a behind the back dribble for just a half of a second, but that was too long, as the buzzer sounded before he drilled a 35 footer.

It was a great, great win for Cincinnati. It was the game that got Kenyon the player of the year award. It made UC one of the favorites for March. It gave the fan base a sense of destiny for this team. Martin had 33-9-2 blocks, but he had one in the highlight package ESPN showed and 2 during the game. Whatever. Johnson was the only other Bearcat in double digits with 10. Satterfield had 7-9 rebounds-4 assists, playing nearly the whole game. After those 3, BJ Grove was UC's next leading scorer with 6. DePaul had Richardson with 17-11, Williams with 14, and McPherson and Simmons (8 rebounds) with 8.

Just remembering this game makes me remember this season and the love I had for this team. This, and the 01-02 teams will always be my favorite UC squads. Things didn't turn out for either one of them, but they were incredibly fun to watch. The 00 team had it's season derailed, but it had a UC legend give amazing performances like this. The Kenyon Martin game, the comeback, whatever you want to call it, this was a Memorable Bearcat Game.

1 comment:

  1. This is an awesome blog! I remember this game so well. WOW! This is magical and brings back so many memories of K-Mart, Logan, Donald Little, Kenny Sat., and Tate. It is indescribable. Love Huggins and the UC bearcats 2000 season forever! Go Bearcats!