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This Cincinnati Team Follows a New Path


SAN DIEGO — Wait a second.

This wasn't the Cincinnati team that was supposed to get past the familiar second-round fiasco.

But this is the one that has--for the first time in five years--after a 66-43 victory over Kent State on Saturday at Cox Arena.

"We were tired of everybody saying we couldn't get past the second round," guard Steve Logan said. "I've been here three years, and we hadn't made it past the second round. We made that personal. That's why it was real emotional."

Last season's team was the one that was supposed to go far.

The Bearcats were ranked No. 1 all but six weeks, but lost Kenyon Martin to a broken leg shortly before the tournament, then lost in the second round to Tulsa.

Temple eliminated them the year before. Before that, West Virginia. Before that, Iowa State.

"It was a curse, they said. That was the worst thing I ever heard," said Logan, who did his part to end it, scoring 13 points despite injuring his fingers in the second half when someone stepped on his left hand.

"It's a little sore right now," Logan said. "But I'm not letting nothing stop me from playing."

After last season's disappointing end, the Bearcats said goodbye to Martin, the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft, as well as Pete Mickeal and DerMarr Johnson, the No. 6 pick in the draft.

But look where they are.

Next Thursday, a team that knows what it's like to be No. 1 will face top-seeded Stanford in a West Regional semifinal at Anaheim.

"When we were No. 1 in the country, everyone was gunning for us," point guard Kenny Satterfield said. "It's the same way for Stanford. We want to knock them off."

The Bearcats (25-9) weren't always pretty against Kent State (24-10), but they defeated the Golden Flashes with an improved inside game--Jamaal Davis led the way with 16 points and 10 rebounds--and with defense, challenging almost every shot.

Kent State was held to 27% shooting and Cincinnati shot 55%.

Trevor Huffman, the Kent State guard who scored 24 points in the upset of Indiana--20 of them in the second half--found Satterfield in his face much of the game, Satterfield's long arms deflecting his shots and passes.

Huffman scored three points in the first half, and there was no second-half explosion. He finished with seven, held to two-for-11 shooting.

"They're just tough defenders. They face-guard you wherever you go," said Huffman, a player from remote northern Michigan who had only one Division I scholarship offer, and earned that one after shooting the lights out in an open gym with Kent State players.

"They just shut us down in all aspects, and it just wasn't our night," Huffman said. "Our shots weren't going in that usually go in. It just kind of went sour."

Andrew Mitchell, quick enough to get open, couldn't capitalize either, going three for 12 for nine points.

Cincinnati Coach Bob Huggins had his complaints at times--he yanked Leonard Stokes after he missed a dunk--and had words for Donald Little for the same offense.

"I knew what was coming," Stokes said. "I shouldn't have missed. That's why I started walking over to the bench. He said, 'Get your head together.' "

The Bearcats, at the unlikeliest of times, seem to have their game together.

"I'm really happy for these guys," Huggins said. "We struggled some and took some criticism, probably rightfully so, and they have really responded.

"I don't know, we're so young. With these guys, seemingly every day is a new day."

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