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UC gets 1st victory over Tar Heels

The Associated Press

Chicago – Is Cincinnati good or what? The Bearcats have an outside game to go with their typically grabby defense, their ability to run the floor, their trademark rough play on the inside and their hard-to-please coach.

Thursday, December 09, 1999

Chicago – Is Cincinnati good or what? The Bearcats have an outside game to go with their typically grabby defense, their ability to run the floor, their trademark rough play on the inside and their hard-to-please coach.

”That’s the difference,” forward Pete Mickeal said. ”Last year, we were like, ‘We’re gonna beat you up.’ Now we can shoot, too. We just go out and do what we have to do.”

Cincinnati put all its talents on display Wednesday night, showing why it’s No. 1 while beating No. 7 North Carolina 77-68 in the Great Eight.

”The thing is, we can get so much better,” said coach Bob Huggins, showing his usual sideline antics – pacing, grimacing, berating and complaining – throughout the game.

Satisfying Huggins, it seems, is as difficult as beating other ranked teams. Perhaps it also explains why the Bearcats are so good.

”You can win by 40 and other coaches will tell you how well you did,” Mickeal said.

”When the man (Huggins) comes in, it’s another story.

”You got to love a guy that won’t let you think you’re good, that he just wants the best for you. When he recruited me, the first thing he told me is that I can’t wait to yell at you.”

Kenyon Martin cleaned up inside with nine rebounds, four blocks and 16 points. Mickeal scored 21 points, and 6-foot-9 freshman DerMarr Johnson had 14. And when Carolina closed within two in the second half after the Bearcats led by 12 at the half, Cincinnati didn’t falter.

Even though they had only one field goal in the final five minutes – a three-point play by Mickeal with 1:26 left – the Bearcats were 11-of-15 from foul line to finally beat Carolina for the first time.

Cincinnati (6-0) had lost all seven previous meetings with North Carolina, three in the 1990s, including an overtime game in the 1993 NCAA regional finals.

”I thought before the game that Cincinnati was one of the best teams I’ve seen in the last several years, and nothing in the course of the game changed my mind,” Carolina coach Bill Guthridge said.

”They’ve got a lot of guys who can run up and down the floor and guards who can find them,” North Carolina guard Ed Cota said.

”And they’ve got guys who really go after it on the boards and on the defensive end.”

Martin, at 6-foot-9 and 230 pounds, gave away three inches and 35 pounds to North Carolina center Brendan Haywood, who had 14 points and just two rebounds

”He’s a great shot blocker. He had some really impressive blocks,” Haywood said of Martin. ”He didn’t want to post me up. He wanted to face me and use his quickness and he’s a very quick player.”

Max Owens led North Carolina (6-2) with 18 points, and Joe Forte had 17.