No. 5 Ducks Struggle Against Bearcats

Dec 17, 2002

AP Basketball Writer

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. (AP) - Cincinnati was the team without the high national ranking and didn't have any players known only by their first names.

That mattered little to the Bearcats, who played defense like Bob Huggins' teams have in the past, and they beat No. 5 Oregon 77-52 Tuesday night in the Jimmy V Classic.

Cincinnati (5-2) handed the Ducks (6-1) and their two stars with the first name Luke their first loss of the season in convincing fashion, holding them 40 points below their scoring average.

'We had to make this game a fist fight,' Huggins said. 'We had to get back and go 5-on-5. We can't let them play in transition. We had to try and be as physical as we possibly can.'

And while the pregame attention was on Oregon's Luke Ridnour and Luke Jackson. But it was Tony Bobbitt, a junior college transfer, that everyone was talking about after the game.

Bobbitt had 29 points, one more than he had for the entire season. He entered the game 8-for-29 from the field and was 9-for-14 Tuesday, including 6-for-11 from 3-point range.

'Once I hit the first one in the corner I felt I was on,' Bobbitt said. 'I got in that rhythm and like Hugs keeps telling you `Shoot the ball if you have a wide open shot.' '

His fifth 3-pointer of the game gave him 24 points and Cincinnati a 60-30 lead.

His sixth 3 came with 9:02 to play and gave the Bearcats their biggest lead of the game at 68-33.

Oregon then went on an 8-0 run, but it was too little way too late.

'They were superb,' Oregon coach Ernie Kent said of Cincinnati. 'They dominated our team in every aspect of the game. They were tougher. They outhustled us.

'They certainly shot the ball better than we did, defended us tougher and just did a lot of things that I thought made them look terrific and gave us an opportunity to not look so terrific.'

Jason Maxiell had 20 points and 13 rebounds for the Bearcats, who came into the game allowing only 56.3 points per game.

Ridnour had 10 points to lead the Ducks, who shot 36 percent, well off the 48.5 mark they had coming in.

Ridnour, 3-for-13 from the field, came in averaging 20.2 points. Jackson, who had nine points and was 4-for-10 from the field, came in at 19.8 per game.

'We didn't think they'd shoot as well as they did,' Ridnour said. 'We knew they would come at us like they did.'

Stokes hit a 3-pointer to give the Bearcats a 17-4 lead 5:16 into the game. Brian Helquist scored down low with 12:12 left in the half, Oregon's third field goal in 13 shots, one that drew a sarcastic cheer from the crowd at Continental Airlines Arena.

The Bearcats never let up with the intense defense, and the Ducks shot 36 percent in the first half (9-for-25) and committed 10 turnovers.

Cincinnati went up 44-21 with 24 seconds left in the half on the most exciting play of the first 20 minutes, Stokes' dunk of a rebound of a 3-point shot by Bobbitt.

Ridnour then hit a 3 with 4 seconds left to get the Ducks within 20 at halftime. It left Oregon 2-for-12 from 3-point range.

'I am not going to make any excuses,' Jackson said. 'Every guy on this team had a part in this loss. Cincinnati played hard shot the ball well and played hard defense. They have a good team but I am definitely disappointed in myself and the team.'

This was the eighth Jimmy V Classic, a fund-raiser for cancer research named in memory of former North Carolina State coach Jim Valvano, who died of the disease in April 1993.

Gonzaga beat North Carolina State 69-60 in the opening game of the doubleheader.

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