Conf. USA: Cincinnati 77, Marquette 63

March 9, 2002 at 4:51 PM
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CINCINNATI, March 9 (UPI) -- Steve Logan scored 18 of his 26 points in the second half Saturday as fifth-ranked Cincinnati set a school record for wins with a 77-63 victory over No. 10 Marquette in the championship game of the Conference USA tournament.

A two-time conference player of the year, Logan managed just seven points in a semifinal win over Charlotte Friday and was not a major factor in the first half Saturday -- making just one shot.

But he came alive after intermission and sparked a 10-0 run that gave the Bearcats a 41-27 lead. Logan began the spurt with a jumper and added a three-pointer and a pair of free throws as the Bearcats led by at least double digits the rest of the way.

The Bearcats shut down Marquette, switching from their normal man-to-man defense to a 2-3 zone.

"We did it primarily to conserve energy and make them play a slower pace," Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins said. "I don't think we've played zone since I've been here. There was no way we could have played our type of man-to-man defense for 40 minutes."

Cincinnati (30-3), which did not even break into the national rankings until mid-December, clinched its 11th straight berth in the NCAA Tournament and made its case for a top seed.

"I don't think there is any question we should be (a top seed)," Huggins said. "We beat good people."

Immanuel McElroy and Leonard Stokes each had 12 points for the Bearcats, who won their first C-USA tournament crown since 1998.

Dwayne Wade scored 16 points for Marquette (26-6), which managed just a split in its last six games. The late slide could cost the Golden Eagles a chance at a second or third seed in the tournament.

"I think 26 wins is a good season. I'm excited to see their faces when the pairings come out," Marquette coach Tom Crean said.

Cincinnati closed the first half with a 18-4 run to take a 31-24 lead at intermission. Jason Maxiel highlighted the spurt by slamming home an alley-oop pass from Logan to make it 29-22.

The Bearcats took over defensively in the second half, limiting the Golden Eagles to just 33.8 percent shooting overall.

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