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March Sadness: UC Falls Short in Double Overtime

Date: March 18, 2002
By: John Bach
Photos by: Lisa Ventre
Archive: General News, Campus News

Pittsburgh -- If you think this Bearcat team lacked heart, think again. Leonard Stokes

With less than 25 seconds to go in the thrilling double overtime defeat to UCLA Sunday, Leonard Stokes hung his head - sobbing. This from a player who just ground out the game of his life (39 points, 10 rebounds) in, well, the game of his life. Why the sadness? He missed a single defensive assignment that led to a Bruins three-point-play down the stretch.

But that was the University of Cincinnati this year: Unselfish and all about the team. A team who entered the year unranked, finished a No. 1 seed in the NCAAs with 31 wins - a school record. Leonard Stokes comforted by a teammate

"I'm really proud of these guys," said Coach Bob Huggins after the loss. "This was a team that really nobody gave a chance. They have worked so hard. I'll have withdraws next week when it is over with and we are not out there practicing."

Cincinnati missed advancing to the Sweet 16 by inches. Last-second shots simply didn't fall. After 50 minutes, a deep UCLA team emerged 105-101.

Crunch time under the basket

"We had chances of winning the game," said Senior Steve Logan. "We just didn't find a way. On defense, we didn't communicate. I take blame for that, because I'm the leader of this team."

Obviously upset with the officiating, Huggins wondered out loud when UC might catch a break in the tournament. Still, he credited the Bruins with their effort and talent.

"That was as talented a No. 8 team, maybe in the history of NCAA," he said. "In the second overtime, we got a little tired. But they are terrific, very talented and very skilled."

battle for a loose ball

Commenting on Stokes play, All America candidate Logan said, "Lenny showed a lot of heart today. You can't ask for anymore. He has a great future, and I love being around him. He stepped up big for us."

Asked if he could comment on his hot hand during the game, Stokes refused. "I missed a blockout, and my guy got the rebound and made a three-point-play." Typical.

Check out the action from Friday's night win over Boston U.

Happier days on Saturday as Cat fans rally.

Watch for continuing coverage of the women's NCAA tournament on the Bearcats Home Page.


 
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