Cincinnati Wins 2004 Kelly Tires C-USA Men's Basketball Tournament



Cincinnati Wins 2004 Kelly Tires C-USA Men's Basketball Tournament

Tony Bobbitt & Bob Huggins
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    Cincinnati claimed the 2004 Kelly Tires Conference USA Men's Basketball Tournament crown on Saturday at the U.S. Bank Arena. The Bearcats defeated DePaul, 55-50, to earn their fourth C-USA title. Tony Bobbitt led the UC charge with 17 points, including 12 from three-point range. The Blue Demons' top scorer was Delonte Holland who posted 17 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

    Eric Hicks added 10 points and nine rebounds for the Bearcats (24-6), who claimed their fourth Conference USA Tournament crown and the league's automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.

    Delonte Holland led DePaul with 17 points, while Quemont Greer chipped in 13. The Blue Demons (21-9), who shared the regular-season crown with Cincinnati and three other teams, will still earn their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2000 and only their second since 1992.

    Cincinnati led throughout the second half, but saw a 14-point margin trimmed to five midway through and had to battle from there.

    A three-pointer by Bobbitt gave the Bearcats a 50-41 lead with 2:15 to play, but DePaul ran off seven of the next nine points. A Holland three-pointer pulled the Blue Demons within 52-48 with 30 seconds left.

    Cincinnati, though, hit just enough free throws to seal it.

    The Bearcats finished just 9-of-18 from the stripe, but Bobbitt's 4-of-6 effort from three-point range helped Cincinnati shoot 50 percent from beyond the arc (6-of-12).

    The Blue Demons made just 37.5 percent of their shots in the first half and trailed 37-23 after 20 minutes, but opened the second half with an 11-2 run. A layup by Holland pulled DePaul within 39-34 with 10 1/2 minutes to play.

    Cincinnati missed 5-of-6 shots and two free throws, plus committed four turnovers during the DePaul spurt.

    A three-pointer by Bobbitt finally got the Bearcats untracked and a free throw by Field Williams a couple of minutes later gave Cincinnati a 43-34 advantage with 8:22 to play.

    DePaul was able to keep it somewhat close, but never got within four until the closing moments.

    Cincinnati took control early in the first half with a 14-4 run. Three- pointers by Williams and Bobbitt keyed the early surge, which Hicks capped with a layup to give the Bearcats a 16-8 lead with 12 1/2 minutes left in the half.

    DePaul was within six at 27-21 after two free throws by Holland with 5:41 to play, but Cincinnati closed the half with a 10-2 run to build a 37-23 cushion.

    The Bearcats dominated the glass in the opening half with a 22-10 rebounding advantage and also held DePaul without a three-point field goal in four tries.

    The Blue Demons finished just 1-of-12 from beyond the arc and shot just 35.3 percent overall.

    Francisco Garcia, Louisville
    Delonte Holland, DePaul
    Quemont Greer, DePaul
    Tony Bobbitt, Cincinnati
    Jason Maxiell, Cincinnati

    TOURNAMENT MVP: Tony Bobbitt, Cincinnati


    Wednesday, March 10
    (First Round)
    (5) Charlotte 78, (12) Tulane 48
    (9) TCU 64, (8) Marquette 62
    (6) Louisville 61, (11) East Carolina 54
    (7) Saint Louis 52, (10) Southern Miss 46

    Thursday, March 11 (Quarterfinals)
    (4) UAB 77, Charlotte 66
    (1) DePaul 89, TCU 65
    (3) Cincinnati 64, Louisville 62
    Saint Louis 72, (2) Memphis 61

    Friday, March 12 (Semifinals)
    (1) DePaul 75, (4) UAB 74 (OT)
    (3) Cincinnati 66, (7) Saint Louis 46

    Saturday, March 13
    Championship Game
    Cincinnati 55, DePaul 50



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