TCU Toppled By Unbeaten No. 10 Cincinnati

 Femi Ibikunle drives to the basket and is fouled by Cincinnati's Robert Whaley.

Femi Ibikunle drives to the basket and is fouled by Cincinnati's Robert Whaley.

Jan 17, 2004

Final Stats

AP Sports Writer

CINCINNATI (AP) - Jason Maxiell returned from an ankle injury and gave unbeaten Cincinnati its missing spark, leading a balanced attack that beat TCU 85-57 on Saturday night.

Maxiell fell hard in the opening minutes, hurt his lower right leg, and was out of the game while Cincinnati (13-0, 4-0 Conference USA) played flat and fell behind. The power forward returned with a pair of emphatic dunks that finally got the Bearcats revved.

For the seventh consecutive game, Cincinnati had four players in double figures, led by Tony Bobbitt with 16 points. Maxiell finished with 15 points and a team-high six rebounds, and was limping when he finally came out of the game to get his ankle treated.

Once Cincinnati put some energy back into its press, TCU (6-9, 2-2) had no chance. The Horned Frogs shot 36.5 percent from the field and had a season-high 23 turnovers.

Nucleus Smith and Marcus Shropshire led TCU with 11 points apiece.

Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins was so enraged his team and the officiating that he walked onto the court and got a technical foul with 56 seconds left for yelling at official J.B. Caldwell, "That was awful! You were terrible!

The Bearcats were the second team to preserve an unbeaten record in Cincinnati on Saturday. No. 6 Saint Joseph improved to 15-0 with an 81-73 victory earlier in the day on Xavier's court.

TCU provided a good test of the Bearcats' ability to focus. Cincinnati was coming off an emotional 85-73 win at No. 21 Marquette on Wednesday, and plays at No. 8 Louisville next Wednesday - two defining conference games.

The one in the middle didn't get their attention at first.

The Horned Frogs sliced through a full-court press that had little bite, and led 20-17 with 8:20 left in the first half. Huggins was so angered that he played walk-on guard John Meeker for 3 minutes, sending a message to the rest of the team.



Maxiell hurt his ankle on a hard fall less than two minutes into the game, and went to the locker room for treatment. The Horned Frogs pulled ahead while he was away.

Maxiell returned and led a comeback that totally changed the game. He had a three-point play off an emphatic fast-break dunk, and dunked off a rebound to get the Bearcats energized.

Cincinnati closed the half with a 15-5 run and led 44-31 at the break - the most points the Bearcats have given up in a half this season.

After spending halftime with an unhappy Huggins, the Bearcats came out and went on a 19-4 run behind Maxiell, who had another three-point play off a fast-break dunk and swatted a shot away.

TCU missed four of its five shots and had five turnovers during the spurt, which pushed the lead to 63-35.

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