Cincinnati Holds Off Marshall, 79-75

Updated 11/21/2000

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    Cincinnati guard Steve Logan (22) drives against Marshall defender Travis Young.
    (AP Photo/Al Behrman)

    CINCINNATI (AP) (Nov. 21)-- Leonard Stokes hit four free throws in the final 31 seconds and forced Tamar Slay into a decisive turnover Tuesday night as No. 16 Cincinnati held on for a 79-75 victory over Marshall.

    Cincinnati (2-0) blew a 15-point lead in the first half but then came out ahead in a back-and-forth finish. Stokes hit both ends of a 1-and-1 with 31 seconds left to put Cincinnati ahead 75-74 and set up the decisive moment.

    Marshall (1-1) called a timeout to set up a last shot. Slay got the ball at the top of the key and headed to his right. But Stokes slapped the ball, which bounced off Slay's foot and went out of bounds with 8 seconds left. Stokes was fouled on the inbound pass and hit both free throws, putting Cincinnati in control.

    Donald Little led Cincinnati with 18 points and Stokes added 15 as the Bearcats overcame an off-night by point guard Kenny Satterfield, who was only 4-for-18 for 12 points.

    Slay's turnover was his only bad moment. He scored 28 points - 20 in the first half - and helped the Thundering Herd overcome a poor start.

    Little, a 6-foot-11 center who took over for Kenyon Martin, dominated inside as Cincinnati pulled ahead 21-6. He went 5-of-6 from close range as the brawnier Bearcats got the ball inside and got the best of the matchups on the front line.

    While Little had his way, the Thundering Herd lost its composure. Marshall missed six of its first eight shots and had six turnovers while Cincinnati built its 15-point lead.

    After a timeout, Marshall switched defensive strategies, going to a packed-in zone that slowed Little, who didn't get another shot in the half.

    Slay pumped some confidence into the Thundering Herd by hitting a 3-pointer and adding three-point play, starting a 17-point run. He finished the spurt with a 3-pointer and a pair of free throws that put Marshall up 23-21.

    The game was tied four times and the lead changed hands three times in the rest of the half, which ended with Cincinnati ahead 41-39.

    Travis Young hit a pull-up jumper and a fast-break layup and Slay hit three free throws for a 46-41 lead, Marshall's biggest to that point. Cincinnati extended its man-to-man defense to finally get Slay in check.

    There were two more ties and nine lead changes the rest of the way.